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Joensuu awarded the Green Pioneer of the Year

Repsentatives of the city of Joensuu receiving MuniFin´s Green Pioneer of the Year -award.

The award was presented to Joensuu bythe Minister of the Environment, Kimmo Tiilikainen,and MuniFin’s President and CEO Esa Kallio.

“The purpose of this award is to highlight operators who have set themselves ambitious goals and who have integrated environmental thinking into all their activities in an exemplary way,” says Esa Kallio.

Joensuu has a comprehensive approach to environmental thinking. Its environmental objectives are recorded in the City’s strategy, and climate effects are taken into consideration in all its planning and activities. Environmental thinking also becomes tangible in the everyday lives of the city’s residents through its new day-care centres and schools, which utilise green technology and are funded by MuniFin’s Green Financing.

According to Mayor Kari Karjalainen, environmental impacts are widely considered in the City’s public procurement.

“It is Joensuu’s ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. This requires concrete action. As we are investing in construction in any case, why not take environmental impacts into account, as well as the need for space? This same way of thinking is repeated in our public procurement. Last year, we took note of environmental criteria in more than 90% of all of the City’s competitive procurement.

As a reward for being a Green Pioneer, MuniFin will donate to the City of Joensuu a work of environmental art to be located in a prominent place in the city centre. The work of art will be finished in the summer of 2019 and will adorn the playground close to the Joensuu market place along a pedestrian street. The work is designed by the Finnish company Berry Creative, which specialises in creative environmental planning.

Lively debate on the environmental impacts of construction

The Green Pioneer Award was presented to the City of Joensuu on 23 January at a seminar on low-carbon construction organised by MuniFin. The event included a lively debate on the environmental impacts of construction and the built environment.

In his opening speech, Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen remarked that the time for sporadic climate-related action is over and now it is time also for the building trade to start to work in earnest to safeguard the environment.

Björn Söderlundh from Kommuninvest gave an overview of Sweden, where 90% of the municipalities have climate-related objectives and municipalities compete with each other for achievements. Antti Kontio from MuniFin emphasised that cooperation between the state, municipalities and corporations is the only way to achieve the climate targets set.

The seminar’s energetic panel discussed, for example, the role of urban planning and zoning in reducing climate impacts, the role and potential of materials, and the necessity of standards as a factor in guiding choices.

Saara Vauramo, the Environmental Director of the City of Lahti,gave an overview of the City’s objectives and the changes that have occurred there. This year, Lahti will be the first city in Finland to adopt an application that will enable its residents to engage in emissions trading.

Actively involved throughout the seminar, the audience voted the choices affecting the life cycle of buildings as the main factor for climate impacts in construction and the maintenance of the built environment.