How simple changes to city procurement can reduce CO2 emissions

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The set-piece battle of the next ten years is taking shape. On the one hand, European cities, and on the other, emissions, CO2 and pollution. aim? Take one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality and to the end of the climate crisis.

Cities across Europe have an arsenal of equipment in this fight against climate change, but often overlooked purchases. In the Grand Alliance of humanity fighting a common enemy, this powerful tool should not be ignored.

The proof is there. In Oslo, the world has seen a zero-emission manufacturing site – or zamekons, for the first time. In the Olav V road renovation project, all machinery – excavators, excavators and loaders – is electric.

The project has huge benefits for the residents of Oslo in terms of air quality and noise pollution. It also reminds us that construction, for example, represents 23 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, and about six percent of these emissions come directly from activities at construction sites.


Oslo, along with Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lisbon, Trondheim and Vienna, is part of the EU-funded Zemons Group of Big Buyers for Climate and Environment. It is a success story of joint European cooperation to move towards climate neutrality.

Most of all, projects such as Olav V Road Renewal send a clear message to the industry: there is a demand for zero-emission construction machinery. Supply must now proceed to meet this demand.

Critics may see the challenge of moving the market towards zero-emission machinery as an expensive battle, but keeping our long-established habits at its head has been the subject for much of Europe of late – say that Could they not have opted for greenery and buying habits of cleaners in the last ten years? For cities, joint European cooperation, such as through climate and environment for big buyers, is sending a clear indication of their intention to change their purchasing plans – and this change is attractive to both buyers and suppliers.

Daring and ambitious cities are working on testing and testing in collaboration with suppliers across Europe. Oslo will not be the last city to build a clean, green and quiet construction site. There is no shame or blame in such collaboration – when the best laid plans do not work, the city and construction suppliers work together to find a solution.

As my colleague Romeo Apatrei-Thomassen of Oslo puts it: “We need to tell the market that it is coming. The faster you change your profile, the better it will be for society. “


In fact, we can already see the fruits of this joint European cooperation. In the Nordic market, pressure from public officials has prompted suppliers to make the move towards zero-emission machinery. For example, NASTA now excavates a battery-powered 17.5-tonne that is cleaner and quieter than its diesel-powered counterpart. Other suppliers such as Caterpillar, Wacker Neusson, Libhar, Hitachi CM and Volvo CE are also moving towards electrifying their fleet.

However, this is still not enough to sustain regional demand. It is clear that there is momentum behind the Zemcons trend, which is why it is important that political will not be needed to implement these ambitious projects. In Oslo, Copenhagen, and Helsinki, experience suggests that unwavering political support was an important factor in the success of their pilot sites.

Cities in Europe have clearly demonstrated their power to be innovative in their approach to fighting climate change. It was not by magic that Oslo V site of Oslo came into existence – it took hard work and a political commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction sector.

If one city can use procurement in such an effective manner, the benefits from cities working together in the region can be a secret weapon in the fight against climate change.

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Published December 27, 2020 – 01:00 UTC