These words were uttered by the then Minister of Civil Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi in the autumn of 2019 after a visit to Skellefteå. The hospitality industry is an important part of the destination's sustainability work and has an important role to show and offer experiences for visitors, investors and for immigrants. Sustainability and development go hand in hand.
With 7,174 km, Skellefteå is Sweden's largest coastal municipality in terms of area. Just over 72,000 inhabitants live here. The city, the cultural area and nature form a diversity of environments. Changing seasons and varied climates create unique experiences. Here is a strong industrial tradition that has gradually developed into new sustainable industries and here is also a Sami cultural-historical landscape. In Skellefteå, we think sustainably - in research and around wooden houses, in energy supply and biogas production, in mining as a prerequisite for battery production, in the creative industries and in the IT sector. With Northvolt's battery factory, new sustainable solutions will also emerge.
Skellefteå - a far-sighted and equal growth municipality, attractive to live and work in with the goal of having 80,000 inhabitants by 2030. That is the municipality's vision. For Skellefteå to meet the challenges of the future, we must grow. Skellefteå 2030 is the joint development work where we have developed a strategy for how we will become more, and how we will be an attractive place to live and work. Below you will find a selection of everything that happens within the municipality. If we gather the strength of all residents, entrepreneurs, associations and other stakeholders to together lift Skellefteå, we can reach the goal of being 80,000 inhabitants by 2030.
SUSTAINABILITY REVIEWED DESTINATION
In 2016, we, as part of Skellefteå municipality, were sustainability audited and have since worked on the basis of the measures proposed in the report. The audits took place according to the Global Sustainable Tourism Councils (GSTC) accepted by the UN and in these they looked at environmental, social and economic aspects.
Since 2015, the Västerbotten region has worked strategically with sustainable development of the hospitality industry. Work on this is currently underway via the Västerbotten Experience center project. In 2019, we conducted sustainability reviews of companies on behalf of that project. There, Visit Skellefteå has a certified sustainability examiner who is trained according to GSTC's criteria for a sustainable hospitality industry.
SEE Sustainability Week is an annual event held in the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten. SEE is an abbreviation for Social, Economic and Ecological Sustainable Development. The week is just one of all examples of what we do.
GLOBAL DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT
Visit Skellefteå steps up its sustainability work in the hospitality industry in 2021 by joining GDSM, a global platform that helps destinations identify strengths and weaknesses. GDSM, Global Destination Sustainability Movement, has about 60 members and works based on the UN's global sustainability goals. Through the network, destinations can be helped to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and compared at the international level.
THE GROWTH OF THE NEW INDUSTRY
Skellefteå is the growing site for the new and sustainable industry of the future. An industry that is both sustainable in its process and whose products builds a new sustainable society.
We have leading companies in sustainable construction, renewable energy, responsible mineral extraction and recycling and it is no coincidence. The river's currents, the force of the wind, the greenery of the forest and the interior of the mountain make nature our main resource.
SKELLEFTEÅ - A WOODEN TOWN
Skellefteå is a modern wooden town. We drive the technical development in research and modern wood construction nationally and internationally.
Right now, Sara culture house is being built in Skellefteå, which will be one of the Nordic region's tallest wooden buildings, with 20 floors. Sara Kulturhus is the place for the sustainable meetings of the future. Art, performances and literature together with hotels in what will be one of the world's tallest wooden houses. Here, Skellefteå's legacy of building in wood is combined with the latest engineering, which has made the project a model in sustainable design and construction.
As wood is a renewable material, it has a low environmental impact. In addition, the qualities of wood are health-promoting and contribute to a good environment for everyone who stays in it.
Skellefteå culture house also gets green roofs with a soil layer and meadow plants that handle stormwater and contribute to biodiversity, while improving the house's insulation. Parts of the culture house's roof landscape are open to visitors who can enjoy nature in an urban environment. With the new culture house, Skellefteå will have a long-term sustainable building that promotes a sustainable lifestyle.
Skellefteå is a part of the project North Sweden Cleantech which is a regional innovation and export platform for green technology, clean energy and sustainable solutions from Västerbotten and Örnsköldsvik.
SKELLEFTEÅ – A TAP APPROVED TOWN
Tap marked is a national sustainability label introduced by Svenskt Vatten for businesses that choose tap water over bottled water. The tap labeling shows that you take a stand for a better environment and inspire others to also choose tap water.
An additional proof of Skellefteå's strengths in sustainability work is Northvolt's establishment of what could be Europe's largest factory for the production of lithium-ion batteries. Northvolt's goal is to build the world's greenest batteries with minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Access to renewable electricity, locally produced metals and the recycling of batteries will make this possible and in turn contribute to Europe's conversion to renewable energy.