Niiralan Kulma emphasises green and societal values in ten new projects

Niiralan Kulma, the largest rental company in Kuopio, invests significantly in sustainable and environmentally friendly living.

Niiralan Kulma’s recent investments adapt to the changing needs of Kuopio. New residents move to the city for work, and they need comfortable homes. Simultaneously Kuopio is preparing for population ageing by building service housing.

“Ten years ago, we talked about affordable, quality housing. Now our strategy has expanded to include responsibility, which must cover environmental and social values,” says Kari Keränen, CEO of Niiralan Kulma.

Seven new apartment buildings are currently financed with MuniFin’s green finance, and three service housing projects have been completed with MuniFin’s social finance.

“When we evaluated long-term interest rates, MuniFin offered the most affordable solution. The margin and the interest rate were lowered because these new projects are green and social.”

Cozy and environmentally friendly homes

Niiralan Kulma is building homes in seven different locations across the city of Kuopio.

“We are planning and building cozy homes that effectively utilise energy-saving technology and renewable energy. Building technology takes into account the by-products of energy. We use geothermal heat, recover heat from wastewater, capture excess energy from mechanical ventilation, and utilise solar energy. It was very important to design the houses to be maintenance-free and long-lasting,” Keränen says.

Many methods are in use to improve environmental friendliness. The new apartments do not have unusable space that requires heating, and there are multiple waste bins in the apartments for recycling.

“In addition to the living spaces, we have invested in bicycle parking and charging points for electric cars. The smallest details are important, for example, with electronic notice boards, no papers have to be printed to inform the residents.”

Service housing for seniors and young adults

Männistön Aimu, which offers rehabilitative service housing for young adults, was completed in early 2020. Next completed in 2022, Liito-orava care home, provides service housing apartments and rental apartments for seniors. Most recently, Levänen service center was opened for residents in October 2023.

“Both the service center and the care home offer 60 places for residents, which are rented by the wellbeing services county of North Savo. They also organise the care needed by seniors.”

Residents were involved in the planning of the service centers, and they as well as the care staff have been satisfied with the end results. Männistön Aimu’s small apartment building is inviting from the outside: unpainted wooden surfaces of the house are environmentally friendly and stand out from the street view.

The costs of these projects were the following: Männistön Aimu is EUR 2.1 million, Liito-orava is EUR 10.2 million and the Levänen service center is EUR 8.7 million.

“We want to thank the staff of MuniFin. We received a lot of help and clear instructions when we needed them. The financing arrangement has been smooth.”

Affordable social housing

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors.

Text: Sara Pitzén
Photo: Niiralan Kulma

Finnish affordable social housing organisations forerunners in sustainable construction – majority of loans are green or social finance

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In 2023, a vast majority of MuniFin’s housing loans were granted to either green or social finance projects.

An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors. Our customers, including affordable social housing organizations and municipal rental housing projects, play a significant role in this trend. Last year, the share of green and social finance in our housing loans reached a record high of 63 percent.

“An increasing number of our customers have made it their mission to carry out their projects more sustainably, taking into account environmental, climate or social benefits. Affordable social housing production is at the absolute forefront of sustainable construction in Finland”, says Päivi Petäjäniemi, Customer Relations Manager at MuniFin.

MuniFin was the first in Finland to start offering green finance for climate and environmentally friendly projects in 2016. In 2020, we also became the first to launch social finance, which emphasizes the social benefits of the projects: equality, communality, safety, welfare, or regional vitality.

“Our customers were among the first to learn about green and social finance, and we have persistently kept the topic on the agenda ever since. Nowadays, they have comprehensive knowledge of their alternatives, and they proactively seek green and social finance to give visibility to their projects. All their projects are significant for the Finnish welfare society, but the ones that fall under the green and social finance framework, are truly best in class”, Petäjäniemi explains.

Buildings and construction account for about a third of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions*. The figures show that Finnish municipalities and non-profit housing operators are strongly involved in climate efforts.

The energy efficiency of affordable social housing buildings is generally higher than buildings in the private sector*. One factor is the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSDR), which is already directing the larger operators towards more sustainable choices. Also, the residents of newly constructed homes are increasingly demanding more energy-efficient housing solutions.

