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Annual Report 2016: Sources of growth and encouraging social renewal

The future-oriented organisation Sitra wants to make Finland a pioneer in sustainable well-being. We took big steps towards this goal in 2016. Sorely needed sources of growth were sought for the circular economy, smart and clean solutions and the use of well-being data.


Sitra’s role in encouraging social renewal also strengthened in areas like social and healthcare system reform, the basic-income trial, working-life issues and the impact investing ecosystem.

“The Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation established in June is a good example of Sitra’s determined efforts to combine ecological sustainability with new sources of growth,” says Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen. “The foundation’s target is to build a Finnish reference area for clean and smart solutions that meets international standards.”

Sitra’s donation of 50,000 euros in endowment capital is a step towards making the solutions tangible. Sitra also promised to provide a maximum of 2.5 million euros to fund a third of the foundation’s activities. In addition to cities and the Finnish central government state, universities and a large number of companies in the region have committed to the work.

“Finland really needs new sources of growth, so the smart and clean work is just what we were looking for. Another potential growth area is the use of well-being data, and we are creating the conditions for this with Isaacus – the Digital Health HUB,” adds Kosonen.

No amount of growth is sufficient without the wise use of public funds. To combat growing public debt, Sitra has developed an impact investing operating model for Finland. The Social Impact Bond (SIB) is one form of impact investing. “The public sector can use the SIB model to develop their procurement practices beyond simply purchasing goods and services towards the acquisition of results and impact. This also means that billions of euros will be used more productively,” Kosonen explains. This tool is already being trialled in Finland in two projects.

As it nears the age of 50, Sitra is accelerating the implementation of its strategy aimed at sustainable well-being. This is an ambitious vision, but we are working hard to bridge silos and involve wide-ranging groups of people and experts. This long-term work is now producing results.

Sitra’s operating activities are funded by the returns on its endowment capital and corporate investments. At the end of 2016, the market value of Sitra’s endowment capital was 807 million euros, and the yield from invested assets was 7.1%. The Sitra annual report and financial statements published today provide more detailed information on Sitra’s activities, results and finances. Read the report here.

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