The politicians were clear: “Gävle must become one of Sweden’s most environmentally-friendly municipalities”. But how did we ensure that it would actually happen? The question ended up on Planning Manager Bo Bäckström’s desk.
“The Environmental Strategies Programme from 2013 contains clear targets in several areas, such as energy, transport, sustainable consumption and biodiversity. It is common to set targets, but resources were also allocated in this case,” says Bo Bäckström.
Three years later, the municipality has 100 per cent renewable electricity in all buildings, district heating is fossil free, the proportion of organic food has increased and food wastage has decreased. Environmental demands are set for all purchases and an energy and climate advisor has been hired.
By looking back at our annual environmental accounts, we can clearly see the positive changes.
The methodology behind the result
One factor behind the result is XLPM, which stands for Excellence in Project Management. XLPM is a methodology for project and business planning, which was developed by Semcon. The methodology connects human perspectives with business benefits, by introducing a common language, clarifying roles and creating a more equal workload. This makes it easier to prioritise what must be done and actually get it done. Today, Gävle municipality uses Semcon’s project methodology in all of its administrations.
In order to be successful it is necessary to allocate resources, and these must be the right resources. We benefit from the structure and boundaries that the methodology provides. Just by having defined the assignment and established a steering committee for the programme that meets regularly, the issue has been highlighted more clearly. XLPM’s requirements for specifications and tollgates to make decisions also streamlined our thinking.
What happened with your goal to become one of Sweden’s most environmentally-friendly municipalities?
We got the decision in June 2016. When Aktuell hållbarhet thoroughly compared the environmental work in all of the country’s municipalities, Gävle was not only in the top ten, but was all the way up in fourth place.
“We had never been anywhere near there before. In previous years we were so disappointed because we thought we were doing a lot of things right but anyway ended up between the 60th and 70th place, so this kind of acknowledgment is incredibly positive for us!” says Bo Bäckström.