Municipal delegation visits Chengdu

Karolien Leonard, Urban Development and Economy director, and Helmy Koolen, manager of the Economy and Culture team visited Maastricht’s twin city Chengdu, in May. They also took part in the Global Innovation Fair, where Leonard spoke about innovation and sustainability.

Chengdu on map

During her speech, Karolien Leonard talked about how tradition and innovation go hand in hand in Maastricht. By way of examples, she referred to the world’s greenest stroller the Greentom, and Mark Post’s cell-cultured hamburger. She went on to emphasise the combined efforts between local business, local government and local education under the #missionzeromaastricht flag. The aim of the mission is to make Maastricht 100% climate-neutral by 2030. To achieve that goal, the municipal authorities hope to sign energy agreements with large companies, and are constantly searching for opportunities for sustainable area development, in particular along the Green Carpet (Groene Loper). The city has set itself the target that by 2030, all domestic waste will be collected separately, and reused. There are already a series of waste trials in which the municipal authorities, joined by local residents, are considering the options for the smarter collection of waste. To improve the climate, the municipal authorities have also identified targets in sustainable mobility. Smart travel behaviour is encouraged and rewarded via the smart travel programme Maastricht Bereikbaar.

As an arm of government, the municipality itself has set a good example by connecting government buildings to the residual heat from the SAPPI paper works, and by replacing standard public lighting with LED lighting. Leonard concluded, “We have even made our Town Hall, that dates back to 1664, so sustainable that it has been awarded the second best energy label available.”

The director for Urban Development expressed the hope that over the coming years, the twin cities of Maastricht and Chengdu will learn a great deal from one another in the field of sustainability.