These Are the Most Sustainable Cities in the World

published Nov 25, 2022
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As we contend with the impacts of climate change, finding ways to live our lives more sustainably has never been more important — and that applies to our travel habits, too.

In order to encourage more ethical tourism, the Global Destinations Index ranked the top 30 most sustainable cities in the world, judging destinations based on 70 indicators of ecological, social, and economic sustainability — from CO2 emissions to unemployment rates.

Nordic destinations scored highly on this year’s report, with 12 destinations in the top 30, seven of which made the top 10 (including the top four spots).

Gothenburg, Sweden retained the top spot, earning a 93% score. The Scandinavian city has placed first since 2016, solidifying its place as an international leader in sustainable planning. This year, Gothenburg became one of the European Union’s 100 climate-neutral and smart cities, which seek to be climate neutral by 2030. By the end of the decade, the Swedish city aims to have 97% of its public transit running on renewable energy.

Coming in second place is Bergen, Norway with an 88.4% score, which has risen dramatically since the GDI’s 2021 index, in which it placed 21st. Much of this improvement is due to Bergen’s efforts to receive Visit Norway’s Label for Sustainable Destinations. The city ranks first on the GDS-index environmental category. Since 2020, the city’s buses have operated entirely on biofuel or batteries.

Third place goes to Copenhagen, Denmark, which earned an 86.7% score. In 2019, the Danish city’s official tourist organization, Wonderful Copenhagen, became the first major tourist organization to receive the Green Tourism Organization certification — a certification that “focuses on supporting destinations and organizations that make an extra effort for sustainability.”

You can read more about the Global Destinations Index’s 2022 report and check out the full list of the top 30 most sustainable cities here.