Cologne saves CO2: Team building for climate protection

Many small steps also help the climate. The low-threshold campaign, "Cologne saves on CO2", shows how it's done: The centrepiece of the initiative is an Internet portal that records all contributions to CO2 savings made by citizens, measures their magnitude and combines all savings achieved for one joint savings target.

An African proverb states that, if many small people do many small things, they can change the face of the world. This message has also been received in the Rhineland, as is shown by the "Cologne saves on CO2" project: The climate protection campaign was advertised to the inhabitants of the Rhine metropolis for ten months, inviting them to make their individual contributions to climate protection part of a collective achievement. Using a communal platform, the Cologne residents were able to publish their contributions to CO2 savings and to assess their magnitude. Prominent Cologne residents strengthened the initiative using postcards, posters, contributions on the website etc. and also revealed their own personal climate protection measures. The campaign has already exceeded the original savings target of 500 tonnes of CO2.

Engine for progress:

  • low-threshold participation offer
  • stimulating social dialogue
  • learning effects and social change
  • strengthens the sense of community among the citizens of Cologne

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Photo: KölnAgenda e.V.

Photo Artist Andy Kassier

Learning effects and comparability fuel mass dynamics

However, even more important than the CO2 savings are the learning effects initiated by the campaign: The initiative clearly demonstrates to the participating citizens how and above all how much they can contribute to climate protection, even with smaller measures. The portal makes the various options for saving CO2 visible to everyone. In addition to this, all contributors have received a detailed report on their own CO2 savings. In this way, they come to appreciate their contribution – in comparison with the overall target, as well as in comparison with other fellow participants.

The concept promotes mass dynamics, which in turn promote social change. This convinced KlimaExpo.NRW too. Even if, for now, the campaign has finished, its potential has not been exhausted yet. As a unique project to date, "Cologne saves on CO2" is highly transferable to further cities and regions. The non-profit organisation, KölnAgenda e.V., has gained valuable experience with this type of campaign, and this is now available. On the basis of these experiences, the association is already planning its next projects.

Partners and sponsors

  • KölnAgenda e.V.
  • Stadt Köln
  • RheinEnergie
  • Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe
  • Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung