A small, unknown city in Finland was chosen as the official European Green Capital and tasked with inspiring the world in urban sustainability. Together with TBWA\Helsinki, the city of Lahti found surprising and innovative ways of getting its sustainability expertise to the world’s attention. Instead of advertising, we created PR-able real-world experiences, that sought to engage locals while getting the world’s attention.  

Lahti led the conversation on carbon-neutral traffic solutions by introducing skis as public transport onto its snowy streets, engaged new audiences by using Finland’s top ice hockey league as media space and replacing players’ jersey numbers with environmental facts, showcased circular economy by showing that anything from food waste to goose poop could be recycled into craft beer, and introduced a new approach to remote work by designing and setting up special outdoor workstations in local nature. 


The campaign gained 4,5Bn potential reach (Meltwater), with 3,900 media hits in 56 countries. This amounted to an EAV of 42M€. On social, it got over 20,000 hits and 217,888 reactions. 94% of the social media visibility was earned media. It reached a 97% campaign awareness among locals, with 79% of locals actively engaging with ECG content and activities. The year’s activities brought in 324,318 participants from 40 countries to learn about Lahti’s environmental work – despite the pandemic. 

After the campaign, Lahti was the biggest riser in annual city image rankings in Finland, improving its ranking by two places and leaving behind cities like Helsinki. In addition, Lahti’s image improved globally: the previously unknown city was listed as one the best destinations to visit in 2022 by CNN and voted the best sustainable tourism destination in Europe in a ranking by European Best Destinations.