Growing a Smarter, More Sustainable Europe

IESE participates in €25M sustainability research project

16/02/2015 Barcelona

Skyline of Cologne (Germany), chosen alongside Barcelona and Stockholm as a ‘Lighthouse City’ in the EU GrowSmarter Project / Photo: Archive

Barcelona is to become a "Lighthouse City," spotlighting the ways that European metropolises can develop more sustainably – and IESE will play an integral role. The city was selected alongside Cologne and Stockholm to participate in the €25 million GrowSmarter project, which was launched in the Swedish capital on February 10. IESE’s Joan Enric Ricart, Pascual Berrone and Lluís Torrens will provide much of the expertise needed for this vast, five-year project that involves both public and private sector partners.

Achieving Goals, Creating Jobs

GrowSmarter is part of a European Union-wide move to fulfill a number of tough but achievable goals, each of which is related to at least one of the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.

One of its objectives is to cut EU transport emissions at project level by 60 percent. Another is to reduce energy usage by 60 percent. In addition to these aims, GrowSmarter should create the equivalent of 1,500 jobs across Europe.

Developing Districts, Infrastructures and Mobility

In order to meet its overall goal of sustainable urban development, Barcelona will need to address three key areas. The first is the development of low-energy districts, which will involve not just smart energy solutions and local energy production, but also alternative-fuelled vehicles.

The second area is the creation of integrated infrastructures that include smart lighting, improved ways to utilize waste heat and collect waste products, and big data protocols for saving energy and improving quality of life.

The third group of objectives – under the umbrella of sustainable urban mobility – includes sustainable delivery and smart traffic management, as well as the commitment to smarter mobility solutions.

Private and Public Sectors in Partnership

Conceived as a pluralistic and inclusive project, GrowSmarter allows public bodies to work in partnership with private organizations across Europe. This facilitates market growth at a local level while reducing environmental impact, thus improving citizens’ quality of life.

Gustaf Landahl, project coordinator for Stockholm, said at the launch: "The GrowSmarter project aims to show the benefits of public and private sector partners working together to stimulate the smart-city economy." He added: "The idea behind GrowSmarter is to create jobs and provide a boost for a smarter, more sustainable Europe by showcasing innovative, intelligent practices and technology in real-life scenarios, so that other cities can learn from our experiences and think: Yes, this is something we can do too."