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New decade starts with five new Hinku municipalities

News 2020-04-09 at 12:55
© Unsplash, Jack Alexander

The Hinku network now includes over 70 Hinku municipalities and four Hinku regions, all of which are committed to reducing their emissions by 80 per cent from the 2007 levels by 2030. Five new municipalities – Sastamala, Ylivieska, Seinäjoki, Hartola and Turku – came on board at the beginning of the new decade, in 2020. Welcome!

Investing in energy efficiency, Sastamala joins Hinku following the example of other municipalities in the Pirkanmaa region

“Membership of the Hinku network became topical for us in the autumn of 2019 when several municipalities in the Pirkanmaa region had either decided to join or considered joining the network. Experts from the Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment got in touch with the city manager and the matter was presented to the management group,” explains Tapio Rautava, administrative director of Sastamala.

Back in 2016, Sastamala joined the agreement concluded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Energy Authority and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, committing to the objectives specified in the energy efficiency agreement of municipalities. In accordance with the agreement, Sastamala has improved the energy efficiency of the real estate it owns. Through its subsidiary, the city has also contributed to the construction of a district heating network in the city centre. Biofuels are used for district heating in the city centre and the heating of various individual school premises.

Ylivieska focuses on traffic-related themes in its climate efforts and expects to see proof of results from older Hinku municipalities

“The local council group of the Greens and two other local councillors put forward a motion on joining Hinku. Climate targets are making strong inroads into the everyday activities of municipalities. For example, in North Ostrobothnia, the regional council is preparing a climate road map for the entire region. I believe that climate efforts can also help achieve financial savings, as reported by, for example, the municipality of Ii. We eagerly look forward to cooperating with other Hinku municipalities and hope to see examples of their achievements. We will take concrete action to put climate work into practice throughout our city,” says Maria Sorvisto, City Manager.

Ylivieska is an important junction along the main railway line, and a line to Iisalmi also branches off at Ylivieska. In addition, the municipality is located at the intersection of a main road and a feeder road. “The perspective of traffic and transport will most certainly be reflected in our climate work. For example, players in this region already engage in and are planning several wood-based fuel projects,” says Tapio Koistinaho, Environmental Manager of Ylivieska

Supported by its management, Seinäjoki boldly tackles climate challenges

“As the first South Ostrobothnian Hinku municipality and the region’s engine, we must show example. Many people are moving to Seinäjoki, and our residents have begun asking about the city’s environment and climate actions,” says Hanna Latva-Kiskola, Environmental Director at the City of Seinäjoki.

Seinäjoki has surveyed the management’s visions and the staff’s ideas to form a foundation for its climate work. An investigation into the present state of the city’s sustainable development is now under way. “Seinäjoki has a working group for sustainable development including experts who widely represent the city organisation. Getting things done is one of our strengths. We have every opportunity to achieve big, visible results, as long as we generate movement in the right direction. I believe that if climate issues are given visibility, they become more familiar to us all and are more likely to be taken into account in future decision-making,” Latva-Kiskola emphasises.

Hartola acknowledges the role of tourism and cooperation in boosting the municipality's vitality and climate action

The decision to join the Hinku network was made by the local council of Hartola on 18 December 2019. The municipality especially hopes that its membership in the Hinku network will provide new ideas for climate-related measures suitable for a small municipality like Hartola. “Climate action calls for cooperation and information sharing across municipal borders, which is why Hartola considered it important to join the Hinku network. Membership in the network also makes Hartola’s climate work more systematic and goal-oriented,” says Sameli Männistö, Environmental Inspector.

Community spirit and collaboration are Hartola’s strengths in climate work. The Kingdom of Hartola is an experiential concept that Hartola developed in order to collaborate with local companies and other players to create new service concepts that will attract more people into the area. The idea is also to make Hartola better known as a tourist destination, an area for learning and a kingdom of experiences. “Community spirit is one of our strengths, and we also hope to involve village associations as well as weekend and summer cottagers in our climate work,” Männistö continues. Summer residents are a major resource for Hartola, since they nearly triple the municipality’s population in the summer months.

Turku, Finland’s oldest city, aims to be carbon-neutral by 2029

Turku has carried out successful climate work for a long time. “We are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2029, when the city reaches the respectable age of 800 years. We have successfully reduced our emissions by approximately one third, but instead of stopping at carbon neutrality, we aim to be a climate positive area after 2029. This means that we will sequester carbon and produce renewable energy in excess of our own needs and for others,” says Risto Veivo, Development Manager of Climate Policy of the City of Turku.

The City of Turku would like to see climate work being done more actively in all of Finland and closely involving citizens, research and especially companies. “We want to contribute to strengthening the domestic Hinku network and engage in diverse cooperation with municipalities in Southwest Finland as well as elsewhere in the country. Cooperation between the state and municipalities is also important to ensure that we meet the requirements of the Paris climate agreement. The Hinku network is a very important forum,” Veivo adds.

Established in 2008, Hinku is a network of pioneers working to curb climate change. It brings together municipalities committed to ambitious emissions reductions, companies providing climate-friendly products and services as well as experts in the energy and climate sector. The Hinku network disseminates information about the best practices for mitigating climate change, supports municipalities’ climate action and generates demand for climate-friendly products and services. The Hinku network is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute.

More information

  • Professor Jyri Seppälä, national leader of the Hinku network, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 29 525 1629, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

 


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