“More and more buildings are built in energy class A, which is the minimum demand in our green finance framework. Our customers are bold and want to try new things, so I expect to see a rising number of projects that also consider the impacts of the entire life cycle and construction chain. The challenge for now is that costs may seem higher in the construction phase. Saved energy costs for example, show in the long run, and our customers have strict demands for affordability from The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (Ara), which oversees the projects.”

The prerequisites for the approval of social finance projects consider the social benefits of the projects.

“Our customers are increasingly planning housing as a whole, and this is clearly visible in projects for special groups. For example, they want to provide every student with their own apartment, but there is increasing investment in shared spaces, which promotes community and prevents loneliness. Residents are also offered various services, such as car-sharing or resident counselling”, Petäjäniemi says.

Finnish affordable social housing supports social mixing and brings down homelessness

In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. The production is financed through interest subsidy loans. The loans are guaranteed by the Finnish state through The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (Ara), which is administered by the Ministry of the Environment. Alternatively, housing projects can also be loans to municipality owned companies. These loans do not have a state interest subsidy, but they come with a 100% municipal guarantee.

MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. The loan periods are long, up to 41 years.

The Finnish government updated its housing policy development programme in 2021. Some of the main objectives of this programme include increasing housing construction in growing urban areas and eradicating homelessness within two government terms. Affordable social housing has played a remarkable role in tackling homelessness in Finland, especially family homelessness. Affordable social housing is also instrumental in preventing segregation and facilitating labour mobility.

Read more:

Finnish system for affordable social housing supports social mixing and brings down homelessness

Our sustainability agenda sets the direction until 2035

As outlined in our strategy, key aspects of sustainability at MuniFin include acting as our customers’ partner in building a sustainable society while efficiently managing climate-related and environmental risks.

Our long-term impact stems from the products and services we offer our customers. In our sustainability agenda published in 2023, we set the direction and goals for our sustainability efforts until 2035.

In this agenda, we commit to increasing the proportion of sustainable finance in our lending portfolio into one third by 2030. In 2023, the share was 21,3 percent. We also set emission reduction targets for financed buildings. Our target level is 8 kgCO₂/m² by 2035, representing reduction compared to the 2022 level.

MuniFin's Sustainability Agenda

*The Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT (CFCI):

*Finnish Affordable Housing Companies’ Federation:

More information

Karoliina Kajova

Senior Manager, Funding

 +358 50 5767 707 

MuniFin debuted successfully in the NOK social bond market

MuniFin’s inaugural NOK social bond was issued on 13 February. Despite ample supply from SSA issuers in the NOK market, the demand for the NOK 2 billion issue was strong, with a high quality investor base.

The issue marked both MuniFin’s first ESG labelled bond and the first NOK trade this year. The books built very quickly and were closed at a spread of +25 bps over 3-month Nibor.

“Over the past years, MuniFin has established themselves as a frequent issuer in the Nordic market, popular amongst a wide array of investors. The new issue marks the first social bond issued by MuniFin in Norway and the label was a significant contributor to the great investor demand”, says Hedda Giæver, Head of IG International, DBN Bank ASA.

The strong investor base showcased significant interest from bank treasuries, as well as domestic and foreign real money, including pension insurance and asset managers.

80% of the issue was allocated to Norwegian investors.

“We are extremely happy to have been able to return to the Norwegian Krona market. What’s even more pleasing is to be able to do it with a social bond. It is in the very core of our Sustainability Agenda to provide financing to social projects and increase their share in our lending portfolio. We are ever grateful for the support from our investors”, says Aaro Koski, MuniFin’s Funding Analyst.

Transaction details

Issuer:Municipality Finance (KUNTA, MuniFin)
Issue Rating:Aa1/AA+
Status:Senior unsecured
Reoffer Price:99.631% / 4.083%
Reoffer Spread:3mN+25bps
Issue Size:NOK 2bn
Settlement:20 February 2024
Maturity:20 February 2029
Coupon:4% Fixed, Annual, Act/Act Icma Unadjusted Following
Listing:Nasdaq Helsinki
Lead Manager:DNB Markets

Further information

Joakim Holmström, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Sustainability, +358 50 4443 638  
Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Sustainability, +358 50 3700 285 
Karoliina Kajova, Senior Manager, Funding, +358 50 5767 707 
Lari Toppinen, Senior Analyst, Funding, +358 50 4079 300 
Aaro Koski, Analyst, Funding, +358 45 138 746

New homes for people in mental health recovery: Diverse support measures help residents achieve an independent life

Mielen Association, a non-profit expert organisation that provides mental health and substance abuse services in Pirkanmaa, has commissioned a new supported accommodation unit in Nekala, Tampere. The apartment building will have 34 new homes for people recovering from mental health issues. The unit’s biggest asset is its location: the plot already houses a maisonette with 16 supported housing apartments as well as the Lideshovi activity centre.

