Smart & Clean

In its third year of operation, the Smart & Clean Foundation has continued its work on creating and orchestrating effective climate solutions. A report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the autumn of 2018 affirmed the need to urgently find systemic solutions to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. Cities play a key role in creating and realising such solutions.

As its top project, the Foundation started a scheme aiming at significant climate impacts and a permanent change. The project focuses on a closed circulation system for all plastics used in the Helsinki metropolitan area, implemented in co-operation between public and private operators. Only six percent of virgin plastics coming to the Helsinki region and Lahti are recycled for reuse as materials. The goal is to increase the recycling rate to 60%. This would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 336,000 tonnes, which is estimated to be equivalent to the average emissions of 80,000 people living in Helsinki. To support this change, the Foundation has implemented a dynamic data model used to assess total flows of packaging plastic throughout the entire system from raw material import to recycling.

The City of Helsinki is involved in the Task Force management group of the Circulating All Plastics process together with the City of Espoo, Fortum, HSY, Lassila & Tikanoja, Siemens and VTT. The City’s goal is to carry out effective procedures especially through means that promote the recycling of plastics in public procurements and on construction sites. The work will continue in 2020.

As part of the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan, the Foundation and the City have been involved in producing an action plan for smart and clean (S&C) growth. The first phase involved creating a description of the S&C sector and a list of S&C businesses for monitoring turnover and jobs.

Over the course of the year, the Foundation’s operating model received international recognition. It has been recognised as the world’s leading co-operation model in which cities can build strong cross-sectoral partnerships with businesses and accelerate the change towards a 1.5 °C world. The account was produced by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). In 2020, these leading networks will launch a global City-Business Climate Alliance programme between cities and businesses, which the Foundation has consulted on through knowledge accumulated over three years.

Over the course of the year, six Smart & Clean change projects were completed. The projects realised focused on new traffic solutions, city food, smart property renovation construction, storm water quality control, indoor air quality, air quality measurement and using biofuel in buses and machinery. More than 150 businesses and all of the cities in the Helsinki region were involved in the projects. A significant portion of the businesses were SMEs and start-up companies, for which domestic market references and international growth are important. The projects resulted in approximately 20 international references for businesses.

Smart & Clean is the world’s leading community focused on building effective climate solutions. New transport, housing, energy and circular economy solutions mitigate climate change and create new business.