Environmental management and partnerships

Environmental matters are a part of the City Strategy, which is complemented by the environmental policy of the City. When monitoring the environmental policy indicators shown in the Environmental Report, we are also partially monitoring the implementation of the City Strategy. The information in the environmental report and statistics is open data. The environmental management in the City organisation is described on the opposite page.

The EcoCompass environmental management system was audited in 2019 at Helsinki City Library and Kinapori Senior Centre. Construction of the EcoCompass systems was under way in Sports Services and Youth Services, as well as the Urban Environment Division. Three City of Helsinki subsidiary communities began to build the EcoCompass system in 2019. 

The Helsinki Events Foundation decided to introduce EcoCompass in all of its operations. This means that goal-oriented environmental work will soon cover many events familiar to the residents of Helsinki, from the Helsinki Festival and LUX Helsinki to the Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair and the Mayor’s Independence Day Celebration for fourth graders. The operating model is new, and instead of certifying individual events, the goal is to have a systematic environmental programme and an EcoCompass certificate that covers the Event Foundation’s entire event production.

Helsinki City Theatre introduced EcoCompass at the end of the year. The City Theatre’s EcoCompass programme will be built to cover the Big Stage and the Small Stage, as well as Studio Pasila, the Arena Stage and Lilla Teatern. The City Theatre’s strength lies in its informed staff, and systematic environmental work makes it possible to have a positive effect on staging materials, procurements for the building, people’s mobility and environmental awareness alike.

Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo provides facilities for numerous cultural events and operators at the Cable Factory and in the Suvilahti area. Kaapelitalo decided to introduce EcoCompass in its operations at the end of the year. Among the key aspects of Kaapelitalo’s EcoCompass are reducing the environmental effects of old and valuable properties and supporting the environmental responsibility of event organisers, lessees and other co-operation partners.

The City granted a discount of 30% on the rent charged for area use for an audited EcoCompass environmental system to six events: the Helsinki City Running Day, Citroën Naisten Kymppi – Women’s Fun Run, the Flow Festival, the World Village Festival, Great Beers – Small Breweries and Slush The Borough.

The City’s parent organisation had 765 trained eco-supporters and approximately 220 appointed eco-supporters by the end of 2019. Several subsidiary communities also had trained eco-supporters. By the end of 2019, the operations had spread from Helsinki to 22 Finnish municipalities. Additionally, the operating model is used by the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment; the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY); the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council; the U.S. Embassy in Finland; the Eteva Joint Municipal Authority and the Finnish National Board of Education.

In 2019, the eco-support activities continued the previously developed form of support for developing environmental matters at workplaces: eco-support aid. The aid was distributed based on the applications of the eco-supporters for projects such as a environmental education, cleaning local nature, developing waste sorting and promoting sustainable transport. 

Helsinki also wants to engage businesses in practising environmental responsibility and reducing their emissions. Over the course of the year, a total of four events were organised for businesses that have joined the Climate Partners network and other parties interested in the matter. The common thread of the events was the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 programme. At the beginning of the year, the action plan’s economic effects were discussed with the Climate Partners. In the autumn, the focus was on finding solutions at the Climate Partners’ annual seminar and Accelerate Helsinki, among others. First-time events included the Circular Economy in Construction market dialogue event, which proved highly popular. 

In July 2019, Helsinki submitted its first voluntary report on the realisation of the Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals to the UN. In connection with the realisation report, the City Strategy and its top projects, as well as the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan, were assessed in relation to the UN’s objectives on sustainable development. In terms of the aforementioned, several objectives could be identified through which Helsinki participates in promoting the UN’s objectives on sustainable development. In fact, a significant portion of realising the UN’s objectives on sustainable development takes place at local level. This being the case, Helsinki and New York have inspired several other cities to take part in carrying out voluntary realisation reporting.

Helsinki’s work on sustainable development is also supported by the City’s ethical principles, which were approved by the City Board in October 2019 and complement and open the City’s values. In accordance with the ethical principles, the City emphasises sustainable development in its operations and fights climate change, among other things.

In September 2019, the Helsinki City Council approved the goal of halving the City’s production of meat and dairy products by 2025. This decision complements the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan, which focuses primarily on reducing direct emissions produced within the city. However, the City must also be able to reduce its consumption-related emissions.

Food aid-related emissions will also be reduced in Helsinki in the future, as the City Council granted funding for establishing a food waste terminal. Logistics related to distributing food waste can be centred to the terminal, reducing the emissions generated from storing and transporting food waste. Social work provided to food aid customers will also be developed and increased at the same time.

Tourism is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world, and this growth can be seen in Helsinki as well. The City began drawing up a sustainable tourism programme in 2019. The programme will define a long-term vision for 2030 and more detailed procedures until 2025. The programme will be completed in 2020.

Eyes on the future:

The City’s environmental policy will be updated in 2020 and environmental co-operation between the City’s different operators will be strengthened. In environmental management system work, the long-term goal is to establish division-specific environmental management systems, and EcoCompass has been found to be a functional system, although the ISO 14001 system also meets the City’s goals for environmental management.