“The new building is located by Lake Lidesjärvi, so some residents will have a view over the lake. The location is also excellent because the unit is only three kilometres from the Tampere city centre”, says Maarit Hirvonen, executive director at Mielen Association.

The new apartments are financed with MuniFin’s social finance and offer supported accommodation for people with mental health issues. The residents are offered daily support, including time with the staff members, conversational therapy and concrete help with everyday living.

“Our clients have very different needs. Some may need help with a single matter, while others require more comprehensive support. For example, our staff may offer conversational therapy to one client, but do housework with another. In addition to support with life management and medication, we can also provide social guidance or help dealing with the paperwork required for social security, for example”, Hirvonen explains.

According to Maarit Hirvonen, executive director at Mielen Association, supported accommodation is a temporary solution that yields good results.

Towards independent living

The new building will only house people recovering from mental health issues. Many residents come to supported accommodation from institutional care, but some transfer from their home and some come through social services.

“Living in supported accommodation is a temporary solution. Most of our residents live with us for a couple of years, moving on to independent living when the time is right. For municipalities, this is an affordable service because supported accommodation produces good results”, Hirvonen says.

Participation and recovery are at the heart of all Mielen Association operations. Residents get to have their say on various things, from the kind of support they need to the forms of groups and activities offered.

“Recovery is the core of our work. We believe that everyone can recover from mental illness. Difficult experiences can help people discover a way of life that is meaningful and good for them. With us, it is the clients who say what they want and how they want it. Our staff members do not tell clients what to do, but instead find a mutual way forward through discussion.”

The successful rehabilitation of the residents has long-term effects. The guidance and support that residents receive may decrease the negative effects of their mental health problems, improve their life management skills and socioeconomic situation, and empower them to live independently.

An apartment of one’s own and opportunities for participation

Mental health issues and substance abuse have increased considerably in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to only aggravate these problems. Tampere and the entire Pirkanmaa region are in dire need of more supported accommodation. In addition to new homes, the new unit will create new jobs and improve the use of existing facilities.

“The need is definitely there! When one resident is moving out, a new one is always moving in. We receive regular inquiries about vacant apartments. Thanks to the new building, we can take on new staff and boost the efficiency of our existing services. It will double our staff and allow us to increase staff time with residents and offer more group activities at the activity centre”, Hirvonen says.

In Nekala, construction work has progressed under lucky stars. The work has gone as planned and right on schedule – even the pandemic has not thrown a spanner in the works.

“Construction work began in late August, and the building has now reached its rooftop height. After the elements have dried off, next up will be the interior. So things are looking good, and the building should be completed in October or November this year”, says Hirvonen contentedly.

The activity centre located next to the new apartments will offer residents various activities. For this reason, most of the new building is dedicated to apartments, and common facilities are limited.

“In addition to apartments, the building will have one communal room and a laundry. Residents can go next door to the activity centre to see other people, grab coffee, read the papers, have lunch or take part in group activities. Saunas are also available next door”, Hirvonen lists.

As the construction work proceeds, the apartments are also beginning to take shape. Hirvonen is very pleased about the new homes. The new building includes many modern solutions and choices that improve the quality of living.

“All the homes will be a nice size, over 30 square metres each. The apartments will have an open-plan kitchen and living room with a dishwasher as well as an alcove or a small bedroom. Large windows make the homes nice and bright. On the apartments overlooking the lake, the view is naturally a nice bonus. The building will be entirely accessible, ensuring easy access with a wheelchair or walker. Modern electric locks also make life easier”, Hirvonen elaborates.

Social finance

MuniFin’s social finance is granted to investments that produce widespread social benefits. Social finance projects impact their surroundings and communities in a positive way: they promote equality, communality, welfare or regional vitality.

