The World’s Greenest Cities Series: Reykjavik, Iceland

The World’s Greenest Cities Series: Reykjavik, Iceland

The World’s Greenest Cities Series: Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is one of the most sustainable cities in the world, and it’s also one of the smallest, with only around 115,000 people living there. Nevertheless, it’s leading the way on environmental issues. Let’s take a look at what makes Reykjavik one of the world’s greenest cities.

It’s green-literally

The city came top of the Green Cities Index in 2018 as it has 411 square metres of green space per person.

It’s a leader in using renewable energy

All of the city’s electricity is produced with hydroelectric power and houses are geothermally heated so most buildings are eco-friendly and there are negligible greenhouse gas emissions. Iceland as a whole produces 80% of its total power from hydro and geothermal power; this is more than any other country in the world.

It has ambitious environmental goals

As well as being the first city in Iceland to introduce a policy on greenhouse gas emissions, it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040.

It’s all about green transport

The municipal authority plans to increase the use of public transport, walking, and cycling by 2030. There will be more use of electric vehicles, and an increase in infrastructure to accommodate them, such as more charging stations. Electrical charging for ships and other vessels will be available at the city’s ports.


Reykjavik, Sculpture


It wants to get people involved in creating a sustainable city

  • The authorities are looking to get at least 200 businesses to sign up to the City of Reykjavík and Festa’s Declaration for Climate Change by next year. By signing up, businesses will pledge to actively work to reduce waste and emissions.
  • An information website is available for people to look at which gives them tips on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make their homes carbon neutral.
  • There are environmental education programmes running in schools, and also via the city’s botanic garden and biodiversity programme.

It manages waste sustainably

  • All residents receive information on how to compost at home.
  • An anaerobic digestion plant opened last year which turns organic waste into useful things like biofuel.