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Cultivating Sustainable Cities: The Growth Story of Husqvarna Group and Overstory

In the era of environmental consciousness and sustainability, Husqvarna Group, one of the most well-known names in the realm of outdoor power tools, embarked on a mission to harness technology for greener cities.

The collaboration between Husqvarna Group and Overstory led to the birth of The Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index (HUGSI), a pioneering service that redefines how cities assess and enhance their green spaces – by analyzing data from satellites in orbit.

Their partnership was catalyzed by connections made through the industry network Combient Foundry in 2018. Combient Foundry’s guidance and network facilitated workshops and introductions, aligning the goals and visions of Husqvarna Group and Overstory. Recognizing a shared passion for environmental stewardship, the two entities joined forces to explore the potential of satellite intelligence in vegetation analysis. The inception of HUGSI was fueled by the desire to tackle a pressing challenge: how to effectively monitor and manage urban greenery.

 

Meeting a startup that had already collaborated with other Combient Foundry member gave us the confidence to enter into collaboration quickly, resulting in fast delivery on our side.

– Erik Swan, Director – Digital Business Exploration, Husqvarna Group

 

Challenges and Collaboration

Husqvarna Group was already exploring open satellite data, by looking into what is possible and what is not. Additionally, they wanted to start a second track with a company more focused on commercial high-resolution data.

During the same year, the collaboration between Husqvarna Group and Overstory reached a turning point with the conception of HUGSI: to assess and rank cities based on their environmental sustainability. Drawing inspiration from esteemed rating systems such as Michelin Guide and Guinness World Records, they sought to develop a platform offering impartial insights into urban green spaces.

 

From Concept to Reality in 6 months

Overstory brought to the table a wealth of expertise in high-resolution satellite data, particularly focused on vegetation. This partnership enabled Husqvarna Group to delve deeper into urban tree care, exploring individual tree analysis within city landscapes. The concept of HUGSI emerged as a groundbreaking endeavor to analyze and rank cities based on their greenness.

HUGSI was launched in September 2019, marking the beginning of a transformative journey. The project soon gained widespread attention, with an overwhelmingly positive response from municipalities and media outlets worldwide. In its first year, 98 cities were monitored and included in the index. Buoyed by this success, Husqvarna Group and Overstory forged ahead, renewing their collaboration, and expanding HUGSI’s reach. Growth remained strong, averaging over 30% YoY. Going into 2024, HUGSI boasts 279 cities across 61 countries, all based on city requests and contributions.

 

HUGSI has grown and evolved from an innovative marketing concept into a service leading the way for us in our overall transformation as a company. Combining new technologies, business models and go to market with real sustainability impact is a great example of how we wish to position our future offerings in Husqvarna.

– Erik Swan, Director – Digital Business Exploration,  Husqvarna Group

 

A Standalone Venture and Future Endeavors

Today, HUGSI stands as a testament to innovation and sustainability, offering a comprehensive platform for objective and recurring monitoring of urban green spaces. While initially conceived as a group function, it has evolved into a standalone digital service under the Husqvarna Group brand. This transformation allows for greater flexibility in market approach and branding, paving the way for deeper integration within Husqvarna’s Forest and Garden division. What sets HUGSI apart is its potential to transcend being just a digital service. It has become an integral part of Husqvarna Group’s sustainability efforts, aligning with broader environmental goals and positioning the company as a pioneer in green innovation.

As HUGSI continues to evolve, the focus has shifted towards expansion and integration. This growth trajectory underscores the project’s success in bridging the gap between digital innovation and sustainable urban development. Moreover, the collaboration with Overstory continues to thrive, fueled by a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Looking ahead, the journey of HUGSI serves as a proof of possibilities for cities worldwide, offering a pathway towards greener, more sustainable urban landscapes. By harnessing the power of collaboration and innovation, Husqvarna Group and Overstory have set a precedent for driving positive change in our communities.  Through strategic collaborations, technological innovation, and unwavering commitment, Husqvarna Group and Overstory have unlocked the potential of urban greenery.

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