The Ministry of the Environment, Senate Properties and the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Turku and Vantaa have signed a voluntary Green Deal agreement to reduce emissions at construction sites. The aim of the agreement is that construction sites of the cities and Senate Properties will be fossil free by the end of 2025, meaning they will not use fossil fuels. In addition, by 2030, at least 50 per cent of construction machinery and site transports will be powered by electricity, biogas or hydrogen. Emissions from construction sites under the agreement include emissions from machinery, electricity, heating and, in stages, emissions from transport.
Finland’s and Helsinki’s goal is to be carbon neutral in 2035, and cities have in part even more ambitious goals. Achieving them will require swift and significant measures from all sectors. For example, machinery emits about eight per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions of the entire burden-sharing sector, i.e. sectors outside the emissions trading scheme. Construction sites also cause harmful local emissions and engine noise. Through its procurement, the public sector has the possibility to influence a significant share of these emissions and support the achievement of carbon neutrality goals. The public sector can serve as a pioneer in the exploitation of alternative driving power while also creating the demand and conditions for the development and wider adoption of the market for low-emission solutions.
“The agreement supports the achievement of Finland’s emission reduction targets and sustainable development goals. The measures to be agreed now and the criteria to be created jointly can support municipal and state emission reduction measures and create new sustainable operating opportunities for companies,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.
The agreement is the first Green Deal agreement signed among the public sector in order to promote sustainable procurement. KEINO Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement supports the Ministry of the Environment in implementing the agreement.
Together with KEINO Competence Centre, the parties to the agreement will create a common emission-free site operating model as well as an agreement monitoring system and procurement criteria that will be applied at their construction sites. Other municipalities and public sector actors are also invited to participate. Common procurement criteria and the monitoring system will ensure that the agreement targets are met. Procurement criteria will be developed together with industry representatives. The challenging work of establishing a common monitoring system and developing procurement criteria has already begun.
Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori says that Helsinki has long promoted the development of emission-free construction sites through various projects and has engaged in active international cooperation.
“At Helsinki construction sites, we have been proactive regarding the Green Deal’s targets by launching a pilot of five fossil free sites in the spring of 2020 and, with the lessons learned from them, by striving to be fossil free at all new infrastructure sites already during this year.”
The aim of the agreement is to share information on the best practices developed and identified, and to encourage public sector actors to join the agreement on a broad front.
The cities have also hoped that government organisations would participate in the agreement so that comprehensive cooperation could take place at the national level. The carbon neutrality targets are also tight for the state.
A Green Deal is a voluntary agreement between the state and a business sector or municipalities. The aim is to take joint action to promote the Sustainable Development Goals by seeking solutions to mitigate climate change and promote a circular economy.
Helsinki’s climate actions web page
Helsingin ilmastovahti (in finnish)
Previous Green Deal agreements (Sitoumus2050)
Hiilineutraalit ja resurssiviisaat yritysalueet (HNRY) -hanke (in Finnish)
KEINO Competence Centre