Helsinki introduces sustainability app

In response to a survey carried out by the City of Helsinki last year, two thirds of residents identified climate change as a major concern and priority for the city. Helsinki is responding with a Think Sustainably, a new app that provides residents, tourists and businesses with suggestions of sustainable options in the area. The aim of the app is to reduce individual contributions to the climate crisis, by encouraging sustainable consumption and reducing carbon footprints.

An early version of the app has been released in June. For now, it includes 81 participating businesses, which the app will filter for users based on criteria which include but are not limited to the business’ proven record of renewable energy sourcing, the availability of vegan options in restaurants, the availability of locally produced items, the establishment’s recycling and waste management records, and energy consumption reduction plans. Each industry will have a service category with a set of minimum requirements necessary in order to be promoted to the app’s users. The development of the criteria has been overseen by members of Demos Helsinki, a sustainability and responsibility think tank, and has been based on similar criteria used for various environmental certificates.

However, the Think Sustainably app is not a new form of sustainability certificate. In fact, the app will not audit or regularly inspect any of the businesses it co-operates with. The procurement of certificates can be time-consuming and expensive, a disincentive for small businesses, even though many of these small businesses are environmentally conscious. The app will rely on public feedback and consumer satisfaction when reviewing the businesses on its roster.

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