In the past year, Sitra has developed new and sustainable practices in numerous fields of expertise: energy-efficient planning and construction, the use of locally sourced renewable energy, service voucher practices, health kiosks and public administration.
Sitra is building a Finland for the future. We are doing this using a combination of foresight, investigation, experimentation, business finance, education and extensive social impact activities. As a future-oriented organisation addressing systemic challenges, Sitra has a particularly important role to play in times of uncertainty.
In 2012, deteriorating competitiveness, a worsening dependency ratio, depleting natural resources and rising energy costs all intensified the pressure for structural change in Finland, while the over-indebtedness of developed nations made the financial headlines. Problems hindering municipal, social and health reforms, and the need to provide several EU countries with financial aid, stirred people’s emotions throughout the year.
“Sitra’s role as a respected expert, independent background player and active experimenter and developer gives us the opportunity not only to influence society’s key questions at a preliminary stage, but also to put reforms into practice,” Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen explains. Projects and programmes that concluded in 2012 testify to Sitra’s widespread impact at various levels of society.
Towards sustainable well-being in theory and practice
Expert consultants Gaia Oy estimate that the changes in the built environment initiated by Sitra’s Energy Programme have the potential to significantly reduce heating and electricity consumption in buildings by 2020.
Sitra’s long-term work in shaping the energy efficiency of the built environment, planning and national energy regulations will bear fruit in the years to come. Expert calculations already show that, based on the energy savings achievable, Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by five per cent by 2020.
The Terveyskioski (Health kiosk), Palveluseteli (Service voucher) and Terveystaltio (Personal health record) projects are examples of Sitra measures that have helped to revamp the service structures of the Finnish healthcare system, providing citizens with greater choice.
Health kiosks have brought low-threshold health services to shopping centres, and the Service voucher project has broadened the range of choices available; for instance through training for local authority decision-makers in introducing the vouchers, through guide materials, and through experimentation and dissemination of best practices.
The Personal health record project has involved designing and implementing a reliable personal online health account, known as the Taltioni online service, for better and more independent monitoring by citizens of their own personal health and treatment.
Programmes discontinued by organisational change are being replaced by more joint action
In 2012, Sitra implemented a major content-based and functional reform, which helped to speed up Sitra’s ability to react while clarifying the connection between strategy and everyday life. Instead of running separate programmes, we adopted a system of themes and key areas that work towards our vision.
In Sitra’s vision, achieving sustainable well-being requires social, economic and ecological sustainability. Business development is one of the cornerstones of Sitra’s operations. Last year, two themes focusing on sustainable well-being emerged alongside this, with Sitra’s development work undertaken in the form of projects under the auspices of these themes. These themes are Ecological sustainability and Empowering society.
Sitra’s finances on a solid foundation, despite market fluctuations
Sitra mainly finances its operations from the yield on its endowment capital, as well as from operative financing activities. In recent years, the market value of Sitra’s endowment capital has fluctuated strongly, as a result of stock market fluctuations. As of the end of 2012, the market value of Sitra’s endowment capital was EUR 651 million. Sitra’s invested capital in 2012 generated a profit of 10.4 per cent, whereas in 2011 its investments had generated an 8.0 per cent loss.
During 2012, Sitra fully withdrew from six companies and partly from one company. New corporate investments were targeted at strategic areas within the theme areas. During the year, Sitra made an initial investment in five enterprises, and at the end of the year there were 35 enterprises in the Sitra capital investment portfolio.
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Sitra’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2012
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