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Sitra in 2023: Megatrends, experiments in Finland and the start of strategy renewal

For Sitra, 2023 was a year of experiments and establishing a new direction. We conducted and funded over 100 experiments to support Finland’s future success. Sitra’s work in the EU led to concrete results. Sitra also welcomed a new President and began the process of revising its strategy so that it can best promote Finland’s long-term success. Read our annual report to find out more about Sitra and our work.


Taru Keltanen

Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs


Over the past decade, Sitra has channelled a total of €50 million in funding to its partners for projects that boost Finland’s economy and competitiveness and people’s well-being.

In 2023, we funded over 100 projects. We developed digital product passports and the data-driven smart management of seaport traffic. We studied how to make natural capital a core consideration in decision-making. We funded and provided sparring support to resident panels and the Citizens’ Parliament. We brought the Polis platform for constructive social debate to Finland, and some 18,000 Finns used the platform to share their thoughts on Finland’s future direction. The World Circular Economy Forum WCEF, created at Sitra’s initiative, brought together some 8,400 participants from over 150 countries to discuss the circular economy in Helsinki and online.

We also inspired Finns to take action for a better tomorrow. Where are global megatrends driving development? What direction should Finland, the EU or the economy take in the long term? How can we promote change in our daily lives?

The Megatrends 2023 report, published early in the year, provides information and tools for future-oriented thinking and action. For the first time, we also published the megatrend card deck in plain language (in Finnish). Tens of thousands of Finns have used our materials to learn more about megatrends.

Increasing impact through EU co-operation

The Finnish future fund Sitra is also a highly sought-after international partner when it comes to sustainability solutions, a fair data economy, democracy and participation. The EU, among others, uses our expertise in many ways and we have several collaborative projects with the EU. The next European Commission will take office after the EU elections in the summer of 2024. We have contributed to the next Commission’s work programme with proposals on updating the Green Deal and the EU’s new data strategy.

Led by Sitra’s specialists, the Lifestyle Test developed by Sitra as a tool for sustainable daily living was adapted to the needs of seven other European countries. The test, which was revised as part of the EU’s Horizon programme, was introduced in local languages in Estonia, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Slovenia. The Lifestyle Test was first launched in Finland in 2017 and has already been used over 1.4 million times.

We completed a joint action to promote the EU-wide use of health data. Co-ordinated by Sitra, the TEHDAS joint action between 25 European countries contributed to future EU legislation in 2021–2023. In recognition of Sitra’s role in the successful joint action, Sitra has also been appointed to lead the preparation of the implementation of the legislation. The projects build on Sitra’s long-term efforts in the field of health and data.

There has long been a need in Finland for training on how Finland could play a more active role in influencing the future of the EU and the decisions that are made in the EU. We have responded to this need by launching a new training programme called Leadership Training for the Future EU. The training programme, aimed at Finnish decision-makers and influencers, increases the readiness of Finland and the participants to face the challenges and opportunities related to the EU and to influence them in a timely manner.

Sitra’s new strategy and operating model will be completed in the summer of 2024

The foundations of international politics and the global economy are unstable, Finland faces major social and economic challenges, and uncertainty has increased. Against this backdrop, it is essential for Sitra to also re-evaluate its approach and aims.

“Finland faces serious challenges. Sitra will re-evaluate what are the most important issues for Finland’s future and in which of them we can do the most to contribute to long-term prosperity, meaning sustainable economic growth and the opportunity for people to lead a good life,” writes Sitra’s President Atte Jääskeläinen in his review in the annual report, summarising the goals of the strategy renewal. Jääskeläinen took over as Sitra’s President in August 2023.

In October, we conducted a survey among Sitra’s stakeholders and received over 850 responses from people representing various sectors of society. Three out of four respondents thought that Sitra’s role in building Finland’s future was very important or fairly important. Almost as many (70%) thought that Sitra has developed operating models that have promoted Finland’s development, growth and well-being.

“We are honoured and grateful for this assessment. It gives us a good basis for building the future fund of the future,” Jääskeläinen writes.

The fund’s assets are invested responsibly – operations are funded by returns on investments

Sitra does not use tax revenue from the central government budget. Instead, all of Sitra’s future-oriented work is funded by the returns on its investment assets. At the end of 2023, the value of investment assets totalled €965 million and Sitra spent €31.6 million on future-oriented work.

Sitra aims to achieve a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by 2035. Consideration of biodiversity is one of our responsible investment development areas. We will report on nature-related investment risks and opportunities starting from the 2024 financial year.

The results and impact of our work are continually assessed in a number of ways. The next comprehensive assessment of Sitra will be completed this year.

Sitra’s annual report and financial statements for 2023 are published in Finnish, Swedish and English. As part of our reporting of financial statements, we also publish Sitra’s purchase invoices for the three previous years, covering the period 2021 to 2023.

Download and read!

Empowered by the future
Annual report and financial statements 2023
Helsinki, 2024

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