Today, many cities are working hard to reduce their carbon footprints. From the cities and towns belonging to the Climate Leadership Coalition network  Lahti aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2025, Turku by 2029, and Espoo, Porvoo and Tampere by 203 and Ii and Pori have committed to 80% emissions reductions by 2030 compared with 2007.

CLC and its members VTT Technical Research Centre and Lappeenranta University of Technology have initiated and developed a concept called ‘carbon handprint’. The idea behind the carbon handprint is that companies develop products and services that allow customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Business Finland supports the concept and has introduced it internationally.

Whilst working towards climate neutrality and minimising their carbon footprint, companies and citizens across different cities and regions can create a major carbon handprint. The bigger the handprint, the better. When a customer starts using a product, its own footprint decreases. Actions such as improving energy efficiency, reducing material use, making climate-friendly choices of raw materials, developing product recyclability, reducing waste material, lengthening product lifespans and improving product usability can have an impact on a product’s carbon handprint.

CLC has started a project to describe how cities and regions can contribute to the development of the carbon handprint. Cities can offer assets – for example buildings, infrastructure, land – for use as pilot facilities for new solutions. Cities and regions can accelerate demand for new products and services via public procurement and other services and help innovators analyse problems and develop solutions using open data. Problems and ideas could be matched via shared innovation platforms and their development accelerated through crowdsourcing. New concepts and solutions can then be shared effectively via city and regional networks.

The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region will act as a pilot and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council will support the project financially. The developed concept will also be made available to other cities and regions within Finland and the EU as well as internationally. The main goals of this project are to define and describe how cities and regions can develop their carbon handprint, identify how the concept can be used to promote sustainable growth in a region, conduct a concept pilot with selected cases in the Uusimaa region and promote the concept in Uusimaa, Finland, the Nordics and the EU as well as internationally.

The results of the project will be used as a showcase in the EU, especially for ongoing Green Deal Going Local measures by cities and regions. EU-level influence is targeted specifically at forerunner activities in cities and regions. One case will be the creation of a global reference area from the ‘Sustainable Innovation Park’ in the Otaniemi-Keilaniemi area, which will serve as a pilot for developing and scaling up innovations.

The project will begin in summer 2021 and the results will be ready for use in summer 2022. During the year, CLC will also cooperate with its Nordic partners to promote the carbon handprint concept for companies and other stakeholders.

“The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region is one of the leaders of innovation development in Finland, the EU and internationally. I am excited to learn how we can reduce our climate impact via systematic carbon-handprint development, while attracting more innovators, clean investments and jobs to our region,” says Ossi Savolainen, Regional Mayor of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, home to about 1.7 million inhabitants and consisting of 26 municipalities, including the Finnish capital of Helsinki .

“Cities and regions need to change the way they approach climate change. In addition to minimising our carbon footprint, we need to think about how to collaborate with businesses to develop and commercialise climate-friendly solutions. This way we can jointly accelerate the development of a large carbon handprint. Espoo will identify opportunities and start systematic planning related to our carbon handprint. This project is a good way to kick-start our work,” says Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo and board member of CLC.

Climate Leadership Coalition is the largest climate business network in Europe. CLC is a non-profit association and its 87 organisational members employ 520 000 people globally. CLC’s corporate members represent almost 70% of the market cap of OMX Nasdaq Helsinki. CLC’s members believe that transitioning society towards a sustainable economy and consumption habits is not only possible but also economically viable.

More information: Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition, +358 50 453 4881 and Senni Raunio, Coordinator and Specialist, CLimate Leadership Coalition, +358 50 3512390