Blog #8: The inspiring challenge of issy-les-moulineaux

A co2 budget: the inspiring challenge of issy-les-moulineaux

One of the cities partnering CLIMABOROUGH is using a daring data and communitarian strategy to improve its climate mitigation and adaptation strategy. We explain you why and how.

Sometimes, it is possible to find a gold nugget where you wouldn’t really have a look. Actually, this can happen in large metropolitan agglomerations as Paris’ one, as the presence of a “Big Cock” can hide very interesting examples.

It is the case of a mid-sized city in the outskirts of Paris that had to find its own way, also to escape the shadow of its very large and famous neighbor. It is a quite known name today, a bit also for its name that is quite difficult for foreigners to say: Issy-les-Moulineaux. This is why it is known almost everywhere as simply Issy.

This city, famous also for being one of the cradles of aviation, in the early 90s adopted a strategy of innovation, with a determined goal of attracting high value-added IT companies and making digital & high-tech the backbone of Issy’s economy.

As early as 1994, when the Internet was still relatively unknown in France, Issy decided to have the “reflex of innovation” and thus to be constantly aware of the developments of new technologies implemented in cities all over the world. The City’s strategy was also focused on the need to prioritize the improvement & needs of Issy’s citizens, putting the exchange and the communication with them at the heart of the strategy.

The results of this innovation strategy have been remarkable, as today, the strategy of the city has become a very positive example of success, bringing economic dynamism as well as a better penetration of the use of digital technologies to improve public services. A simple number to show success, the population has moved from about 45.000 to 70.000 in about 30 years.

The need of climate transition is obviously there as anywhere else, but actually a bit more, being Issy part of the last “Megacity” area in the EU, thus part of urban agglomeration of more than 8 million of inhabitants and with one of the biggest densities in Europe. In fact, Issy has almost 16.000 inhabitants/km2 (20.000 in Paris) and the whole metropolitan area has 9/km2, while London has about 5.600 inhabitants for km2. The area of the Ile-de-France region is also subject to tourism (about 27 million visitors per year) and economic vitality (72.000 people work in Issy vs. 70.000 inhabitants), making those figures finally higher.

This economic vitality of Issy is ironically one of its “problems”. Unfortunately, one of the main issues of cities having a very high economic activity is having a negative impact in terms of pollution.

And it is necessary to think a bit out of the box to find solutions. Issy does it also inspiring itself to other cities, as they could learn how important is to study other cities successful innovations.

This is why Issy, in 2021, could identify the CO2 Budget example of Oslo as something to try to replicate locally.

Why this project?

The objective is to limit its greenhouse gas emissions more effectively, with a regular set of objectives and indicators.

If the approach is obviously in line with the objectives set by the Paris Agreement on climate and the national low carbon strategy, this climate budget will set annual objectives for reducing CO2 emissions. Issy considers that the best way to have long-term goals, which are easy to put off as the deadline approaches, is to define a set of smaller ones, easier to reach. This also has positive impacts on communication and citizens’ engagement level.

By associating its strategy to fight climate change with the notion of “budget”, the Municipality wants to demonstrate its strong political will, being the vote of the financial budget the most important political act for a municipal council.

Issy starts its procedure is aware that to achieve the objectives set, it must also rely on all public and private actors: municipal services themselves represent only 3% of greenhouse gas emissions. Along with transport and waste management, the building sector (residential and tertiary) is one of the first to be affected. It will therefore be necessary to involve all stakeholders, public and private, in the City, and this is one of the missions assigned to the “Issy, Act for the climate” endowment fund, which was created at the end of 2020.

The climate budget is a way of showing where emissions can be reduced and who is responsible for doing so. This is not only an important contribution to the fight against climate change.

Obviously, the data is open, and it can be consulted on Issy’s website:


Matteo Satta

ANCI Toscana