Helsinki has launched an online sustainability programme, Think Sustainably, to assuage residents’ concerns over the climate emergency.
The Helsinki Think Sustainably initiative aims to provide tools to support the city’s residents, businesses and visiting tourists in making the necessary choices to improve their impact on the environment. The programme offers a service assessing local businesses, events and experiences according to a comprehensive set of sustainability criteria developed by the City of Helsinki in partnership with Finnish think tank Demos Helsinki, with input from environmental experts and local interest groups. It also provides a journey planning service, enabling users to select low- and zero-emissions and displaying the total CO2 emissions of each route in grams.
Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Director of the City of Helsinki’s Carbon Neutral Helsinki Initiative, said: “The shift towards carbon neutrality requires both major structural changes and everyday actions. Individual choices matter. According to recent studies, in order to stop further climate warming, every Finn should reduce their carbon footprint from 10.3 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes by the year 2030. If one person in each of the 2.6 million households existing in Finland would reduce their carbon footprint by 20 per cent, we would reach 38% of the goals set for Finland in the Paris climate agreement for reducing emissions.”
Finland, which holds the presidency of the EU until December 2019, has declared sustainability and climate action to be the prevailing priorities of its presidential term; and has set itself the ambitious target of becoming fully carbon neutral by 2035. In July this year, Helsinki became the first EU city to present a comprehensive report to the United Nations (UN) on its progress in implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Helsinki Think Sustainably programme is currently publicly available across the city; and is actively soliciting user feedback. Its impact and efficacy will be reviewed in 2020 ahead of potential wider rollouts.