This special city has topped the world’s most sustainable destination list 7 times in a row

Seven. The number of deadly sins, and of Snow white’s closest friends. The name of a classic thriller from the 90s. And the number of times that Gothenburg has ranked as the world’s most sustainable destination. You might already have guessed it: here are seven things that make Gothenburg award-worthy.

Sweden's second largest city is the world's most sustainable

Gothenburg, Sweden, home of Polestar, world-class seafood, and a vast network of blue trams, is also one of the most sustainable cities in the world. Sweden’s second-largest city has topped Global Destination Sustainability Movement’s list of the world’s most sustainable cities once again, marking its seventh year in the top spot. And they’re not the only ones taking notice.

In 2020, the European Commission named Gothenburg the European Capital of Smart Tourism. And in 2021, Lonely Planet named Gothenburg the world’s Best Sustainable City Stay.  As one of the greenest cities in Europe, Gothenburg is becoming increasingly popular among international tourists.

We’ve taken a stroll in our backyard to let you in on the top seven things you can expect from an award-winning city like Gothenburg (beyond beautiful cars).

Emissions-free transport by 2030

First up is one of our favourite topics: transportation. As part of Gothenburg’s mission to achieve emission-free transport by 2030, the city has implemented so-called “Green Zones” – selected areas for testing new technologies within electrification, digitalisation, and automation.

The city is inviting companies, organisations, and researchers to test and develop their ideas in a real-world setting, such as trying out new electric bus routes and wireless charging for taxis. The keyword for this project is collaboration, with the city hoping to inspire new ways of thinking about transportation.

Food that’s good for you and the planet

The food and drinks scene in Gothenburg is bursting with organic, vegetarian, and vegan options for the green(s) enthusiast. Enjoy seasonal dishes at Japanese-inspired restaurant Vrå, or a locally produced Michelin-star meal at SK Mat & Människor. If you want to go even greener, Restaurang Svinn (Swedish for waste) is the place for you. Each week the restaurant “saves” 10 tons of odd-looking yet perfectly good food products from winding up in the dumpster and turns it into lunch.

Kungsgatan, Gothenburg.
Shopping street in snowy Gothenburg.
Gothenburg is one of the greenest hotel cities in the world

For visitors who want to keep their carbon footprints small, Gothenburg offers a large selection of eco-certified hotels. In 2023, as many as 88 percent of the city’s hotel rooms were certified with recognised ecolabels like the Nordic Swan or the Green Key. For instance, the newly opened Scandic Göteborg Central is certified by the Nordic Swan ecolabel and the international LEED system for its sustainability standards. In Gothenburg, you can rest with a good conscience. 

Go vintage or go home

The people of Gothenburg love thrift shopping, and the circular economy is only growing. That’s why you’ll find heaps of second-hand shops all around the city and in the suburbs. Some stores even offer customers the opportunity to rent clothes, sports gear, or outdoor equipment. The city’s Smarta Kartan project has gathered more than 100 different sharing economy initiatives and organisations and placed them on a map for easy access.

Where recycling boats come to you

In Gothenburg, recycling is an integral part of city life. The City of Gothenburg has invested in an extensive recycling scheme that covers all parts of daily life; everything from food to electric waste is cared for.

If a citizen is unable to get to one of the city’s recycling centres, the recycling centre will come to them. Gothenburg is one of the Nordics' biggest ports, with a tradition of boat making. Naturally, the city has a recycling centre that floats.

The recycling boat docks in different harbours along the city’s coast to make recycling easier and more accessible for all its residents.

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Credit: Peter Kvarnström/Mediabank Göteborg & Co.
Aiming to become world-leading in renewable energy

Another area that lies close to our hearts as EV makers is renewable energy. As part of their aforementioned goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030, the city is aiming to become a leading hub for green energy. Currently, the city has one of the most developed district heating systems in the world.

In fact, the City of Gothenburg runs its own energy company, Göteborg Energi, which provides smart energy systems for housing, businesses, and transport. The company is also working tirelessly together with Chalmers University of Technology to develop energy efficiency in buildings, smart electricity networks, and more.

Polestar is also currently working together with Göteborg Energi Nät, the Swedish Energy Agency Svenska Kraftnät, Chalmers University of Technology, home charging providers Easee, and energy company Vattenfall, in spearheading a V2G testing program in Gothenburg involving Polestar 3. Read more about the project in our previous article.

Traveling sustainably in the city

Gothenburg is a coastal city with an impressive archipelago. Getting around town is easy and accessible with trams and buses, most of them electric, departing every minute. The islands in the archipelago are also accessible by public transport ferries, with the small islands operating as car-free destinations. Gothenburg & Co, the city’s tourism board, also encourages visitors to optimise their travel plans using CO2 calculators.

So, maybe this is your sign to test drive a Polestar. In a very special city.

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