Social bonds

Written by Joonas Holste

Virtual photo and work site photo by Mielen Association

Maarit Hirvonen’s photo by Anna-Stiina Saarinen

MuniFin’s Social bond tap oversubscribed by ESG investors

The mandate for the EUR 500 million Social bond tap was announced 12:00 CET on Monday 4 October 2021 and the books opened the following morning with a spread guidance of mid-swaps +1 area. Exceptionally strong investor demand allowed MuniFin to tighten the spread guidance quickly to MS-1 bps area. Despite the tightening of 2 bps the orderbook grew to EUR 1.8 billion. The final spead was set to MS-2. The original bond offers a 0,050% coupon. The transaction was jointly led by DZ BANK, NatWest Markets N.V., SEB and Société Générale.

The bonds were distributed to a high degree of quality investors across Europe, with 75% placed with dedicated ESG accounts. A total of 43 investors, all European, finally participated in the transaction. Asset managers took the bulk with 43% allocation, followed by a 31% allocation to central banks and 24% to bank treasuries.

The record-high demand among ESG investors fortifies MuniFin’s excellent reputation as a sustainable bond issuer.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome. The exceptionally high interest among ESG investors and a meaningful greenium, or should we say socium, of around 2 basis points shows that sustainability really pays off”, says Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Sustainability at MuniFin.

MuniFin’s social finance promotes investments that produce widespread social benefits and serve the needs of their users in an exemplary way. MuniFin’s social finance projects promote equality, communality, safety, welfare, or regional vitality.

A cover picture for social bonds with the text " Investments that make a difference".

Learn more about our social finance >

IssuerMunicipality Finance Plc (“MuniFin”)
RatingAa1 / AA+ (Moody’s/S&P – both stable)
Issue SizeEUR 500mn (no-grow)
New Outstanding AmountEUR 1.1bn
Payment Date12 October 2021
Maturity Date10 September 2035
Re-offer Price96.119%
Re-offer Yield0.336%
Re-offer vs Mid-Swaps-2 bps
Re-offer vs BenchmarkDBR 05/2035 +35.9 bps
Lead ManagersDZ BANK, NatWest Markets N.V., SEB, Société Générale

Comments from the bookrunners

“DZ BANK as an institution that firmly roots in the cooperative and sustainable financial sector is proud to have been chosen to support MuniFin in this highly successful bond issue as a bookrunner.

While we expected strong participation from Germany already ahead of the transaction, it is even greater so see how well known MuniFin is by the German investor base and how much it likes the MuniFin credit. MuniFin also met the sweet spot of demand with their 15 year tenor.

The social format of the bond and Munifin´s social commitment in the eligible categories social housing, welfare and education was another driver for the strong outcome and tight pricing of the transaction.”

Kai Poerschke, Head of SSA Origination at DZ BANK

“A great outcome for the Munifin team who remain at the forefront of ESG in the primary markets. By offering investors an opportunity to be involved in a more liquid issuance they have once again been rewarded with strong demand from a loyal investor base. Books over 3 times subscribed with a sizeable ‘greenium’ clearly show this. 75% take up from ESG accounts is another impressive statistic and represents the largest ESG allocation MuniFin have seen.”

Kerr Finlayson, Head of FBG Syndicate at NatWest Markets

“We congratulate MuniFin on the fantastic outcome of their second venture into the Social market. The transaction was met with the solid investor support that the MuniFin name always delivers, with a multiple times oversubscribed book, and pricing 1 bp inside fair value. The successful outcome today highlights investors’ commitment to MuniFin and the important work they do to improve social well-being in Finland.”

Rebekah Logan Bray, Senior Originator, SSA Origination at SEB

“MuniFin’s best in class social bond framework and investor reporting have once again been endorsed with this remarkable success. By adding liquidity to its 2035 issue, MuniFin has achieved a pricing through secondary with a transaction over 3 times oversubscribed.”

