International Zero Emissions Day will again be celebrated on 21 September. Zero Emissions Day originated in Canada and Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC) began organising the event in Finland in 2017. The purpose of the day is to give the Earth a break from using fossil fuels and to raise people’s awareness about the harm caused by emissions.
On Zero Emissions Day, CLC seeks to draw attention in particuar to the actions each and every citizen can take in their daily lives to curb climate change. The choices made by citizens play a crucial role since household consumption accounts for arround 66% of Finland’s consumption-based emissions.
This year, CLC is highlighting what schools and businesses can do to inspire citizens to take positive climate actions since workplaces and educational institutions reach 70% of Finland’s population.
On Zero Emissions Day, CLC will publish a brochure “Climate friendly HR policy”, which tells how CLC member organisations have motivated their own employees to make climate-aware choices. The climate perspective is increasingly being emphasised in staff travel instructions and company car policies, in addition to which the availability of vegetarian dishes in workplace lunch restaurants continues to grow.
For example, AFRY, Ilmarinen and Vaisala are encouraging their employees to commute to work by cycle or some other muscle power, which not only reduces emissions but also promotes employee wellbeing. Many businesses support the use of public transport and favour low-emission company cars. The University of Turku has a Living Lab research platform, Flavoria, which focuses on sustainable food choices and presents concrete examples of climate-friendly food choices for staff, students and stakeholders. On Zero Emissions Day, Alexander Incentives will launch a survey on the incorporation of climate-related targets in management and employee incentive plans.
The Children and Youth Foundation is now responsible for the first time for educational establishment cooperation on Zero Emissions Day. The Foundation has produced educational material for schools to make it easy to join in Zero Emissions Day from anywhere in Finland. The learning material also includes videos of young climate activists. In the videos, young people tell how environmental activism has contributed to their lives and encourage people to consider what everyone can do to benefit the environment in their own everyday lives.
Working in collaboration with CLC, Otaniemi Upper Secondary School, Alma Media and Neste, the Children and Youth Foundation has built an entity available for educational institutions. A Zero Emissions Day event for schools will also be held this year at Otaniemi Upper Secondary School and be streamed to educational institutions across Finland.
CLC member organisations are arranging various campaigns and communicating their own climate actions on Zero Emissions Day. For example, ATEA will highlight the importance of climate-friendly IT solutions in reducing emissions and Telia is encouraging consumers to return their old mobile phones devices for recycling. Caruna and Ensto are highlighting the importance of e-vehicles in curbing emissions. Starting at 2pm on 21 September, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland will hold an open discussion on the batteries of e-vehicles and the sufficiency of battery materials.
Both Kesko and S-Group are encouraging citizens to monitor the carbon footprint of their shopping baskets. The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE is challenging residents in the Hinku (carbon neutral) network of municipalities to calculate their own carbon footprint and the City of Tampere is challenging its residents to take the “Climate Hero Test”.
The City of Espoo, Helen, SEB and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra are challenging their staff and other stakeholders to various actions such as environmentally friendly mobility, reducing food waste, trying vegetarian food and recycling. In addition to this, on Zero Emissions Day a number of organizations, such as University of Helsinki, Kojamo, OP and Varma are communicating their ambitious climate goals and work to mitigate climate change.
Zero Emissions Day is just one day a year, yet carbon reductions must be made every day of the year if we are to arrest harmful climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reduce travel and has taught us new ways of working, such as working from home. This crisis has shown that, if needed, we are capable of making major life changes to a fast schedule. On Zero Emissions Day, would like to remind people that climate change has not vanished anywhere and to encourage people to continue using the practices now learnt during the coronavirus.
More information about CLC member organisations’ Zero Emissions Day campaigns can be found on the CLC website at https://clc.fi/zero-emissions-day/campaigns/. Follow Zero Emissions Day events also on socia media: #Nollapäästöpäivä ja #ZeroEmissionsDay
Climate Leadership Coalition is the largest non-profit climate business network in Europe. CLC has 73 organizational members: 46 companies, 8 universities, 6 cities, 6 trade organizations, 5 research institutions, 1 foundation and 1 trade union confederation. CLC has also accepted 30 personal members. CLC’s members employ globally 400 000 people and represent almost 70 % of the market cap of the OMX Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange. CLC was founded in 2014 by Finnish companies Fortum, Kone, Neste, St1, Outotec, Caverion and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.
For more information: Sari Siitonen, Zero Emissions Day coordinator, tel. +358 40 761 5221 and Kari Mokko, Development Director, Climate Leadership Coalition tel. +358 40 751 3281