A Tale of Green Cities

Lead Author: Alison Lindburg

Publish date: 09.24.2009


Exploring Opportunities for MN through the Natural Step Process and Sustainable Communities in Sweden


In 2009, a member of the Dovetail Partners team traveled to Sweden for five weeks to examine sustainability initiatives in Swedish communities, including the Natural Step process. Based on similarities in climate, population density, and environmental challenges, it is conceivable that many of the observed practices could be implemented in Minnesota and other Great Lakes communities as well. This report provides background on Swedish communities visited on the tour and highlights strategies employed by communities, companies, and various organizations to move toward sustainability goals. The report covers areas pertaining to waste management practices, renewable energy production and consumption, utilization of local resources, sustainable forestry, water quality, and environmental education, and offers some suggestions for implementation in Minnesota and other North American communities.


The communities and businesses represented in this report were visited as part of the Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange (GSE) program[1]. The trip, sponsored by Rotary District 5960 of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and hosted by Rotary District 2360 of Sweden, occurred in March and April of 2009 over a period of five weeks, and involved travel throughout Western Sweden. GSE tour participants visited over 80 different businesses and organizations, and stayed with host families in eight different Swedish communities.


[1]http://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/peace-fellowships Rotary, Peace Fellowships, 2009.