Olivier Vion, Head of SSA Primary Markets at Société Générale

Further information

Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Sustainability, MuniFin
Tel. +358 500 3700285

Joakim Holmström, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Sustainability, MuniFin
Tel. +358 50 4443 638

MuniFin celebrates the issuing of Finland’s first social bond – rings opening bell at Nasdaq Helsinki

In addition to being the first social bond issued by a Finnish entity, MuniFin’s debut social bond also claims the title of the first Nordic social bond in the SSA category. The 15-year EUR 500 million product was met with overwhelming investor demand, and the bond, issued on September 3rd, was overbooked by nearly four times. 

With its introduction of the social finance product, MuniFin aims to encourage investments that have a notably strong impact and bring about wide-ranging social benefits. The first projects to receive financing within the MuniFin Social Bonds Framework were announced in June. These projects involve schools, hospitals and healthcare centers as well as housing for people with special needs. 

Social bonds expand MuniFin’s range of sustainable finance products. The company has been an active green bond issuer for four years and it is now expanding the offering into social bonds. 

Click here to watch a recording of the opening ceremony at Nasdaq Helsinki (Presentations in Finnish)

 Read more:  
 MuniFin leads the way by issuing the first Nordic SSA Social Bond 

Nasdaq Helsinki welcomes Municipality Finance as its First Social Bond Issuer 

Nasdaq Helsinki welcomes Municipality Finance as its First Social Bond Issuer

On 10 September 2020, Nasdaq announced that Municipality Finance Plc has listed its inaugural social bond on the Nasdaq Sustainable Debt Market at Nasdaq Helsinki. The bond notional is EUR 500 million with a maturity of 15 years, explicitly guaranteed by the Municipal Guarantee Board. MuniFin’s issuance is the first social bond listed on Nasdaq Helsinki and the first social bond issued by an SSA (Sovereigns, Supranationals, Agencies) issuer in the Nordic countries.

MuniFin has been an active green bond issuer for four years and is now expanding the offering into social bonds. The proceeds of the social bond issue will finance projects that fall into one of the three categories of social housing, welfare and education and they promote equality, sense of community, wellbeing and vitality of regions and/or municipalities. The first financed projects include schools, hospitals and health care centres and housing for people with special needs.

– We are extremely proud to be in the forefront of Nordic and European sustainable finance. Even if all of our financing is aimed at building and developing the Nordic welfare state, social finance is a flagship product that highlights the wide-ranging effects that municipal and non-profit housing investments have both on individuals and the society as a whole, said Esa Kallio, President and CEO at MuniFin.

– The investor response for our inaugural social bond was overwhelmingly positive. This is a strong testimony that the financial markets want to actively transform societies and make them more sustainable.

– With the help of issuers such as MuniFin, we have in recent years seen Nasdaq develop into an important hub for sustainable investments in Europe with more than 230 bonds listed on Nasdaq´s Sustainable Debt Market. Following many international firsts, such the first green corporate bond by Vasakronan and first city bond issued by Gothenburg, Sweden, we are especially happy to see continued leadership coming from the Nordic region, said Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, Head of European Debt Listings and Sustainable Bonds at Nasdaq.

– We are excited to welcome MuniFin, a Finnish pioneer in sustainable finance, as our first social bond issuer in Finland, said Henrik Husman, President of Nasdaq Helsinki.

– MuniFin was also our first green bond issuer in 2018, and we have now five sustainable bonds listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. We look forward to seeing additional issuers following this trend.

Source: Nasdaq Helsinki

MuniFin leads the way by issuing the first Nordic SSA Social Bond

Last week MuniFin mandated BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, DZ Bank and SEB to organise investor calls for the upcoming inaugural Social Bond. After series of investor calls and positive feedback from investor community, MuniFin opened books for the inaugural Social bond on Thursday 3rd of September. The 15-year EUR 500 million social bond pays an annual coupon of 0.05% with a yield of 0.068%.

– The work the MuniFin team have done has built on their strong reputation in the ESG space and has been rewarded with a huge following from sustainable investors and excellent execution. This framework and transaction sets the benchmark for other Nordic institutions to follow, comments Robert Matthews from BNP Paribas.

More than 91% of the bond was distributed to European investors. Almost one third of the bond was allocated to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and nearly one fifth to Nordic coutries. Asset managers took the largest share by representing almost half of the investors, with significant demand from SRI investors.

