Think Sustainably – good living in Helsinki

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Climate change affects us all. Combatting it is not the task of a small minority – nor is it their privilege. The world will change and each one of us participates in this change. We all have the right to find our own way to make an impact. No task is too small. Action is needed right now on every single front.

Helsinki is committed to promoting a more sustainable way of life – for everyone. Because we understand that true impact can only happen when a group big and diverse enough becomes part of larger change through their own actions.

The Think Sustainably service helps to reduce the carbon footprint

Climate change is one of the central drivers of change affecting quality of life globally. The city of Helsinki has set an aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. This shift requires both major structural changes and everyday actions – individual choices matter.

The Think Sustainably service helps to choose more sustainable ways of living in Helsinki and enjoying the city. It filters content from the MyHelsinki.fi website to suggest sustainable services, such as restaurants, shops, sights, events and accommodation. The service providers who have met the required criteria are marked with a green tab and website visitors can examine more in-depth which criteria were fulfilled and which not. 

The base of the service is in tailor-made criteria for Helsinki that have been developed together with the independent think tank Demos Helsinki, along with local interest groups and sustainability experts.

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The service is based on criteria that were updated during the course of 2020 to take social and cultural sustainability more into account. The criteria for environmental sustainability have also been updated to better meet current requirements and to drive local businesses to operate even more responsibly.

The purpose is not to pinpoint who are the straight-A students, but rather to encourage different operators to find an impressive array of solutions that encourage customers and visitors to engage in more sustainable lifestyles. As an example, passing the criteria listed for attractions requires meeting 9 criteria out of 25, and in the accommodation category the requirement is 15 criteria out of 25.

Contemporary climate responsibility means that sustainable lifestyles should be easy choices to make in a city. The Think Sustainably service grants everyone the opportunity to be part of a larger change. It also encourages service providers to develop their sustainability even further.

You are the best guide for a more sustainable Helsinki

The Think Sustainably service is based on three principles: criteria, actions made by service providers, and the activity of service users. The service and the set criteria are regularly evaluated by users and experts as well as through feedback from the suppliers.

A service works when it is used. You are welcome to give feedback on criteria, the participants, as well as the overall functionality of the service. You can also suggest new participants for the service.  

You can find feedback buttons when studying the details of each supplier with a green tab and when getting to know the criteria, or go directly to the feedback form from here. Your feedback will not be published on the website.

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You are an important part of the solution – help us develop the Think Sustainably service.
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Criteria and developing the service

The service is based on criteria customised for the city of Helsinki. These have been co-created with the think tank Demos Helsinki and local interest groups and sustainability experts.

Service providers are responsible for evaluating their own services in terms of meeting the criteria in their respective service category. If a service provider meets the minimum requirements in their category, it can then be classified as a sustainable choice on the MyHelsinki portal. Customers and visitors can give feedback on the success of the provider through the same website.

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Think Sustainably is open to all service providers who fulfill the minimum requirements of the criteria.

The process of developing the service included researching the most significant factors of ecological sustainability related to different service categories. These dealt mostly with greenhouse emissions caused by energy production and the impacts of mobility and food. In addition, waste management, factors related to circular economy, protecting biodiversity, accessibility, employment and preventing discrimination were considered.

The purpose of the criteria is to filter out service providers working in a sustainable manner and to encourage operators to develop their function further. The criteria, already in its pilot phase, has encouraged several service providers to make changes such as switching energy and heating contracts to environmentally friendlier ones.

The aim of the criteria was also to be accessible to many different types of service providers because everyone should have the opportunity to be part of a bigger wave of change. True impact is brought about when a large and diverse group participates in it each through their own actions.

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Make steps towards a better life through your everyday choices – See the sustainability criteria
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Think Sustainably criteria
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The new service invites to share best practices and to accelerate the steps towards sustainable development. The service is based on criteria that filter services found in Helsinki from restaurants to clubs, attractions and events.