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HELSINKI: August 13, 2019. Helsinki has launched ‘Think Sustainably’ – an online local sustainability programme in response to the growing climate crisis.

According to a survey carried out by the city last year, two thirds of residents identified the climate crisis as their major concern in relation to Helsinki’s future.

The new initiative provides residents, visitors and business owners with practical tools to rethink their daily behaviour and make more sustainable lifestyle and business decisions. The service also includes a route planner for emission-free transportation options and provides CO2 emissions data measured in grams per person per trip.

Helsinki Think SustainablyCities house more than half of the world’s population and are responsible for over 70 per cent of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. “The shift towards carbon neutrality requires both major structural changes and everyday actions. Individual choices matter,” explained Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, the director of the City of Helsinki’s Carbon Neutral Helsinki Initiative.

“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 percent, we would reach 38 percent of the goals set for Finland in the Paris climate agreement for reducing emissions,” she added.

In June 2019, Helsinki was recognised as the most innovative region in the EU by the European Commission, and is a European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019. The City is the first European city and the second globally (after New York) to report voluntarily to the UN on its implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Locals in Helsinki are very concerned about climate crisis, over two thirds of us think it’s the most worrying thing affecting our future,” said Tia Hallanoro, director of Brand Communications & Digital Development at Helsinki Marketing. “Many feel frustrated that there’s nothing they can do to stop it. There’s a great demand for the frustration to be channelled into something productive that allows us to rethink our lifestyle and consumer patterns. As a service, Think Sustainably gives you concrete tools for that. We certainly need everybody on board.”

In addition to offering emission-free public transport options throughout the centre of the city, Helsinki is home to Flow Festival, one of the world’s leading carbon neutral music festivals; the Nordic region’s first zero-waste restaurant Nolla, and non-profit foundation Compensate which was established to fight climate change by using compensation payments to donate towards international carbon sink projects.

Laura Aalto, CEO at Helsinki Marketing added: “Helsinki is the perfect test-bed for solutions that can later be scaled-up for the world’s megacities. Operating like a city-scale laboratory, Helsinki is eager to experiment with policies and initiatives that would not be possible elsewhere. We hope that others can also learn from our experiments.”

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