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Citizen data drives climate action in Norway

Kim Remvik-Larsen

Head of Data Advisory

In 2021 Tietoevry partnered to develop Zero Emission Citizen – an interactive map providing Norwegian municipalities with greenhouse-gas emission data down to the neighbourhood level. The tool is vital in linking citizen impact with Norway’s climate goals.

One of the challenges in the battle against climate change is that people often lack access to quality data on the carbon impact of their everyday lifestyle choices. Yet changes at the household level are fundamental to meeting national goals for emission reductions. In Norway, calculations from climate-tech expert Ducky indicate that average greenhouse-gas emissions from citizens’ private consumption must be reduced from 13,5 tonnes to 3 tonnes in order to achieve the UN’s climate goals.

Against this background, Tietoevry joined forces with Ducky and urban-planning consultancy Asplan Viak to create an emissions data tool for Norway’s municipalities. Tietoevry gathers and assimilates publicly available data to help calculate the average emission impact per household in a given location. This data is then visualised on an interactive map.

“The world is on fire and we’re running out of time, so everybody needs to pitch in. Yet the emissions impact of private individuals is generally not included in municipal climate strategies due to a lack of good data,” says Kim Remvik-Larsen, Head of Business Concepts, Data Services at Tietoevry.

“One of the quickest ways to make a significant positive climate impact is to help people to change their habits a bit. We need to do this in such a way that people want to change, rather than feeling pushed to do so. Zero Emission Citizen is designed around this premise,” he says.

Climate impact meets business value

The tool has been available to all Norwegian municipalities since June 2021. Average greenhouse gas emissions per capita are broken down into impact categories such as nutrition, transport and electricity. Municipal employees can drill into the data all the way down to the neighbourhood level. Groups of citizens can then be informed about the carbon impact of their choices, and can be offered initiatives to reduce their household’s footprint.

Tietoevry helps the municipalities to access data from public registries, from Norway’s national bureau of statistics, and by performing life-cycle analyses of consumption habits. Work has also started to bring in data from energy companies, banks, telecom providers and grocery stores. Other partners will be included too, as Tietoevry looks to build a multilateral ecosystem for exchanging carbon-impact data and insights.

“We’re in a dialogue with companies from multiple sectors, as there is business value for them in being able to provide carbon-impact data and insights to their clients,” says Remvik-Larsen. “For instance, one of the partners in Norway is a bank with 1.2 million private customers. The bank provides these customers with the option of seeing the carbon impact of their financial transactions. Services of this nature will clearly benefit from the data we gather.”

Same model, different contexts

The statistically-relevant information from Zero Emission Citizen helps in identifying behavioural shifts and trends. Both public and private actors can use this knowledge to create campaigns that shift consumption in a more climate- favourable direction. Having the information available in near real-time is a big advantage, as until now there has often been a significant time lag between gathering data and driving action.

While climate-change data is the basis for the model today, Remvik-Larsen says the principles can be applied in other contexts too. This is where Tietoevry sees future opportunities.

“Sustainability is an extremely important topic, and also a very good learning domain for principles and approaches that are valuable and applicable elsewhere. By pulling together information from a range of different players, we’re essentially providing a better basis for decision making. In the years to come, the bulk value of this approach can be realised in many different areas. We’re learning more every day”, he says.

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Read more about our sustainability work here.

This case is published as part of our annual report 2021. Read the whole report here.

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