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Lahti2017 and Sitra would like to see Finns as the world’s most responsible competition organisers


Accountability for sports competitions will grow into a new export field. In Lahti World Ski Championships in February and May, new environmentally friendly ways will be tried to create a grand public event. Sitra, in cooperation with the competition organisation, has encouraged the event partners both energy- and food-wise as well as the event partners in the field of environmental communication towards this goal. Low-carbon and smart circular economy solutions may evolve into export advantage for public events worldwide.

“A great number of people attend sports competitions. This means that we need a lot of material to build up the competition, for transport, for the generation of energy and for the services that people use at the sports venue. These cause a big environmental footprint,” points out Nani Pajunen, Sitra’s senior lead for circular economy.

In February 2016, Sitra actually challenged the Lahti2017 World Championship organisation, the collaborating partners, sportsmen and -women and the audience to turn these championships into the world’s most responsible World Ski Championships ever.

“Public events face a huge challenge: how to find the operation models that are not based on excessive use of natural resources and fossil fuels,” Pajunen continues. “If Finns want to be pioneers in the field, we must find those operation models right now.”

Through its cooperation, Sitra wants to participate in increasing the competence of Finnish event organisers in the questions of accountability and environment and provide support for experimenting with solutions in practice.

“Starting a new kind of cooperation in accountability and environmental matters is an excellent indication of the pioneering attitude of the Lahti2017 championships organisation,” says Pajunen. Expertise may grow into a new export field for Finland.

“Environmental matters are an important part of the World Championships’ responsibility programme, which also includes social, cultural and economic responsibility. In accordance with our responsibility slogan ‘Not for 10 days but for 100 years’, our aim is to create permanent operation models for organisation of events,” Maarit Virtanen, the environmental manager of the championships says. With its new operation model, the championships organisation also wants the audience to participate, among other things, in reducing environmental impacts.

Sitra is one of Lahti2017 association partners, which also include Service Union United PAM, Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat, Automobile and Touring Club of Finland, Plan International Suomi and Finnish Ice Hockey Association.

“Association partnership is a completely new way of operation built alongside commercial partnerships. With it, Finnish associations and others involved will take part in making the Lahti World Championships the celebration championships for all the people,” explains Laura Lehtonen, the communication manager for the championships.

Sitra and the Lahti2017 organisation will make the solutions to be tested known in February, before the start of the World Championships.

More information

Nani Pajunen, Senior Lead, Circular Economy, Sitra, nani.pajunen(at), +358 (0)50 301 0742

Maarit Virtanen, Environmental Manager, Lahti2017, maarit.virtanen(at), +358 (0)44 708 1260

Samuli Laita, Specialist, Communications, Sitra, samuli.laita(at), +358 (0)40 536 8650

Laura Lehtonen, Communications Manager, Lahti2017, laura.lehtonen(at), +358 (0)40 743 7107

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