In November 2020, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene) published a sustainable development and responsibility programme for universities of applied sciences, Sustainable and Responsible University of Applied Sciences, which is based on the policies of the UN 2030 Agenda and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The joint work on sustainable development and responsibility continues in universities of applied sciences, and VAMK is actively taking part, providing its expertise in carbon footprint calculations, in particular.
The largest energy technology cluster in the Nordic countries, EnergyVaasa, is located in Vaasa, the Nordic capital city of energy. The aim is to develop sustainable technological solutions that will help reduce emissions and conserve energy on a global scale. This also forms a natural foundation for the ambitious goals of the City of Vaasa’s energy and climate programme, Carbon Neutral Vaasa 202X, and the strategic objectives derived from these that also apply to all of the City Group operators, including VAMK. VAMK plays a key role in operating within the energy ecosystem and implementing the climate and energy programme. VAMK’s strategic goal is to become carbon neutral by 2030. As part of our regional impact, our mission is to offer a competitive edge to the main working life operators by training future talent and generating trendsetting vision. For this reason, the themes of sustainability and responsibility are present in all parts of our strategy and operations.
VAMK created its first sustainable develop-ment programme as early as in 2011. Since then, extensive and systematic measures have been taken, in line with the national trends, to promote a sustainable future. The main measures to reduce its carbon footprint have included the adoption of emissionfree district heating and electricity, and changing its shared cars to natural gas vehicles. Furthermore, building engineering systems have been optimised in order to conserve energy.
The sustainable development and responsi-bility programme that is currently being created for VAMK is the second of its kind. The personnel have been consulted during its creation process. The programme is a dynamic and annually updated document that steers the promotion of sustainable development and responsibility at VAMK. New goals are added to the programme every year, making the work towards a more sustainable future continuous, although the actual improvements are carried out step by step. We will monitor how well the programme’s goals are achieved and report on the measures taken to promote the objectives in our annual review.
We will send out regular notifications regarding the sustainability programme’s themes, both internally and externally via social media, news and press releases. In accordance with our communications strategy, sustainable development is one of the spearheads of our media communications. In our next year’s communications, we will highlight sustainable development themes – for example, sustainable development will be the general theme of our external communications in January.
Responsibility means taking responsibility for a company’s social, financial and environmental effects.
Sustainable development refers to development that satisfies the needs of current society without making compro-mises at the expense of future generations. This can be achieved by taking the environment, people and the economy into account in decisionmaking and operations. At the core of sustainable development is a concern about inequality between individuals and the diminishing diversity of ecosystems that form the basis of all life.
Sanna Torkko, Leena Vilkuna, Marja-Riitta Vest, Asseri Laitinen, Hilkka Korpi, Taina Kyrönlahti-Bertell, Eva Sundell, Ulrika Palmberg and Miia Leinonen
Processed by the management group on 8 December 2021