Smart & Clean

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area’s Smart & Clean Foundation is a joint five-year change project between cities, companies, universities and research institutes in the Helsinki region as well as the Finnish Government. The project involves 29 partners from the public and private sectors. During its forth year of operation, the foundation continued its work to create and speed up 1.5ºC climate solutions. The climate crisis cannot be solved with individual sector- or operator-specific changes alone – changes must be made in joint ecosystems comprising public and private operators, and the impacts must alter the structures of society and business. It is also important to understand the overall picture of climate emissions and what types of solutions are needed in order to considerably reduce local and consumption-based emissions.

The foundation’s Circulating All Plastics spearhead project is an example of this type of project that is intended to cover the entire lifecycle of plastic, from product design to collection and from reprocessing to new products. The plastics project is led by a working group whose activities the City Of Helsinki is involved in. The recycling of plastics can only grow to the required level if the entire value chain and the plastic product market operate in tandem. To describe the systemic change required for the recycling of plastics, the foundation has used a data model it has created to help understand the areas required for the change, the measures related to them and their implementers. The model also makes it possible to illustrate the interdependencies between different areas and the effect chains of the changes.

Additionally, the foundation has produced several reports for use by various operators. The mapping of measures has focused on the recycling solutions of households, the recycling solutions of the service and trade sector, the recycling of construction plastic and enhancing of the recycling of plastic packaging, among other things. The City of Helsinki’s goal is to carry out effective measures, especially through means that promote the recycling of plastics in public procurements and at construction sites.

Plastic Mama performance at Kansalaistori Square, featuring a plastic baroque dress as a statement about the climate crisis.
Picture 21. Plastic Mama performance at Kansalaistori Square. Photograph by Vesa Laitinen.

In 2020, the foundation, besides developing the focus area of plastics, also worked with ITS Finland as part of the National Growth Programme for the Transport Sector on developing a model for affecting the sustainability of the transport system and promoting the achievement of the 1.5ºC climate target in particular.

The Smart & Clean cooperation between companies and the public sector and the foundation’s neutral role as orchestrator garner a great deal of interest internationally. Orchestrator is a key role in change management, the principle of which is to get the right people and organisations to work with each other in a dependent ecosystem. For example, the world’s leading climate network, C40, has been building a global City-business Climate Alliance (CBCA) programme for 96 cities together with its partners, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and CDP. It has utilised the foundation’s experience and operating method as a model in the planning of its own activities. The CBCA was launched in summer 2020, and the foundation serves as the programme’s Fellow partner.

In 2020, the foundation also served as an expert and mentor in numerous projects and networks of Helsinki, advancing the cooperation of the public and private sectors.

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