Helsinki

HELSINKI | The objective of Helsinki City is to make Helsinki carbon-neutral by 2035. This goal will be achieved by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki by 80%.

Emissions Reduction

27%
Since: 1990

Economic Growth

65%
Since: 1990

Emissions Reduction Target

80%
By 2035

Renewable Energy Target

20%
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 2035. 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 has prepared a scheduled Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan that has been approved by the City Board. The Action Plan and its 147 actions outlines how the emissions reductions can be achieved in practice. The most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki are the heating of buildings, electricity consumption and traffic.

In 2018, total greenhouse gas emissions from Helsinki were about 27 percent lower than in 1990. Per capita emissions were 45 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 12% of the production in the city area.

Helsinki first set its objectives for greenhouse gas emissions in a sustainable development programme in 2002. Then, the objective was to keep the emissions in 2010 at the same level as in 1990. This objective was reached.

In 2008, emission objectives were set for the city-owned energy company Helen Ltd. To achieve the objectives, the City Council decided in 2015 that the Hanasaari B power plant would be closed down by the end of 2024. Helen Ltd has produced a development programme to be observed until 2024, and the programme presents the substitution of the district heating produced by the Hanasaari coal plant with other energy sources. Helen Ltd is likely to meet the objectives set for its heating production by 2030, and it is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025.

To meet the carbon-neutrality objective for 2035, the use of fossil fuels needs to be reduced in Helen’s heating production. Helen Ltd’s objective is to stop using coal entirely in the 2030s, at the latest. The City organisation itself only produces under 10 percent of the emissions within the City borders, which means that a carbon-neutral Helsinki can only be reached with close cooperation between the City organisation and residents.

The emissions of the City organisation are produced by the energy consumption of City-owned buildings, the fuel consumption of vehicles and the electricity consumption of outdoor lighting. In addition to reducing its own emissions, the City organisation also has many opportunities to influence the emissions produced by residents as the City is largely involved in residents’ everyday lives.

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

The Action Plan has been prepared as openly and transparently as possible and in accordance with Helsinki’s engagement and interaction model. Everyone interested in the process has been able to follow the preparation in real time. The implementation of the Action Plan should also follow the same principles of open participation and further promote the engagement of Helsinki residents to encourage them to commit to the Action Plan and support its implementation.

The Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan

Helsinki is committed to doing its part in mitigating climate change. The objective of the Helsinki City Strategy 2017–2021 is to make Helsinki carbon-neutral by 2035. This goal will be achieved by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki by 80 per cent. The remaining 20 per cent will be compensated for by Helsinki taking care of implementing emissions reductions outside the city. The most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki are the heating of buildings, electricity consumption and traffic. The climate goals not only affect the City organisation, but also the residents and the organisations operating in Helsinki. Helsinki can become carbon-neutral through cooperation. The Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan has been approved by the City Board. The Action Plan outlines how the emissions reductions may be achieved in practice.

Environmental Report 2018

Cities all around the world are taking increasingly concrete steps to fight climate change. Helsinki is a part of this fight! We want to do our part and be a pioneer in climate action. Our goal is that Helsinki will be carbon-neutral by 2035. The most important decision made in 2018 was the preparation of the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan, which was unanimously approved by the City Board. The Plan, which includes 147 actions, is wide, ambitious and practical. The Action Plan shows that we truly possess the means to reduce our emissions and achieve carbon-neutrality. However, the City needs to work hard on implementing the Plan and do things differently across sectors.

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.

Public Access to Emissions Reduction Progress

Helsinki has developed Climate Watch, a unique tool for anyone to monitor the city’s progress of climate protection and emissions reduction goals.

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.
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