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Global Sustainability Movement: Milan should do better

Last updated on October 10, 2023

The Global Sustainability Movement just released its annual ranking about the most sustainable destinations out there. The city of Milan ranked as the 40th most sustaibale city among the 40 destinations considered this year.

Global Sustainability Movement: the top 10

About the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index)

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) is a destination-level
programme that measures, benchmarks, and improves the sustainability strategy and
performance of tourism and events destinations.

Its purpose is to inspire, engage, and enable destinations to become more regenerative,
flourishing, and resilient places tovisit, meet, and live in.

Scope: Unlike other standards and rankings, the GDS-Index was originally created – for the
events and meetings industry and is the only programme of its type in the world. Since 2020
we have integrated leisure tourism into the criteria, making it relevant for all urban business
and leisure tourism destinations.

Origins: The GDS-Index was created in 2015 by fifteen visionary Scandinavian Cities, MCI,
and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)

The skyline of Oslo, the second most sustainable destination in the ranking

The Top 10 most sustainable destinations

  1. Gothenburg (Sweden)
  2. Oslo (Norway)
  3. Copenhagen (Denmark)
  4. Helsinki (Finland)
  5. Bergen (Norway)
  6. Aarhus (Denmark)
  7. Aalborg (Denmark)
  8. Glasgow (United Kingdom)
  9. Bordeaux (France)
  10. Stockholm (Sweden)

Milan to far from the top

The city of Milan ranked at N. 40 in the annual ranking known as The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index).

“A young, inclusive and eco-minded City with the italian quality of life: these are the pillars of the sustainability strategy that Milan is implementing, renewing its commitment to balance its role as attractor of global investment and innovation with an ever-greater attention to environmental sustainability and social inclusion. The City has expanded its vision of a sustainable future by including in its strategy critical elements for long-term development – public health, digital inclusion, economic prosperity, transportation, education and social services – accelerating progress towards reaching these goals. In fact, Milan is positioning itself as a destination that has the energy and dynamism of a global city but maintains a human scale: the ideal city to enjoy the Italian lifestyle based on art, design, food and culture.”

GDS Website

It is then the last destination in the list. The city sists at the bottom of the chart for two main reasons. One: the lack of partners which actually embrace sustainable values. Only 16% of hotel rooms are certified as sustainable and only 15% of venues committed to more sustainable practices and policies. The same for agencies, third parties, DMCs and PCOs: only 16% of the companies operating in the Milan area can be considered as truly committed to the UN 2030 Agenda.

The Vertical Forest in Milan is an example of sustainable architecture

The second reason behind this improvable result is the lack of the so called “green areas”. Milan does much better when it comes to waste recycle. Gothenburg with tops the chart scored only 29% when it comes to the disposal of urban waste while Milan boasts a 62% score.

However, if we look at the data relating to green spaces per 100,000 inhabitants, the Swedish city can count on 15,569 hectares of green areas compared to only 434 hectares in the capital of fashion and design.

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