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Geneva, sustainable city: Commitments relating to the environment

The City of Geneva is committed to creating a more sustainable environment within its territory, taking the limits of our planet into account. The quality of urban planning, mobility possibilities and the promotion of a healthy, diversified and green environment are just some of the levers by which it acts.

The City of Geneva provides a number of online procedures enabling applicants to receive support as an association (occasional subsidies from Agenda21, the G'innove programme) or to submit a request for an energy efficiency subsidy for a building.
Prise de vue d'un immeuble de la ville

The City of Geneva is committed to creating a more sustainable environment through the actions described below:

It pursues a sustainable energy policy and takes action to protect the climate

Thanks to its energy policy, designed to be 100% renewable by 2050, the City of Geneva implements tangible actions when building or renovating buildings within its territory in order to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and to increase the share of solar and geothermal energy. In 2017, for example, 22 photovoltaic stations were in operation on municipal buildings and numerous buildings were renovated in terms of energy performance (insulation, modernisation of boiler rooms, etc.). This, between 2010 and 2017, the general energy consumption of municipal real estate assets fell by approximately 10% while CO2 emissions were reduced by some 25%. To find out more, see pages 23 to 28 of the

Furthermore, since 2017, Geneva’s industrial services guarantee 100% renewable electricity, either Swiss or local.

Finally, as part of its public awareness campaign relating to global warming, an information pack has been published and a «Geneva, sustainable city» Facebook page has been maintained by the Agenda 21 - Sustainable city department since September 2018 with a view to mobilising the local community and encouraging synergies.

To be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: the kilowatt hours per inhabitant in Geneva fell from 6,868 kWh in 2009 to 5,191 kWh in 2017, representing a reduction of 25%. .

It ensures a balanced development of its territory

The municipal blueprint sets the main political priorities of the City of Geneva for all development projects carried out within its territory. In particular, Geneva wants to become a sustainable city which respects its social, environmental and economic commitments. By way of example, the municipality has set itself the long-term goal of being able to provide accommodation for every person working within its territory. Since the municipal blueprint came into effect in 2010, this figure – which had displayed a constant downward trend since 1995 – stabilised at about 0.67 accommodation units per job, and measures have been identified to push this figure upwards. The territorial development is thus precisely documented in the


To be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: the constructed surface area in square metres per inhabitant fell from 70 sq. m in 2005 to 66 sq. m in 2013.

It promotes responsible mobility

In 2015, road traffic was the main source of emissions of fine particles in Geneva. Consequently, the municipality promotes gentle mobility and public transport while investing in appropriate amenities whenever it has the means to do so. It therefore contributes to the development of mobility that is more sustainable while protecting the inhabitants from disturbances resulting from traffic. The extent of the cycle path network has grown steadily, reaching 123 km in 2017; however, the creation of 30 km/h zones has progressed more slowly, with only 3 of the 10 sites scheduled between 2010 and 2020 already complete. Similarly, the measures against road noise are also progressing more slowly than planned. More information is available on these indicators on pages 15-20 of the


These figures can be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: Long-term air pollution index of 4 out of 6; average distance of 127 metres between each place of residence and the closest TPG stop; 41% of the territory in traffic calming zones.

It minimises and recycles waste

The Street-cleaning-Clean City Department is tasked with guaranteeing the cleanliness of the municipality and ensuring waste management in accordance with environmental requirements. The inhabitants of Geneva recycle 39% of their waste, a figure that has increased only very slowly since 2009 (35%). Since 2016, the City has distributed 60,000 green bins and rolls of biodegradable bags to its inhabitants intended for organic kitchen waste with a view to promoting compost. The volume of waste incinerated per inhabitant is falling and was reduced from 246 kg of waste per inhabitant in 2009 to 198 kg per inhabitant in 2017. To find out more about these figures, see pages 21 and 22 of the


These figures can be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: Volume of waste produced (298 kg produced per inhabitant in total, including incinerated waste and recycled waste) and rate of recycling for glass, paper and metal (28%).

It reduces its water consumption and avoids water pollution

The water quality in Geneva is generally good, and the concentration of phosphorous in Lake Geneva has fallen from 90 μg/l at the end of the 1970s to 18 μg/l in 2017. The City’s services avoid, as far as possible, the use of phytosanitary products which can contaminate both the water and the soil. The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens have succeeded in doing away entirely with these products, obtaining the BIO Suisse label in the process. The municipality has also reduced its water consumption in the parks and fountains by one-third.

These figures can be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: Volume of water in the water treatment plants (STEP): 155 m3 water arriving in the water treatment plants per inhabitant connected to the water network per year. In Geneva, both the quantity and quality of waste water is in line with the Swiss national average.

It protects local biodiversity and develops nature in the city

In 2017, the rate of tree cover in the canton was 21%. Between 2010 and 2015, the City of Geneva catalogued local biodiversity in detail, in particular the plants and wood-dwelling beetles. These documents inform not only the public, but also the employees of the administration working on the management of public areas and urban planning projects. Numerous “greenification” projects have been developed as part of Urbanature. The priority conservation sites in terms of biodiversity are indicated on pages 33 and 34 of the


These figures can be consulted in the Cercle Indicateurs: the nesting birds index fell somewhat between 2013 and 2017, so we must remain vigilant. At the same time, the proportion of valuable natural surface areas within the municipal territory increased from 11.6% to 14.2%. .

Link with Agenda 2030

These six areas of the City’s commitment to the environmental sphere are closely linked to the following international sustainable development goals (see Agenda 2030):


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Article modifié le 20.07.2023 à 13:52