Uniarts Helsinki’s environmental programme

This environmental programme states the concrete measures that will help Uniarts Helsinki contribute to a more sustainable future.

Introduction: Art is part of the solution to the ecological sustainability crisis

One of the six main goals of Uniarts Helsinki’s strategy is that art is part of the solution to the ecological sustainability crisis. This environmental programme states the concrete measures that will help Uniarts Helsinki contribute to a more sustainable world. In the future, we will include knowledge of ecological sustainability issues and sustainable practices more widely than before in our multidisciplinary teaching, research and artistic activities. We will also reduce our use of natural resources and emissions to a sustainable level so that our operations are carbon neutral by 2030.

The environmental programme document has three main themes, resulting in 23 measures. The goals and measures of the environmental programme were defined in 2022 through a process where all members of the community had the chance to influence the content of the programme. We will monitor the implementation of the environmental programme on a yearly basis as part of Uniarts Helsinki’s operational planning process. We will report the programme’s progress openly, and we will update it when necessary, in 2024 at the latest. 

You can also find tips for more sustainable office work, travel, purchases and event organisation at Uniarts Helsinki.

1. Teaching, research and artistic activities

Our aim is that graduates of Uniarts Helsinki lead the way in showing what social, cultural and artistic agency can mean when it is also ecologically sustainable. Every year, hundreds of new graduates from Uniarts Helsinki pursue careers as artists, pedagogues, researchers and other experts in the arts sector. They all can pave the way for the sustainability transition in their own artistic activities and by working in various sectors of society.

Uniarts Helsinki’s learning and research environment gives students tools needed for critical thinking, increases their understanding on environmental issues and helps them see and create opportunities for art to contribute to solving various sustainability crises. Our research deepens the development work in various artistic disciplines and opens up new perspectives on the range of ways that art can be linked to sustainability issues. 

Besides carrying out teaching and research, we organise about 700 public artistic performances, concerts, exhibitions or other events each year. Teaching, research and artistic activities also provide a context for experimenting with and developing ecologically sustainable artistic practices in practice.

Theme 1: Measures

  1. We integrate themes of ecological sustainability all across the curricula that will enter into force in 2024. We define the general learning goals for ecological sustainability in curriculum work and include ecological sustainability in the yearly implementation plans for teaching.
  2. We develop the existing selection of eco-themed studies and training and also make updates in the selection of the academies and the Open Campus. 
  3. We make the selection of sustainability studies offered by networks of higher education institutions available to Uniarts Helsinki students.
  4. We develop sustainable and responsible practices for doctoral education and research. When possible, we take sustainability themes into consideration in Uniarts Helsinki’s strategic applications.
  5. We develop sustainable practices for artistic work and come up with ways to share them within the Uniarts Helsinki community. We establish guidelines concerning sustainable practices for artistic work and include them as part of the More Sustainable Uniarts Helsinki guide.
  6. We support cooperation between Uniarts Helsinki’s teachers, researchers and students, sharing of ecologically sustainable practices and co-learning by organising sustainability-related events and training seminars and by compiling a databank for the use of the community.
  7. We promote the role of art and arts education in society and make it possible for art to have a new kind of impact in the sustainability transition in cooperation with operators in the arts sector and other stakeholders.

Theme 1: Vision for 2024

  • We have integrated themes of ecological sustainability into curricula and defined competence goals for each theme.
  • We have developed the selection of studies in ecological sustainability offered by the Open Campus and the academies.
  • We are active participants in the higher education institutions’ joint networks for sustainability studies.
  • We have developed sustainable practices for our doctoral education, research and artistic activities and strengthened the chances for art to influence solutions to the ecological sustainability crisis.

2. Sustainable daily activities and reducing our environmental load

We build a sustainable and environmentally friendly Uniarts Helsinki through the joint effort of the entire university community. Sustainable daily choices are aided through guidelines concerning facilities, travelling and procurement and through various development measures. Our goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 requires that we have an ecologically sustainable organising culture and that each member of Uniarts Helsinki finds their own role in promoting ecological sustainability and contributes to the work of spreading sustainable practices.

