Event report online seminar Sustainable foot- and handprints at Finnish Universities

The online seminar Sustainable foot- and handprints at Finnish Universities, was held on 17 November. During the seminar the presentations and discussions focused on what efforts universities in Finland take to reduce their carbon footprint.

The program consisted of three presentations and three shorter comments regarding the actual universities’ actions and thoughts about sustainable food- and handprints. All viewpoints came from BUP participating universities in Finland, but the seminar was open for everybody interested.

The online seminar had 23 participants and it is available on the Youtube channel of the Åbo University Centre for Lifelong Learning. Take part of the online seminar on Youtube.

The program

University of Turku: Towards 2025 – Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Campus Life
Jutta Mäkinen, Sustainable Development Specialist, University of Turku

Biodiversity Footprint Assessment in Organizations: Case JYU
Sami El Geneidy, Doctoral Researcher in Corporate Environmental Management, University of Jyväskylä

JYU’s path towards planetary well-being
Ulla Helimo, Sustainability specialist at division of policy and planning, University of Jyväskylä

Shorter presentations by:
Sirpa Sandelin, SAMK – Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
Tomas Träskman, Arcada University of Applied Sciences
Otto Långvik, Novia University of Applied Sciences

Development opportunities

The seminar was informative and interesting and generated good discussions and further thoughts. Therefore, there is a possibility to follow up the theme with a new seminar either in spring or autumn of 2023. In the second seminar it would be interesting to also invite speakers from BUP participating universities outside Finland.

Aleksandra Kekkonen - participant from Estonian Business School

Photo of Aleksandra Kekkonen

Before attending the event I wanted to know about other universities' experiences and examples of how they use and present sustainability-related data. Our university joined the BUP recently, and we plan to follow the best examples in building and implementing sustainability strategies for universities.

For me, the most insightful part was when Sami Ei Geneidy from University of Jyväskylä presented on Carbon and Biodiversity footprint. One of our goals is to start similar calculations and to recruit PhD students on this topic. Moreover, the perspective of the biodiversity footprint calculations from the university perspective was novel for me, and I was happy to learn more about the idea.

I really liked the idea of presenting your university's handprint, not only your personal footprint. When you show your positive impact, too, that gives you an optimistic vision of what you are actually doing at the university and how you can compensate for your footprint. This seminar inspired me to start EBS Green and Sustainability Strategy development.

Denys Smolennikov - participant from Sumy State University

I was interested to learn about the practical cases of Finnish universities in minimizing the negative impact of their activities on the environment. To receive simple advice on changing academic community members' behaviour was interesting. And, of course, it would be great to use the tips for implementation in other universities, particularly in Ukraine.

All presentations were excellent and helpful. And it isn't very easy to determine the most interesting of them. At the same time, I want to highlight the idea of integrating financial and environmental accounting based on determining the financial footprint, carbon footprint and biodiversity footprint, which Sami El Geneidy from the University of Jyväskylä presented.

The most important thing I plan to use in the future is ideas on how to make my university greener and more sustainable. For this, the experience of Finnish universities on the way to carbon neutrality, their strategies, action plans and vision of sustainable campus life will be helpful.

Photo of Denys Smolennikov
Last modified: 2023-03-22