Sitra in 2019: Encouraging results and administrative changes
Sitra’s work in 2019 to increase well-being in people’s day-to-day lives is borne out by the encouraging results contained in its latest annual report. The report details some major examples of the future fund’s work, including the creation of the Findata permit authority and the Timeout Foundation, the continuing debate on climate action – which has resulted in commitments made in the Government programme – and the Tomorrow’s health centre coaching initiative that has shortened health-centre waiting times.
The Annual report and financial statements for 2019 summarise the results, new initiatives and financial management of Sitra, the future fund that is accountable to Parliament. The year 2020 will pave the way for the future fund longer into the future once the ongoing strategy update is complete.
“The year 2019 was a year of excellent results for Sitra, but it was also a year of administrative changes. Our megatrend update published at the turn of the year is still topical, even though hardly anyone dared to predict a global crisis like the coronavirus pandemic this year,” says Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra.
The coronavirus crisis is introducing a new norm into our daily life; naturally, this norm will only find its final shape when the acute crisis is over. Even though Sitra’s perspective is to look further beyond an acute crisis, a crisis is also an opportune time to think about the future fund’s vision work and strategic choices.
“A crisis makes you think whether the previous situation was completely normal – we were already living in an unsustainable way from the point of view of Earth’s carrying capacity,” says Katainen. “Can we make use of this situation by correcting the inherent flaws of the old norm – overconsumption of natural resources and climate change, and rapidly growing inequality – while updating democracy by increasing engagement and expertise?”
Sitra’s strategy will be updated during 2020, a major part of which will involve engaging with and listening to its stakeholders.
The following examples constitute some of Sitra’s most important milestones in 2019:
- The health and well-being data permit authority Findata started its operations on 1 January 2020. Sitra’s Isaacus project created the operating model and technical and legislative prerequisites for the new permit authority for the period 2015-2018.
- The Tomorrow’s health centre coaching project proved to be an efficient way to promote access to care and improve customer insight into public primary healthcare. In Iisalmi and Kiuruvesi, for example, the queues for non-urgent care shortened from 35 days to between two and four days. In Kolari, the queue was eliminated entirely. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare will continue the development activities that Sitra started in 25 municipalities.
- The Timeout model developed by Sitra offered a method for constructive societal discussion. The work will be continued by the Timeout Foundation.
- Climate discussion and solutions to the sustainability crisis developed by Sitra led to firm commitments in the Government programme.
Sitra is an early development phase actor and change accelerator. Once any work has been successfully started, Sitra hands over the long-term responsibility for activities to other parties. One example of this in 2019 was the transfer of impact investing development from Sitra to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
For Sitra, the year 2019 was not only a year of effective future-oriented work but also a time for an evaluation of work and fundamental administrative change. The external summary evaluation of Sitra was completed and the work of the parliamentary working group that evaluated the role of the future fund resulted in amendments to the Act on Sitra. Along with the legislative amendment, a dedicated, Parliament-based Supervisory Board and a new Board of Directors were appointed in early 2020.
The global situation has impacts on Sitra’s investment assets and operations
Sitra’s operations are funded by returns on investments. The current coronavirus crisis has caused a significant drop in the value of the investment assets. In addition, the decision in late 2019 to allocate 100 million euros’ worth of capital to universities will have impacts on Sitra’s finances and the volume of its future-oriented work for several years.
At the end of 2019, the market value of Sitra’s investment assets was 933 million euros (832 million euros in 2018). Returns on investments vary by economic cycles. The returns for the first quarter of 2020 were -11.7 per cent as a result of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. At the end of March, the market value of all investment assets was approximately 816 million euros.
In 2019, the operational expenses amounted to 34.2 million euros.
Jyrki Katainen, President, +358 (294) 618 991
Veera Heinonen, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, +358 (294) 618 505
Heidi Saario, Director, HR, Finance and ICT, +358 (294) 618 203