Greening the Islands Foundation

Global Index measures progress of islands towards a sustainable future

Greening the Islands show the results of a test on two islands of new measurement system of environmental health.

Greening the Islands Awards recognizes best practice initiatives in Pantelleria (Italy), Naxos (Greece), Malta and Helgoland (Germany).

Palermo, Sicily, 17 October 2019 – Small islands that want to make real and measurable progress in moving to a sustainable model of development and tourism can now use a set of global indicators to progress towards a greener future.

The Global Index developed by the Greening the Islands Observatory gives a score for how small islands perform based on a set of technical indicators measuring the effectiveness of actions performed. Two test cases, focusing on the islands of Helgoland in Germany and the Egadi islands, off Sicily’s west coast, were presented at the 6th Greening the Islands international conference in association with CPMR Islands Commission, held in Palermo, Italy. The event also saw awards recognised to five innovative projects for sustainable islands, realised in Malta (two awards), Naxos (Greece), Pantelleria ( Sicily) and Helgoland (Germany).

The Global Index assesses island performance based on a questionnaire completed by island municipalities and focusing on five topics: energy (electricity and thermal power), water (production, distribution and treatment), mobility (electric vehicles, marine mobility and related infrastructure), waste ( separate collection and treatment) and environmental protection. The Global Index is a key part of the work of the Greening the Islands Observatory to promote best practices of innovative technology solutions on islands internationally, lobbying for a legislative framework facilitating the transition to sustainable models and encouraging simpler permitting processes for green projects.

The event in Palermo brought together about 150 participants and featured 40 speakers from international and Italian institutions, business, universities as well as islands across Europe. Organized in collaboration with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) Islands Commission and supported by Enel X, Energy Everywhere, Axpo, Hitachi, the Chamber of Commerce of Corfu and the Italian utility association, UNIEM. It was the occasion for a preview of the 2019 report of the GTI Observatory and a discussion of opportunities for public and private financing of island projects. European institutions and industrial associations were engaged in a debate about the role of the islands as part of EU National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).

“The good news is that the urgent need to shift to a more sustainable and green economy on islands presents not only challenges but significant opportunities,” said Gianni Chianetta, Director of Greening the Islands. “It’s essential for island stakeholders to have a rigorous methodology for assessing where they are today and measuring progress. The GTI Global Index helps also to identify the actions and innovative initiatives that can make more the difference in improving the environment and so get a better score”.

“Representatives of island regional governments and industry should continue to work hand in hand” said Davide Strengis CPMR Executive Director. “We need to share data and capitalise on last innovative technologies and solutions”. Next months will be crucial since key decisions will be taken regarding the future of EU policies on climate change adaptation/mitigation and circular economy. The collaboration between the policy makers, the academia and the industry will surely produce joint recommendations that the CPMR Islands Commission and Greening The Islands will use to maximise opportunities and put islands at the top of the new EU political agenda in the post 2020 programming period.

The Global Index has been tested on two islands from opposite ends of Europe: Helgoland in the North Sea and the Mediterranean archipelago of Egadi islands. The evaluation showed that Helgoland is overall a virtuous island and could benefit from further development of electric marine mobility, re-use of water for non-drinking purposes and potentially a wind farm. The Egadi islands would benefit from a focus on energy, water and mobility through actions such as promoting rooftop solar installations and a medium-sized PV installation supported by storage, cutting water losses and re-designing mobility solutions.

These islands and the many others looking to adopt sustainable solutions to improve quality of life can draw inspiration from the projects winning the 2019 Greening the Islands Awards. The awards, that have reached the V edition, recognise the most innovative solutions as voted by a prestigious, international jury based on qualitative and quantitative criteria. The winners of the 2019 edition of the awards were:

  • In the Energy category: PANTELLERIA (Italy) for its study of a renewable-powered system for an electrodialysis (ED) desalination plant. The objective of the project was to propose an electrodialysis (ED) desalination plant directly powered by a hybrid photovoltaic/ wind turbine system, without the presence of an intermediate energy storage. The ED unit can in turn be used as drinking water production device as well as salinity gradient energy storage system.
  • In the Mobility category: MALTA for its Sustainable Multi-Intermodal Transport Hubs (SMITHs). The SMITH concept links a number of sustainable inter-modal transport services concentrated in a given area to reduce use of ICE vehicles and cut pollution (involving for example bus, ferry services and sharing of e-cars, electric-cargo vans, electric motorcycles and bikes).
  • In the Waste category: NAXOS (Greece) for the Green Kiosk project. The initiative involved the installation and demonstration of nine prototype units for recycling municipal solid waste in remote locations. The innovative system was tailored to fit into the local area’s needs and increase recycling rates by fine sorting, compression and baling of different types of recyclable waste.
  • In the Water category: HELGOLAND (Germany) for its optimization of drinking water supply. As part of the island’s target to become a Zero Emission island by 2020, the local utility carried out a holistic energy optimization of the drinking water supply that led to energy use being almost halved and saving 204t of CO2 emissions a year.
  • In the Public Awareness category: MALTA for CSR Institute-Together for Sustainability. With funding from HSBC, the initiative brought together stakeholders to better understand the ideals and principles of sustainability in a one-day course covering water conservation, energy consumption, waste management and reduction, and sustainable development.The full Greening the Islands Observatory report will be published by the end of 2019.

CLICK HERE to read more about the winner projects of the GTI Awards 2019.


Notes for editors:
Greening the Islands is an international non-profit initiative that aims to stimulate collective work and promote best practices around the issues of energy, water, mobility, waste, agriculture, tourism and the environment in general for the enhancement of small islands and remote locations, through conferences, online forums, webinars and an observatory. | @GTIslands

Greening the Islands jury Awards: François Alfonsi, Member of ITRE Committee, European Parliament; Georges Kremlis, Honorary Director – Directorate General for the Environment, European Commission – Active Senior responsible for circular economy in the islands; Helmut Morsi, Adviser to the Director and Coordinator for Innovation, European Commission, DG MOVE-B; Giovanni Ruggeri, Chairman Observatory on Tourism for Islands Economy; Giuseppe Sciacca, Executive Secretary Conference Peripheral Maritime Regions Islands Commission; Konstantina Toli, Senior Programme Officer, Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean.

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions  brings together some 160 Regions from  25  States from the European Union and beyond. Representing about 200 million people, the CPMR campaigns in favour of a more balanced development of the European territory. It operates both as a think tank and as a lobby group for Regions. It focuses mainly on social, economic and territorial cohesion, maritime policies, transport and accessibility, climate and energy and migration policies.  | @CPRM_Europe

Media contacts:
Cecilia Bergamasco – 3479306784
Sicily press: Alexandra Buzzi – 348 091 3075
e-mail: press@

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