The eco-municipality concept was first introduced in 1980 by the Finnish local authority, Suomussalmi, and was brought into Sweden in 1983 when the Övertorneå local council decided to adopt the concept.
As the eco-municipality model spread to various cities and towns throughout Sweden, a network was created as a way of providing support and assistance to cities and towns undertaking ecological community planning.
The organisation was formalised in 1995 and took on the name “Sveriges Ekokommuner” (Sekom), in English “The National Association of Swedish Eco-municipalities”.
The guiding principle of Sekom is to encourage development towards a more sustainable society, where we have a sound environment while at the same time, people have a high quality of life.
The main purpose of Sekom is to provide a forum and a meeting place where politicians and municipal employees can exchange information and learn from each others successes and failures. The information exchange occurs through the Sekom website, newsletters, facebook, courses, the annual conference and our web campus Ecomuna.
In addition, municipalities can use Sekom’s 12 green indicators to monitor their progress.
Currently, the association has 107 members, which means that more than one third of the municipalities in Sweden are Eco-municipalities! Sekom has an elected board consisting of nine (+ three substitutes) leading politicians from the member municipalities. An Expert Group of skilled staff members from the municipalities supports the board and the head office.
The head office is situated in Karlskrona, a city in the South East of Sweden, see under the "Kontakt"-header.
In order to become an eco-municipality and join the network, the municipal council or the executive committee must pass a resolution to apply for membership. The local authority must also adopt a strategic plan and program for achieving local sustainability that is in line with the four sustainability principles developed by the Natural Step Framework.
In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing…
1 ...concentrations of substances from the Earth’s crust
2 …concentrations of substances produced by society
3 …degradation by physical means
4. And in that society there are no structural obstacles to peoples Health, Influence, Competence, Impartiality and Meaning.
Look at a 2 minute explanation (with an older definition of the 4th principle)
Finally, the political resolution to apply for membership must be submitted to the organisation’s head office along with the adopted plan for addressing environmental and sustainability issues.
Sekom has developed 12 environmental indicators that were officially adopted in 2002. The purpose of these indicators is to monitor the development in eco-municipalities. See the "NYCKELTAL" header (in Swedish).
Eco-municipalities can be found in many parts of the world, and the first international conference was held in Sweden (Helsingborg) in 2008. Read a report from that conference here.
For more information contact Coordinator Kenneth Gyllensting at