– The terrific invest interest did not come as a surprise for us as we see more and more investors wanting to invest in projects that support sustainable development. In 2016, we were the first green bond issuer in Finland. After being an active green bond issuer for a few years, it was time to expand the sustainable product offering to our clients and introduce social bonds to our investors. Considering our customer base of municipal and social housing sectors, expanding the sustainable product offering was a natural step for us, says Esa Kallio, the President and CEO of MuniFin.

MuniFin is a wholly public sector owned company whose sole mandate is to secure financing to the Finnish municipalities and non-profit housing organisations. It has been an active green bond issuer for four years and it is now expanding the offering into social bonds.

MuniFin’s inaugural social bond is the first of its kind issued by an SSA (Sovereigns, Suprana-tionals, Agencies) issuer in the Nordic countries.

Making the impact visible

MuniFin’s Social Bonds Framework has been drafted in accordance with the ICMA Social Bond Principles and it has three main categories: social housing, welfare and education. The Second Opinion has been provided by ISS ESG, stating that the Framework significantly contributes to four of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

With its new social finance product launched in the spring 2020, MuniFin aims to encourage investments that have a notably strong impact and bring about wide-ranging social benefits.

With the introduction of the social finance product, MuniFin wishes to showcase projects that are in line with the company’s view of social finance. The first financed projects include schools, hospitals and healthcare centres, and housing for people with special needs.

– Although the finance we provide can be considered already quite social in nature, we wanted to find projects that ultimately benefit the vulnerable population and address some key social challenges such as social exclusion and inequality, but also further promote Finland’s welfare state and education system, which are among the best in the world, says Antti Kontio, the Head of Funding at MuniFin.

The social finance projects are approved by the Social Evaluation Team. The team consists of external and internal social impact experts.

Issuer:Municipality Finance Plc (MuniFin)
Rating:Aa1 / AA+ (Moody’s/S&P – both stable)
Issue size:EUR 500mn (no-grow)
Payment date:10th September 2020 (T+5)
Maturity date:10th September 2035
Re-offer price:99.731%
Re-offer yield:0.068%
Re-offer vs. mid swaps:+9bps
Re-offer vs. benchmark:DBR 0% 05/15/35 + 33.6bps
Lead managers:BNP Paribas / Credit Agricole CIB / DZ BANK / SEB

Further information:

Esa Kallio
President and CEO
Tel. +358 50 337 7953

Antti Kontio
Head of Funding
Tel. +358 50 3700 285

MuniFin’s first social finance projects have been selected: they include housing for special groups, a wellbeing centre and a comprehensive school

Social finance is available to MuniFin’s customers, i.e. the local government organisations and operators within non-profit housing production. The projects to be financed must belong to one of the eligible project categories within MuniFin’s framework of social finance: housing, wellbeing or education. Another requirement is that the projects promote equality, a sense of community, wellbeing or the vitality of the municipalities or areas.

– MuniFin’s customers are responsible for a significant portion of the investments made in building the Finnish society and its infrastructure. We need to examine the need for investments, as well as the benefits and economic effects of investments broadly and in the long term, not only from the point of view of their economic, but also social and environmental impacts, says MuniFin’s Head of Customer Finance Aku Dunderfelt.

– Social investments have a much more extensive impact than most people realise. A library or public swimming pool, for example, influence people’s overall wellbeing and the community in multiple ways, Dunderfelt explains.

The first social financing projects were approved at the end of May. The projects are assessed and approved by a three-member evaluation team that comprises Jouni Parkkonen, Executive Directorof Association for Advocating Affordable Rental Housing – KOVA, researcher of municipalities Jenni Airaksinen from Tampere University and Financial Specialist in charge of social funding, Päivi Petäjäniemi, from MuniFin.

– The first approved projects for social finance are excellent examples of the spectrum of investments with a strong impact. Well-designed schools and student housing, for example, can have a wide-ranging impact on children and young people’s sense of security and community. Good design increases wellbeing but also prevents social exclusion, Päivi Petäjäniemi says.

