Helsinki

Finland
The objective of Helsinki City is to make Helsinki carbon-neutral by 2030. This goal will be achieved by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki by 80%.

Emissions Reduction

33%
Since: 1990

Economic Growth

65%
Since: 1990

Emissions Reduction Target

80%
By 2030

Renewable Energy Target

20%
By 2020
achieved 24.5 % by 2020

Emissions by Source

Heating 57%
Traffic 23%
Electricity 16%
Waste 4%

Electricity Mix

The objective of the Helsinki City is to make Helsinki carbon-neutral by 2030. This goal will be achieved by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki by 80 percent. The remaining 20 per cent will be compensated for by Helsinki taking care of implementing emissions reductions outside the city. The City of Helsinki will also set a goal to attain carbon zero status by 2040. After that the goal will be carbon-negative future.

The City of Helsinki is updating its Carbon-Neutral Helsinki Action Plan with measures to reduce construction and traffic emissions, in addition to other changes that are seen as necessary and feasible. The city’s energy company Helen Ltd. will update its development plan during the council term, with due consideration for the new Urban Heating Road Map.

In 2020, total greenhouse gas emissions from Helsinki were about 33 percent lower than in 1990. Per capita emissions were 50 percent lower than 1990. Total energy consumption in the urban area remained unchanged despite the increase in population, which is related to improving energy efficiency. Renewable energy accounted for 24.5% of the production in the city area.

The climate work is versatile, e.g. during 2020 the City of Helsinki:

  • looked for solutions to Helsinki’s heating challenge through a competitionRegional geothermal heat solutions are promoted
  • implemented climate targets for Helsinki’s building stock ambitiously
  • took low-carbon principles into account in area construction
  • reduces emissions from ground preparation prior to construction
  • developed worksites to become emission-free
  • had many development projects underway in building construction
  • reduced traffic emissions by many means, and
  • had a lot of projects speed up development work.

The City can promote a carbon-neutral Helsinki with various steering measures. The City can also enable, encourage and regulate emissions reductions, for example in the following manners:

  • through collaboration with companies
  • by offering test platforms for new low-emission trials
  • by steering operations through land use planning and plot assignments
  • through traffic planning, such as the promotion of bicycling and walking
  • by directing construction
  • through communication and interaction
  • through education
  • by promoting public transport
  • by supporting low-emission vehicles
  • through procurements and investments

 

Environmental Report 2020

2020 was an exceptional year in many ways, which is also visible in the achievement of our objectives. Emissions decreased considerably from the previous year. A part of this decrease is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that reduced travel, while another part is due to the decrease in coal combustion. In the future, we must ensure that emissions will continue to decrease sufficiently quickly when life starts to return to normal. The closing of the Hanasaari power plant, the results of the Energy Challenge competition, and our work on the emissions from buildings and worksites are promising signs that we will succeed.

Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy

At the moment, our society relies heavily on linear economy: products are manufactured, consumed and thrown away. This has proved unsustainable in terms of the climate, use of resources, economy and people’s well-being. Helsinki has recognised the significance of circular and sharing economy for solving major sustainability challenges. For the first time, circular economy is one of the themes in the City’s environmental policy, which is currently being updated. One of the long-term goals in the policy draft is that the City will operate in a carbon-neutral circular economy by 2050. In this economy, natural resources will be used sustainably, and the value of products and materials will be maintained in the circulation for as long as possible. This roadmap also supports the progress towards these goals.

Helsinki's Climate Change Adaptation Policies 2019-2025

Helsinki’s climate change adaptation policies for 2019–2025 are a strategic plan, with which the City can adapt to the changing climate. With these policies, the City intends to mitigate the harmful effects that climate change has on society’s effective functioning, economy, nature and peoples’ everyday lives, and to take advantage of any benefits brought on by the changing climate.

A Sustainability Rating System for Businesses

A pilot of the Think Sustainably initiative, on the MyHelsinki website, businesses are certified as sustainable according to a matrix of criteria. The rating system aims to make it easier to for people to make sustainable choices and encourages service providers to become more sustainable, faster.

Construction Underway for Expansion of Underground District Heating System

The Helsinki energy company, Helen is building Finland’s largest underground heat storage facility in former oil storage caves. The facility will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by 21,000 tonnes and will be connected to the existing district heating network.

Climate Cooperation Between the City of Helsinki and Businesses

The Climate Partners network fosters cooperation to reduce emissions that affect the climate as well as to make companies more climate smart. The companies that join Climate Partners sign the Climate Commitment together with the Mayor of Helsinki. Each company specifies its own environmental goals. The goals aims at improving the current situation and go beyond the requirements of current legislation.

Climate Info Factsheet

HSY's Climateinfo provides quality advice services on improving energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

EcoCompass – An Environmental Management System Designed for All Fields of Operation

EcoCompass is an environmental management system suitable for small and medium sized enterprises, public events and public administration bodies. It has been developed as part of a joint venture of the municipalities of the Helsinki metropolitan area and it is based both on the respective Nordic environmental management systems and on international standards for environmental management, such as ISO 14001. Since 2018, EcoCompass has been available nationwide and coordinated by The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation's Kinos Ltd.

Eco-Support Activity - an Operating Model for a More Efficient Working Environment

Eco-support activity is an operating model for promoting environmental awareness in the workplace. At the core of the activity are eco-supporters who are appointed and trained from working communities, and who guide their colleagues towards more efficient and environmentally friendly practices. A new and more responsible organisational culture reduces environmental impacts, mitigates climate change and saves both natural resources and money.
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