Theme 2: Measures

  1. We compile a concrete plan for reducing emissions, and it will include the measures and short-term goals that will help us create a carbon neutral Uniarts Helsinki by 2030. We monitor our progress in the plan on a yearly basis.
  2. We utilise the results of carbon calculation in decision-making and when planning environmental measures. We communicate our environmental impact openly on our website.
  3. We plan how we can offset the carbon footprint that remains after the reduction measures reliably and to a high quality in 2030.
  4. We develop the supplier cooperation during the agreement period and promote responsibility actions of the suppliers.
  5. We reduce the environmental impact of travelling for work by streamlining our travel policy.
  6. We reduce the negative environmental impact caused by the use of facilities e.g. by introducing energy-efficient building systems and by switching to using renewable district heating in cooperation with lessors. We optimise the use of facilities in an efficient way and maximise the utilisation rate of the facilities when they are in use.
  7. We establish a responsibility strategy for our investments and set ambitious goals for the indicators that are relevant to our strategy.
  8. We serve only sustainably produced vegetarian food and responsibly caught Finnish fish in our meetings and events. We also aim to favour products that have a high-quality eco certification (Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance).
  9. We reduce the amount of mixed waste and waste-to-energy we produce and increase the recycling rate by improving our sorting and recycling possibilities and instructions on campus.

Theme 2: Vision for 2024

  • We monitor the carbon footprint of our most central emission categories and have compiled a plan for reducing emissions and reaching carbon neutrality.
  • We have reduced the environmental impact of purchases, travelling, facility use, investments, catering and use of materials in accordance with the plan for reducing emissions.

3. Structures and management

Our existing structures and management principles provide the framework and the right circumstances for a sustainable operating culture and for committing to ecological sustainability at Uniarts Helsinki. Our management principles enable the promotion of a sustainable culture and sustainable practices, and we set an example on how environmental sustainability is taken into consideration in everyday choices as well as in decisions concerning the university’s operations.

We include sustainability and responsibility measures and their monitoring as part of Uniarts Helsinki’s yearly recurring processes. We consider the impact that decisions have on the university’s environmental load and the goal of carbon neutrality more carefully than before in decision-making and budgeting. We strengthen the university community’s sustainability knowhow by offering guides, training and tools.

We are not going through the sustainability challenges alone. That is why we actively cooperate with our partners and stakeholders to contribute to a more sustainable future and communicate openly about our activities.

Theme 3: Measures

  1. We monitor the progress of the environmental programme in the yearly process of operations management and update the programme if necessary. We make more extensive updates on the environmental programme for the 2025–2030 strategy period at the latest.
  2. We report on the progress of the environmental programme on a yearly basis as part of other yearly reporting.
  3. We include ecological sustainability and responsibility as part of Uniarts Helsinki’s quality system and quality management tools. We audit responsibility-related quality management as part of the auditing of Uniarts Helsinki’s quality system.
  4. We define the responsibilities for Uniarts Helsinki’s environmental work from 2024 onwards after the end of the strategic project for ecological sustainability.
  5. We promote the kind of management culture that takes principles of ecological sustainability and the environmental impact of decision-making into consideration. We organise training that focuses on the role of ecological sustainability in decision-making and management. We reinforce the role of supervisors in the promotion of ecological sustainability by educating supervisors and updating our guidelines for supervisors. We monitor the promotion of ecological sustainability in performance reviews with staff.
  6. We improve the entire university community’s sustainability-related competence in work and studies by compiling eco-themed guides and by organising training seminars. We monitor the development of the community’s competence in training and staff planning.
  7. We establish practices that ensure that we cooperate with partners that operate sustainably and responsibly.

Theme 3: Vision for 2024

  • We have included the development of ecological sustainability as part of the structures and processes of our university.
  • We monitor the progress of our environmental programme on a yearly basis and have planned how to continue with our environmental work after the end of the strategic project for ecological sustainability from 2024 onwards.
  • We have developed and started taking advantage of training seminars, guides and tools that help us integrate ecological sustainability into our daily activities within the university.

Take a closer look at the environmental programme

The environmental programme is not just a list of wishes but a tool that steers Uniarts Helsinki and its art towards an ecologically sustainable reality with solutions to sustainability crises. The link to the document, which contains more detailed measures, objectives and monitoring mechanisms, can be found below.


Interviews on sustainability