A collaboration between cities, the Finnish state and companies benefits global urbanisation
Picture: Samuli Laita / Sitra
Established by Sitra, the Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation is turning the Helsinki capital region and Lahti into a world-class test platform for clean and smart solutions that our urbanising world needs in order to reduce its dependence on fossil energy. The objective is for the Helsinki capital region and Lahti to offer the best solutions for the challenges facing the world’s cities and serve as a window on Finnish and international companies.
The partners in the new foundation are the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa and Lahti, several companies, the Finnish state and the Helsinki–Uusimaa Regional Council. The foundation has an operating period of five years.
During this time, it will compile and produce projects that will create business opportunities in the region based on clean and smart solutions. Among other things, the solutions concern transport, food, housing and energy. The outcome of this work will be products and services that can be adapted for the everyday activities of residents and companies in the area.
“The foundation is developing new forms of collaboration that will bring new innovations, growth and jobs to the region,” says Mikko Kosonen, President of Sitra. “The projects will produce solutions that companies can offer in order to deal with the problems of an urbanising world. These are the kind of collaboration models that have to be at the forefront of Finnish innovation activities so we can respond to changing global challenges.”
Rather than simply distributing traditional funding, this foundation links those in both the private and public sectors – cities, companies, residents and the scientific world. The Smart & Clean foundation will work with these actors to produce project entities that result in new solutions, products and services for transport and living. Export concepts will be developed at the same time.
“Together we can turn the capital region into a place where business life contributes to controlling climate change,” says Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Fortum and Chairman of the foundation board. “It provides companies with a test bed for the products and services they have developed. We’re working in co-operation with the cities to build international success stories.”
The foundation’s activities are funded through donations. According to the target budget, the five-year funding requirement is some 7.5 million euros. One third of this comes from cities in the region, another third from Sitra and the final third from businesses. Channelled through the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Finnish state’s share will be allocated to the Smart & Clean projects in the cities as part of a Stability and Growth Pact.
Tiina Kähö has been appointed managing director of the foundation and will begin her work on 1 June 2016. She joins the foundation from her previous position as Senior Lead in Carbon-neutral industry at Sitra.
A unique joint effort in the capital region
According to Jussi Pajunen, the Mayor of Helsinki and Chairman of the foundation’s supervisory board, there is more construction going on in this region than ever before. “It gives us a great opportunity to utilise smart solutions that can simultaneously serve as references and global business cards for companies in the region. We want to increase the number of private jobs and investments in the sector, exploit digitisation, support the commercialisation of smart and low-carbon solutions, implement the cities’ climate objectives, and promote innovative public procurements and a sustainable lifestyle.”
The foundation’s activities strengthen the capital region’s position as a region that responds to future needs. Joint development of internationally significant solutions combining intelligence and environmental expertise is based on more open use of the cities’ data reserves and infrastructures. Over a five-year period, some 20 to 30 project entities will be produced and tested in practice. The first targets include public transport that produces no carbon dioxide emissions and cities with zero waste.
Chairman of the Board, Helsinki Capital Region Smart & Clean Foundation
(Phone contacts: Pauliina Vuosio, Corporate Press Officer, +358 050 453 2383)
tel. +358 50 382 0755
Specialist, Communications, Sitra
tel. +358 40 536 8650
What opportunities does the foundation create in the region? What kind of milestone is this in terms of city co-operation in the region? How can companies benefit from the test platform offered by the cities?
According to international research, Espoo is the most sustainable city in Europe at this time. That’s a good start.”
– Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor, Espoo
For Vantaa, the most important entity is the Smart & Clean collaboration associated with development of the Aviapolis and airport area. Aviapolis is an outstanding experimental and reference area for smart and clean trials.”
– Kari Nenonen, Mayor, Vantaa
Lahti’s biggest contribution to the foundation is the environmental expertise of companies and the city. As an environmental expert, Lahti is a natural partner for the capital region with regard to urban development. In particular, we activate SMEs.”
– Jyrki Myllyvirta, Mayor, Lahti
The foundation is not just a capital region project, and it will have widespread benefits. For example, the Kilpilahti industrial area in Porvoo and many companies around Uusimaa are already closely involved in the activities.”
– Ossi Savolainen, Regional Mayor, Helsinki–Uusimaa Regional Council
The foundation brings together different actors and allows them to meet in a new way. Working together with new approaches make it possible to achieve major change.”
– Pekka Manninen, Managing Director, Helen Ltd.
The foundation provides an excellent framework for testing our innovations. We can create solutions for the future needs of cities, such as reasonably priced and smart housing, safe and efficient transport, and support for well-being.”
– Hanna Uusitalo, Environmental Director, Kone
Our company’s solutions reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by transport by more than six million tonnes globally. Smart & Clean collaboration allows us to also support cities in our domestic market in their climate projects.”
– Matti Lievonen, President and CEO, Neste
The co-operation in this pilot region allows us to set an example of how the world described in the Paris climate agreement can be built.”
– Juha-Matti Saksa, Rector, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT
The foundation gives us new ways to pilot and commercialise cleaner and more energy-efficient solutions.”
– Antti Vasara, President & CEO, VTT