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Municipalities and municipal enterprises promote environmental responsibility

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7. Municipalities and municipal enterprises promote environmental responsibility throughout the region

Cleantech venture day

In all its tendering activities, Lahti Procurement Services always takes into account the relevant environmental considerations. Environmental awareness is reflected in all operations, but practices may vary between the different branches and for independent procurements carried out by the municipal units and enterprises. Lahti Real Estate Services is a good example: the environmental aspect is always included in all its procurement criteria. The Green Office programme continued in 11 municipal offices, and the units receive procurement-related guidance through the GO programme as well.

Environmental aspects accounted for in invitations to tender (Lahti Procurement Services)

2003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015
Tenders, Lahti Procurement Services11578911112626243898,598,3

The Lahti region has become a major hub for environmental know-how and business. The Cleantech Venture Day, one of Europe's largest and most important venture capital investment events in clean technologies, was organized in Lahti in 2015. The most recent data on the sales and numbers of employees of cleantech businesses are from 2014 and, in that year, the trend was subsiding. 

Total net sales of cleantech businesses (EUR billion)

2002201220132014
Total net sales, EUR billion0,3931,381,391,11

People employed by cleantech businesses

2002201220132014
People1526515347614428

In the previous Environmental Reviews (2002-2006) the Environmental Cluster was classifyed differently, so the numbers of total net sales and employed people are not comparable.

Into Cleantech Cluster are now classifyed Water and Sewege treatment, Waste management and Recycling, Renewable energy, Energy effiency, Clean processes and materials and products, Environmental consulting and Green building.  

 

In 2015, the Environmental Ecology section of the University of Helsinki in Lahti had 13 ongoing research projects, in addition to which a number of post-graduate students were awarded dissertation grants by foundations. External research funding amounts to more than one million euros. Many research projects involve business partners, of which there are more than 90. The university research projects study, for example, the use of algae in food, as feed and as energy, and the development of commercial applications for eco-toxicological methods in cooperation with SMEs in the environmental field. In addition, studies on surface runoff continued. In 2015 the University of Helsinki launched a new bachelor programme in environmental sciences to be studied in the faculties of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Agriculture and Forestry. In 2015 twenty-two bachelor's degrees were awarded, and a record number of master's degrees, also 22. The number of doctoral and licentiate students was 19.

In 2015, the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) strengthened its presence in Lahti by launching a process to grant a sustainability research professorship. LUT Environmental Engineering, alongside Helsinki University’s Environmental Ecology, organized a project-based learning course in which students solved actual sustainability challenges in the Lahti region. LUT's projects in Lahti in 2015 dealt with, e.g., the development of sustainable food economics. In addition, preparations were made for projects for residential renewable energy production, improving energy efficiency, utilizing horse manure and for developing the production potential of rural renewable energy. The Clean Acceptance project was about searching for and identifying user-centric low-carbon housing models and further developing existing models for users. The long-term goal is to promote a sustainable urban structure, use of renewable energy and sustainable consumption habits.

In 2015, Salpaus Further Education participated in a wide range of projects and events organized by the Lahti Region Environmental Services, including events related to the reconditioning of Lake Vesijärvi, the mapping of the nature conservation areas in Lahti, the development of the Lapakisto nature conservation area in Nastola in addition to the Green Office programme and Environment Week. Environmental field technicians planned and organized a World Water Day and the Fair Trade and Sustainable Christmas showcase exhibitions in the Trio shopping centre. Students were learning at work at Trio’s environmental counselling point, as well as in the various nature, water and environmental consultancy teams of Lahti Region Environmental Services.

LUMA activities
The Päijät-Häme LUMA Centre, part of the national LUMA network, which strenghtens math and science teaching in schools, organized visits to the environmental ecology laboratory of the University of Helsinki, researcher visits to schools and science course planning with teachers. The LUMA Centre has also promoted the networking of teachers in the region, improved mathematics and science skills and has organized club instructor training. The regional qualifier in the national “Tämä toimii!” contest for 4th to 6th graders was held in Lahti in March 2015. The Mukkula team won and the Villähde school team was the runner-up..

 

Annual intake of students in environmental degree programmes (LAMK, universities and Salpaus)

2012201320142015
Annual intake138131141133

 

In the previous Environmental Reviews (till year 2008) number of students is not comparable, because then all environmental students were counted, not the intake.  

 

Future challenges regarding the promotion of environmental responsibility in the region:
• Updating the city’s procurement programme, and how the new Lahti strategy will affect it.
• Reform of procurement legislation and accounting for guidelines set by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
• Raising corporate environmental awareness and working for the climate.
• Increasing dynamism in the city while maintaining or improving the state of the environment.
• Improving business opportunities for the cleantech sector in Lahti, prominent references and building international relations.
• Municipal cooperation without a common organization of environmental protection.
• Ensuring funding for municipalities’ environmental activities.
• Preserving high-level university education and research in Lahti and improving access to the city organization.

kuva Salpaus

 

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