Local Green Deals

From the European to Local Green Deals

The EU Green Deal reflects the need for a fundamental transformation of Europe towards a sustainable development path. In order to be successful, the Green Deal needs to resonate throughout societies across all Member States, create ownership and a positive narrative of how (well) Europeans will live in 20-30 years. For the time being, the mandate of the current European Commission ends in 2027 – this is why visible steps need to be taken before then, should the EU Green Deal unfold its potential beyond that time.

Standard approaches to policy implementation will not be sufficient to achieve the aspired change. The EU Green Deal has to link up diverse policy domains and the different governance levels – it needs to become a horizontally and vertically integrated transformation strategy.

Ultimately, the place where all the policy areas of the EU Green Deal are integrated in one defined spatial area is the city. It is here that actions must be taken to promote sustainability as a mindset, as organisational principle, and as business case. The EU Green Deal needs a local component, rooted at the governance level closest to the citizens: local government. It is for this reason that the success of the EU Green Deal hinges on the creation of Local Green Deals.


ICLEI’s campaign for Local Green Deals

The Mannheim Message adopted at the 9th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in autumn 2020 was the launch of ICLEI’s campaign for Local Green Deals (LGDs). It called on local governments to develop LGDs as the nucleus of a collaborative implementation process for the EU Green Deal.


The cities of Espoo (Finland), Mannheim (Germany) and Umeå (Sweden) have joined forces in ALLIANCE, an EU-funded project accelerating the transformation towards sustainability through the Local Green Deals.

CLIMAA brings together the cities of Aalborg (Denmark) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and the Network for Sustainable Business Development (Aalborg), MKB Amsterdam and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability to: co-create a working methodology to engage and onboard local SMEs regarding Local Green Deals; co-design a Local Green Deal template, and implement Local Green Deals.

The Cities of Valencia, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Wroclaw, Lodz and Ghent have joined forces with ICLEI Europe to implement the Fair Local Green Deals project. Putting participation at its core, the project aims to find tailored approaches for involving citizens and other local stakeholders in each of its pilot cities with special attention to the inclusion of minorities and marginalised groups.

What is a Local Green Deal?

For ICLEI, LGDs are a governance and action orientated approach to accelerate and scale-up a city’s sustainable transformation. It builds on and aims to join up a city’s existing strategies, legislation, market and financial incentives into a coherent approach to advance the EU green transition policy framework (currently EU Green Deal) locally. A key part of the approach is implementing action agreements (i.e. deals) between local stakeholders needed to achieve the integrated sustainability goals set by the local government.

More specifically LGDs are: 

  • A multi-level approach: Engage with a multi-level, vertical governance processes (local, regional, national and international) ensuring that cities and national government collaborate where needed and cities can provide input into the development of relevant legislation, initiatives and in particular financing programmes that directly impact on cities.
  • An integrated approach: a move away from silo-based forms of governance, designed for traditional city operations to an integrated approach between different departments and stakeholders across the city. This enables the embedding of cross-cutting systemic issues such as climate change, the circular economy, and social exclusion.
  • A multi-stakeholder approach: governance through collaboration, co-production, co-design, and co-innovation and a credible commitment to long-term change through continuous collaboration between all stakeholders.
  • An action-oriented approach: implementing agreements or deals that establish a framework for delivering collaborative action, where needed through improved regulation, financing and innovation. This can range from grassroots projects led by citizens in urban districts to comprehensive system innovations and digital transformations in transportation, energy, construction, and circular economy development.


Intelligent Cities Challenge

For the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC), ICLEI has led the contribution on LGDs and has authored the ICC LGD Blueprint for Action. The blueprint is the first and only guide for LGDs. In ICC’s second phase, ICLEI is now leading on the training of ICC core cities to develop their first set of LGDs.  

Check out the ICC LGD Blueprint for Action


100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 Mission

In light of ICLEI’s work in the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 Mission, ICLEI published a briefing paper to clarify the similarities and distinctions between Local Green Deals and the Climate City Contracts: "Same, Same, but Different: clarifying the relationship between Local Green Deals and Climate City Contracts as non-regulatory governance innovation".

Check out the Briefing Paper



Unlocking Business Potential with the Local Green Deal

Developing LGDs can bring significant benefits to the city and its businesses. Large businesses can enhance transparency and accountability to external stakeholders, establish valuable networking connections, unlock new and sustainable business opportunities, strengthen customer engagement, and contribute to the overall sustainable development goals of the city. Similarly, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can greatly benefit from LGD partnerships by receiving guidance and support to access national and EU funding, participating in business incubator programs, engaging in networking and capacity-building activities for peer learning, exploring new and sustainable business opportunities, enhancing customer engagement, and playing a role in advancing the city's sustainable development initiatives. Through LGDs, local stakeholders collaborate in action agreements to work towards the sustainability goals set by the local government. This not only benefits businesses but also allows them to make a meaningful impact on their local community.


Related Initiatives:

 In parallel to ICLEI’s LGD campaign, the European Committee of the Regions has been promoting the local implementation of the EU Green Deal via its "Green Deal Going Local" campaign.

Check out the "Green Deal Going Local" campaign


Finding out more

If you have any questions:

Send an email to iclei-europe@iclei.org