written by
Denise Jacobs

Discover how the city of Vilvoorde uses FutureproofedCities to embed its climate ambitions in all its municipal departments

Climate Action Success Story Consultancy 4 min read , September 18, 2019

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Every month we celebrate one of our users and listen how FutureproofedCities has helped them with their climate policy so far. Today we start with our first user: the city of Vilvoorde! 🎉

Despite his busy schedule, Pascal Moons likes to take some time to have a small chat. Pascal is a sustainability officer at the city of Vilvoorde and has been working on the climate plan of Vilvoorde since 2015. In addition to his passion for sustainability, he is married, dad of 2 daughters (16 and 18) and football coach for the women's team they play for.

Pascal Moons

How does Vilvoorde work on climate today? 🏙

Vilvoorde is a rapidly growing city with about 44,000 inhabitants. In order to implement our climate plan properly, we try to allocate measures and actions to different policy areas, so that as many services and departments as possible feel involved and realise they can do a lot themselves. We have set up a number of clusters that are systematically fed with actions and the ambition is to continue this approach in order to embed our climate ambitions in all our city services and projects. In addition, we are also very much committed to raising awareness among the population, businesses and organisations, because as a city, we cannot carry out everything on our own!

What is for you the biggest challenge in climate policy at the moment? 🧩

Our biggest challenge is to get everyone involved in the story. We are succeeding in embedding the climate objectives in the city's operations, but that is still only a fraction of the number of people/organisations that would have to take the plunge in order to achieve the objectives. That's why it is so crucial that all stakeholders are involved in the climate story.

What has been your favorite climate action so far? 🏆

The Klimaatket (working together with students to create a sustainable living environment) was a real success, because we learned how climate change lives among young people (5th and 6th grade). It's a very accessible way to involve young people in the climate issues. We therefore also want to open this up to secondary schools.

Another nice action was when we went on the streets with cupcakes to launch our campaign #hartjeVilvoorde klimaatactief. We talked to many different people about climate and got a lot of different reactions. At that moment you also feel what is going on with the people and what problems they have. That was an eye-opener and showed us that it's really important to continue to involve citizens in the climate plan and to 'translate' this plan into themes they are working on, such as energy costs and a better living comfort (and thus not to approach it purely scientifically)!

The Klimaatket (Source: Stad Vilvoorde)

What did FutureproofedCities (FPC) already mean for you and Vilvoorde? 💬

Vilvoorde has been working with FutureproofedCities for 2.5 years now and we have already carried out more than 100 climate actions during that time. It gives me an overview of everything I do on a daily basis, all at a glance and within reach. It also contains a lot of background information and history, which helps me enormously to answer questions and to be able to find everything. Who is responsible for what? What goes well, what doesn't? Since there are always new actions, it takes some time to follow up everything in the tool, although for me that overview is of course its greatest power 💪.

In addition, there is also contact with other FPC users: you can quickly find a colleague who is facing the same challenge. It is very useful to be able to ask questions directly to other cities.

Which part of FPC do you find most useful? ⚙️

What I find the most valuable part of FPC is linking actions (=concrete projects) to measures (=longer-term objectives) and that I can add feedback and store all data. In this way I can clearly see what belongs together and how everything is linked to each other. The user-friendliness of the tool is also a great asset!

Because bragging is allowed here: what do you think other FPC users can learn from you? 👏

I try not to point the finger too much, but to keep the climate story light and positive. I see that it works much better to approach and involve people in a positive way, so I try to do that as much as possible. I also try to set a good example myself and find it quite amusing when my colleagues tap me on the fingers when I make the slightest sustainable 'mistake' of my own. This shows that they are working on this themselves.

To conclude: what exciting actions are still to come in Vilvoorde? 🚀

From September onwards, we will be working on the scaling up of the Woon+Bus (mobile desk with energy expert for the supervision of renovations). Here we want to extend the success to multi-family houses and provide extra support for owners and tenants of apartment buildings. The principle of opening up and further scaling up successful actions remains one of the major objectives of the coming months.

In addition, we are currently working on our climate plan for 2030. We try to creatively combine long-term objectives with realisable concrete performances, in cooperation with other European cities such as Manchester, Frankfurt and Modena. Exciting times to come!

Thank you for your time and enthusiasm Pascal! We wish you good luck in the coming months with the participation of all stakeholders in your city.

FutureproofedCities allows all municipal services to work together on a single online tool to carry out more climate actions and communicate them to their citizens.

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