The Charter text

GDC new textClick here to download the PDF file
of the Green Digital Charter as revised in 2016


The Green Digital Charter aims to improve the quality of life in cities through the use of digital solutions. It was first launched in 2009 by EUROCITIES, drawing on preparatory work by the city of Manchester and Clicks and Links Ltd. A large number of European cities – home to over 26 million people – have already committed to work together towards the aims and objectives of the Green Digital Charter. The charter is also supported by the European Commission.

The EU 20/20/20 energy and climate targets provided the backdrop to the creation of the Green Digital Charter. Today, the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union, the Urban Agenda and the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe (Juncker Plan) provide a new framework for the EU’s policies, and acknowledge the increasing role of cities and their citizens in helping to shape and achieve policy goals.

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) and Horizon 2020 ‘lighthouse’ projects highlight the need for cities to adopt and use digital technologies. Cities across Europe are encouraged to deploy integrated infrastructure, develop open urban platforms and draw up European standards for smart cities, enable the emergence of a collaborative and co-creative urban ecosystem and further develop public procurement strategies for innovation.

Given the widely recognised need for technology and infrastructure-driven changes, it is even more important to highlight and exploit the social benefits of the digital economy. As the cities are entering a new stage in their evolution, they need to work towards becoming ‘smart cities’, where innovative technology applications are used to address the societal, economic and sustainable development challenges, improving the quality of life for all citizens.

The Green Digital Charter is a strategic initiative with the support of the GuiDanCe project in its current phase. The initiative adapts to current trends and in particular to the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the lives and needs of citizens.

The revised Green Digital Charter commits cities to work together to deliver on the EU’s objective of expanding the use of digital technologies that improve the life of their citizens and address the challenges of growth, sustainability and resilience.

Green Digital Charter for cities and citizens

We, mayors and leaders, acknowledge that
  • ICTs are critical enablers that support growth, sustainability and climate action and will continue to be integrated into the work of European cities
  • Cities can lead Europe in maximising the potential for ICTs to contribute to sustainable growth and reach its energy and climate targets by delivering innovative technical solutions and encouraging behaviour change
  • Citizens and their wellbeing are at the centre of innovation and ICT solutions
  • City administrations working together locally with city partners and stakeholders as well as with other cities across Europe, provide the best opportunity for lasting benefits from ICTs
  • European and international good practices and standards must be based on local authorities’ practical experience, which may also serve as an example for others.
We, therefore, declare our commitment to
  • Compile and implement local and digital strategies to make the most efficient use of ICTs to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of all their citizens
  • Create new city-to-city partnerships by connecting city leaders, citizens and stakeholders in order to secure practical commitments for implementing the local and digital strategies
  • Develop cities into platforms for innovation and experimentation through digital planning and new smart infrastructures and services, including connectivity and data integration
  • Foster the Smart Cities initiative and technological innovation
  • Ensure that citizens have equal access to the benefits of the digital society and that ICT-enabled initiatives are coupled with work to promote social cohesion, given that large segments of society are still excluded in many cities
  • Engage citizens through their involvement in the design, development and use of digital services and solutions
  • Regularly review ways for cities to make best use of ICTs and innovation for the benefit of all their citizens
  • Demonstrate that cities can lead by example by ensuring the measurement, transparency and visibility of each city’s use of ICT infrastructure and digital services in terms of carbon footprint, and by promoting these practices in the private sector and the wider community
  • Promote integrated approaches as well as replicable and scalable solutions by involving citizens, service providers, public sector organisations and businesses in demonstration projects
  • Enable access to and use of city data to promote entrepreneurship, enabling better services and solutions, and also facilitating responsible solutions to privacy, data security and data reuse
  • Support open innovation by encouraging and promoting open standards and interfaces, the creation of interoperable urban platforms, R&D activities and the deployment of projects in user-driven, open innovation environments
  • Develop and support new business models and procurement processesthat facilitate innovation, local growth and the implementation of socially responsible policies
  • Use the Green Digital Charter as an example of peer learning to promote cooperation between European cities and cities across the world that share the same objectives and aspirations
We, mayors and leaders, will address sustainability, growth and resilience in the interest of our citizens by
  • Working with other Green Digital Charter signatories to promote the best applications and results of ICT solutions
  • Establishing local partnerships to implement the Green Digital Charter ‘s commitments, and to make these central elements of the cities’ wider strategies
  • Deploying five large-scale and replicable ICT pilots per city within five years and communicating the impact of these to citizens and local stakeholders
  • Decreasing the direct carbon footprint of the ICT sector by 30% per city within ten years.
We will work on the above by
  • Relying on and making use of the vast expertise available within the EUROCITIES network, and in particular drawing on experiences gained from the EU-funded NiCE and GuiDanCe projects to coordinate our efforts, develop a roadmap for the implementation of the above commitments, exchange experiences and establish best practice benchmarks, as well as identify external sources of funding to support our ambitions.
  • Exchanging with relevant partners and networks