Open for registration: Healthy Thriving Inclusive Cities workshop 1

  • economy
  • environment
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The objective of this workshop is to develop a set of concrete themed activities that Eurocities members could take forward to work on in 2021 based around our strategic framework.

The workshop is divided into 3 breakout sessions.

Breakout session 1 - Future of local economy in context of COVID-19 crisis: reskilling the workplace and shortening value chains

Local economies are crucial part in the European economic growth. Cities were also the ones affected the most by the COVID-19 crisis and local authorities must re-build and strengthen their growth. One of the pillars of this process is reskilling the local workforce to increase the level of employment and focus on boosting local economy.

Due to crisis, the learning landscape has changed in ways that will foster new skills to employees. For instance, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digitized approaches in the working environment. This transformation makes it possible to scale learning efforts in ~ a more cost-effective way and enables tailored-made approaches, and in turn greater effectiveness and sustainable approach.

COVID-19 has changed not only how people work but also how they live: shopping, leisure time, travel, etc. In this way, the pandemic is setting up what could be lasting employment-landscape shifts that could require the large-scale reskilling of new workers.

With sourcing and production moving closer to end users, the crisis could trigger a restructuring of supply chains. As companies localise them. Companies may pick up talents locally (through talent exchanges, for instance) but then will have to get new employees up to speed on their new roles1. This is a reskilling challenge, but not only inside the walls of a business; it needs a cooperation with local authorities to develop sustainable strategies for this change and support local economy.

In this session, we will discuss an activity that could be undertaken by cities and Eurocities in 2021Eurocities will kick off the discussion by presenting potential activities to start to generate new ideas.

Breakout session 2 - Can fashion be compatible with a green future?

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world: on top of polluting clean water, contaminating soils and spreading microplastics in the ocean, textiles is also becoming a burning issue for cities.

Today, the clothing industry has a very negative impact on the planet. It consumes 1.5 trillion litres of water annually, produces wastewater containing toxic substances and causes 20% of global clean water pollution. 20,000 litres of water are needed to produce just 1kg of cotton.  Plastics, used in synthetic fibres, end up in the oceans, contaminating the food chain with microplastics, ending up in our plates. Did you know that you could be ingesting approximately 5 grams of microplastics every week, meaning one credit card of plastic each week?

Textile also represents a growing issue for cities: citizens generate more and more textile waste. Cities have the obligation to ensure separate collection of used textiles, but what to do with the generated textile waste and all the associated costs? This leads to 87% of these garments ending up as waste in landfill or being incinerated.

However, solutions exist: better design for reuse and recycling, sustainable consumption, ban of harmful substances can pave the way to a future where fashion is compatible with our planet.

In this session, we will discuss an activity that could be undertaken by cities and Eurocities in 2021 to foster circular textiles in cities.

Breakout session 3 - How can cities ensure fair, environmentally and socially just consumption?

Cities make a significant contribution to global economic growth. However, this growth is uneven, fluctuating, as shown by the covid19 crisis, and produces major challenges in social and environmental sustainability.

Before the outbreak of covid19, European cities started to initiate changes in their consumption models, through sharing economy, nurturing circular business models, such as repair and reuse services, reducing waste by reinjecting it in the economy, engaging with citizens to raise awareness of the value of our resources and with private actors to work towards sustainable consumption patterns.

However, the covid19 crisis has undermined these efforts. We are currently facing a recrudescence of single-use consumption patterns that harm both the environment and our social sustainability. Potential examples of sustainable consumption patterns:

- Circular business models such as repair and reuse (e.g. Breeding dragons in Ljubljana)

- Engage with citizens and raise awareness (e.g. city’s ‘smart map’ of Gothenburg)

- Work with private actors on SDGs (e.g. Reims and MacDonald)

- Sustainable food transition (Porto, Guimaraes)

- Encourage fair and ethical trading practices, commitment towards fair and ethical initiatives, coupled with clear long-term strategy (e.g. city of Ghent, winner of the 2019 EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award).

In this session, we will discuss an activity that could be undertaken by cities and Eurocities in 2021 to foster fair, environmentally and socially just consumption in our cities. Eurocities will kick off the discussion by presenting potential activities to start to generate new ideas.

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