On March 9, 2007 the European Council adopted a package of energy and climate protection measures with which the entire European Union committed itself to raise its energy efficiency by 20%, increase the proportion of renewable energy by 20% and to cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. As a result, the EU Commission embedded the establishment of a so-called "Covenant of Mayors" within the framework of the corresponding "Action Plan for Energy Efficiency" under the title "Realising the Potential". Founded at European level in February 2008, this covenant is a network of local authorities which underscores their significance where climate protection is concerned and is intended to contribute to realising the relevant areas of potential. The acceding towns and local authorities commit themselves to exceeding the targets set by the EU for fulfilment by 2020, a goal that is to be achieved by setting up an action plan and putting it into practice. To date around 1400 towns and local authorities throughout Europe have joined the network.
The Rhine-Neckar Regional Association is working together with the city of Heidelberg to anchor this EU initiative even more strongly in the metropolitan region and to persuade more and more local authorities to sign the covenant. This is intended to intensify the regional climate protection activities to an even greater extent. In an initial step, an information event was organised for the region's local authorities on 16.04.2010, where the goals, various recommended courses of action, as well as what support can be offered by the network, were explained. During this event, the Rhine-Neckar Regional Association officially signed a "Supporting Structure" agreement. Alongside Heidelberg as a founding member, eleven further local authorities from the region declared their decision at the event to join the covenant. With the towns and local authorities of Eppelheim, Frankenthal, Heppenheim, Landau, Limburgerhof, Mannheim, Rimbach, Rülzheim, Viernheim and Wiesloch, this means that a total of twelve local authorities from the Rhine-Neckar region now belong to the Covenant of Mayors. This makes Rhine-Neckar the most strongly represented German metropolitan region in the covenant.