Approved social finance projects

  • Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas), several buildings
    Investing in the long life cycle of buildings constitutes sustainable urban construction that takes environmental impacts into account. Communal, high-quality housing for students plays an important role in supporting young people at a significant turning point in their lives and helps to create the preconditions for building an active, healthy everyday life and for preventing social exclusion.
  • Karstula comprehensive school, Karstula
    Well-functioning, healthy and safe facilities for early childhood education and teaching are a foundation for the well-being of children, teenagers and teaching staff alike. Solutions that support safety and a sense of community can have a significant effect on children and teenagers’ self-esteem and later life. Using the school as a venue for village events will bring vitality to the village andstrengthen community spirit and add to the municipality’s attractiveness.
  • Housing by Setlementtiasunnot, Jousenpuistonkatu, Espoo
    Setlementtiasunnot is a producer of housing whose housing concept is truly praiseworthy, as it diversifies the concept of ‘normal’, integrates members of special groups into the rest of society and supports the strengthening of all the residents’ sense of community.
    Communal housing solutions allow special groups to become involved with the wider community, which reduces loneliness, increases participation, prevents social exclusion and decreases the need for institutional housing and care. Some of the residents of these buildings are immigrants, and the project may profoundly promote their integration.
  • Sodankylä municipality, Sopukka Wellbeing Centre
    The evaluation team found the justification for the project very well founded. The circumstances in Northern Finland are exceptional due to the long distances, and regional challenges are considerable. Sopukka Wellbeing Centre’s operating model will boost the use of expert resources, make the healthcare supply chain more effective, considerably improve the safety of the region’s inhabitants and increase the region’s attractiveness. 
  • Turku Student Village Foundation, Tyyssija student housing, Turku
    Tyyssija is an ambitious sustainable development project that will impact the environment and community spirit in a versatile way. Communal, high-quality housing for students plays an important role in supporting young people at a significant turning point in their lives and helps to create the preconditions for building an active, healthy everyday life and for preventing social exclusion.
  • Versonsilmu Oy, Versokoti housing complex
    Safe and well-functioning housing solutions improve disabled children and teenagers’ access to education. Living close to the necessary services will increase their self-reliance and help them be more active, which in turn will considerably improve their mental and physical wellbeing. It will also make it easier for them to integrate with the rest of society, which will have long-term effects on the residents’ adult life.

Forerunner of responsible financing in Finland

MuniFin was the first Finnish credit institution to offer green finance back in 2016. It was also the first financial institution to provide social finance in the Nordic countries.

Responsible investment opportunities are more and more in demand in international capital markets. Resources for social finance are acquired through bonds earmarked for social projects, which are the focus of great investor demand. In 2016, MuniFin was the first Finnish green bond issuer. It is also at the front line of European financial institutions to issue social bonds.

Further information:

Päivi Petäjäniemi
Financial Specialist, Social Finance Specialist, MuniFin
Tel. +358 40 761 7665

Soili Helminen
Manager, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, MuniFin
Tel. +358 400 204 853

About MuniFin social bonds

Year 2019 in figures: MuniFin’s annual report and green bonds impact report for 2019 are published

MuniFin published its annual report 2019 On 4 March 2020. Responsibility report, which was previously published as a separate report, is now included in the annual report. At the same time, the company also published its green bonds impact report for 2019.

Watch the video below to see how MuniFin’s President and CEO Esa Kallio and the Head of Customer Finance Aku Dunderfelt sum up the year 2019.

New initiatives in sustainable finance

MuniFin has offered green finance for its customers since 2016. With the help of green finance the company wants to accelerate new projects supporting climate goals in Finland. By the end of 2019, 101 projects all over the country had been granted green finance and the amount of green finance disbursed totalled EUR 1.263 billion. In addition to environmental benefits, green finance enable also various social and economic impacts both locally and regionally.

– MuniFin green finance has steadily grown over four years to nearly EUR 1.5 billion. While there is no doubt that this is a significant amount, it is still too little. More trailblazers are needed to show others the way and to make the benefits of environmental investments more visible. The existing culture must be shaken across all sectors and in every investment decision, and transformed into a more environmentally sustainable model, says Rami Erkkilä, who is responsible for green finance product development at MuniFin.

In February 2020, MuniFin published its Social Bond Framework and launched social finance in the market. Social finance is targeted at investments in non-profit housing promoting equality and sense of community, as well as investments in wellbeing and education.

MuniFin annual report 2019 >

MuniFin Green bonds impact report 2019 >

MuniFin social bonds >

Further information:

Soili Helminen, Manager, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, tel. +358 400 204 853

Eeva Toivonen, ESG Analyst, tel. +358 50 464 3073