How Stockholm Fosters Sustainable Development Through Innovation and Collaboration

Published November 17th, 2023. Text by Edith Malmberg, SIREUS

How Stockholm Fosters Sustainable Development Through Innovation and Collaboration

In the ever-evolving landscape of sustainable development, Stockholm stands out as a beacon of green innovation. At the heart of the city's environmental success lies the implementation of practical cleantech solutions fostered by innovative and collaborative approaches that bring together government, academia, and the private sector to foster green solutions. In the latest podcast episode from Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA), Björn Hugosson, Chief Climate Officer for the city of Stockholm and Nicole Forsberg, Business Development Executive at CU Boulder Venture Partners & President of SACC-Colorado speak about how the city has managed to implement solutions that are good for both the environment and the economy.

Translating cleantech concepts into everyday practices

Stockholm's success in fostering green solutions lies in its ability to translate cleantech concepts into everyday practices.The integration of electric vehicles into the city's transportation system, the creation of energy-efficient buildings, and the use of smart grids are just a few examples of how cleantech is making a tangible impact on the city's carbon footprint. Approximately 90% of apartments in Stockholm are warmed up by waste heat derived from local power plants thanks to a smart district heating system that circulates throughout the entire city. In schools, there are AI sensors that control heating and ventilation. During weekends and breaks the sensors can determine whether there are people in the building and regulate the heating or airflow thereafter. This has ensured that energy is saved and the cost of installing the systems is compensated by the great reduction of energy. Stockholm has also implemented smart traffic lights in the city that are optimized for less stops when there are no cars.

Residents in the suburbs also utilize electric and oftentimes robotic lawn equipment which cuts both spending and a significant amount of airborne emissions. A small yet powerful gesture, as gas powered lawn equipment emits large amounts of airborne emissions harmful to human health due to its generally inefficient engines lacking catalytic converters or filters.These intelligent solutions highlight how Stockholm is using the latest technology to collectively work toward a green future.

Creating a hope-based climate narrative

Today, there is often a prevailing narrative based around fear when it comes to discussions about climate change. By redirecting our attention towards the tangible and practical solutions available today we can concentrate on the positive transformations that are underway, fostering motivation for societal change instead of paralyzing fear. Stockholm's commitment to sustainability stands as an exemplary model for other urban centers, instilling a profound sense of optimism and potential. By spotlighting the achievements resulting from collaborative efforts, Stockholm actively contributes to a global dialogue that shifts focus from the overwhelming challenges of climate change to the actionable solutions available within our reach.
While acknowledging that Stockholm is not without its imperfections in its green journey, the city has made significant strides, serving as a compelling illustration of how effective measures can be implemented to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Friends outside city hall in StockholmFriends outside city hall in Stockholm
Friends outside city hall
City hall in Stockholm
Photo: Simon Paulin /

Want to learn more?

Do you want to learn more about cleantech and how it is used in practice? Listen to this podcast episode with Björn Hugosson, Chief Climate Officer for the city of Stockholm and Nicole Forsberg, Business Development Executive at CU Boulder Venture Partners where they dive into Sweden’s adoption of cleantech and why Stockholm is at the forefront of the green transition.


Stockholm is a good example of a city that has actually shown that it is possible to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and have an attractive city with a strong economic growth at the same time.

- Nicole Forsberg, Business Development Executive at CU Boulder Venture Partners

More about the SIREUS Project

​​​​​​​SIREUS, a collaboration between The Swedish American Chambers of Commerce (SACC-USA) and 13 Swedish universities, focuses on knowledge exchange in innovation, science, and entrepreneurship, as well as talent mobility for students and researchers between Sweden and the U.S. 
The Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., and the Swedish Institute support the project through advice and contacts.   

Facilitating research collaboration within sustainability

​​​​​​​One of SIREUS' aims is to facilitate research collaboration and researcher exchange between Sweden and the U.S. Together with its 13 Swedish Member Universities, SIREUS has identified five thematic areas of research, each of which contains sub-themes within its field. One of our thematic areas is green transition where you can see our member universities disciplines within the area.