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News blog3 June 2024European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency3 min read

From Small Town to Global Model: Niclas Hökfors & the Överkalix Climate Revolution

In the last episode of Remarkable Climate Leaders Podcast, we spotlight Niclas Hökfors, a municipal councillor in Överkalix, Sweden. Join us as we explore how Hökfors is driving climate leadership in his town and beyond!


Welcome to the last episode of the podcast! In this episode number 8 of Season 2, we spotlight Niclas Hökfors, a municipal councillor in Överkalix, Sweden, who has become renowned for his leadership in climate action. Hökfors, freshly re-elected, has championed the integration of frugality into Överkalix's energy strategy, turning this small municipality into a model for sustainable practices on the international stage. His community-focused approach emphasizes the importance of engaging locals in the transition to a fossil-free society.

The Journey to Municipal Councillor

Hökfors has been serving as a municipal councillor since January 2022. Following a successful election in November 2023, he will continue in this role until at least November 2026. As a councillor, he is deeply involved in almost every aspect of municipal operations, with a particular focus on environmental issues. Despite being a person who once relied heavily on car travel, Hökfors has undergone a significant transformation, becoming a passionate advocate for climate action.

Education and Empowerment

A pivotal moment in Hökfors’s journey was his participation in the Climate Leadership Program. This program provided him with the knowledge and confidence needed to drive significant changes within his municipality. Recognizing the importance of this education, Hökfors ensured that the municipal manager also completed the program. 

Moreover, a shorter version of the program will be introduced for all municipal employees, highlighting the importance of knowledge in facilitating change.

Community Engagement and Gradual Change

Hökfors believes that municipalities must take the lead in addressing climate issues to inspire companies and citizens to follow suit. He emphasizes the need for gradual change to secure public acceptance. 

Contrary to the fears of many politicians, Hökfors argues that tackling climate issues can attract more votes and engage younger people, who are increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability.

In northern Sweden, where industries are transitioning to greener practices, Hökfors sees no conflict between economic development and environmental sustainability. On the contrary, he believes that fostering green companies, particularly those producing renewable energy, can attract more businesses to the area. For Hökfors, climate action is a crucial investment in the future, ensuring a sustainable world for coming generations.

Notable Initiatives

One initiative that Hökfors is particularly proud of to have been involved was the Climate Leadership Program. This program, now also undertaken by the municipal manager, has laid the foundation for significant environmental progress in Överkalix. 

Additionally, the municipality is involved in the "Field Project," which includes a 'leisure bank' for sports and recreational equipment, promoting both environmental sustainability and community health. Hökfors is aslo working on integrating environmental concerns into local policymaking and planning. 

Financial Incentives and Public Support

In Sweden, citizens can benefit from various financial incentives to support energy efficiency actions. For instance, installing solar panels at home can earn a great government discount. 

For Hökfors, being a climate leader is a source of immense pride. He believes that addressing climate issues head-on will not only benefit the environment but also gain public appreciation and votes in future elections. His dedication to climate leadership serves as an inspiration for politicians and citizens alike, demonstrating that meaningful change begins with individual commitment and community engagement.

Niclas Hökfors’s journey from a typical car-dependent lifestyle to a dedicated climate leader is a testament to the power of education and personal transformation. His work in Överkalix exemplifies how small communities can lead the way in climate action, setting an example for the world.

Tune in to the last episode of the Remarkable Climate Leaders Podcast to learn more about Hökfors’s inspiring story and discover how you can make a difference in your own community!

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