Sitra in 2020: a year of megatrends, coronavirus and strategy update
Rapid changes in society and daily life challenged Sitra to anticipate the long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and brainstorm ideas for practical experiments to support our society. Sitra’s annual report and financial statements for 2020 describe the projects carried out in this exceptional time and, above all, the results of our future-oriented work and the new guidelines of our strategy.
At the beginning of 2020, Sitra compiled a list of the global development trends, the megatrends. This also raised the issue of potential discontinuities and surprises, such as Covid-19. Last year, the material related to megatrends was the most searched content on Sitra’s website, which partly reflects the broad interest of Finns in the future.
We were closely involved in the debate on sustainable coronavirus recovery efforts both in Finland and internationally and in developing tools to help decision-makers. We also brainstormed, funded and coordinated several rapid experiments: with our partners, we tested a technology being developed for tracking the virus and with municipalities robotic calls for reaching residents quickly.
Our work to develop the foundation for a fair data economy attracted a lot of international attention, and in 2021 we will be able to share the lessons learned so far and contribute to common European policies in two EU-level projects.
At the global level, 2020 saw an unprecedented challenge to democracy. In Finland, we conducted background reports, development proposals and experiments at grassroots level to promote democracy. For example, libraries across Finland were inspired to join us in testing new ways of increasing participation.
In the context of ecological sustainability, solutions supporting biodiversity will become more important in our work alongside climate change prevention, and a project related to this already began in the autumn.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, events organised by Sitra were transferred online whenever possible. This allowed us to reach an exceptionally large number or people all over Finland and abroad. For example, the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) launched by Sitra, now the top global circular economy event, was held online in the autumn and the number of participants more than doubled.
Strategy update adopted at the beginning of 2021
At the end of the year, we published an updated strategy to guide our work from 2021 to 2024. Sitra’s vision is of a fair, sustainable and inspiring future that ensures people’s well-being within the earth’s carrying capacity. This will be achieved through an ecologically sustainable, competitive and fair economy, democracy and broad social inclusion. These will be Sitra’s leading themes in addition to foresight and education.
“Sitra will continue to be a think tank, a futures testbed and a platform for co-operation. We will work with business, the public sector and the civil society. Our aim is to create a shared vision and find solutions to a wide range of challenges,” stresses Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra since the beginning of 2020.
Sitra’s activities are funded by returns on its investments. The market value of the investments amounted to 976 million euros at the end of 2020. The return on investments was 11.0%. The deficit for the financial year was 7.7 million euros, which was due to a non-recurring allocation to capitalise universities. The non-recurring allocation totalling 100 million euros was agreed in 2019. The first instalment was paid last year and amounted to 33 million euros.
Sitra’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020 will be published in Finnish, Swedish and English. Together with the financial statements, we will also publish Sitra’s purchase invoices for the past three years, from 2018 to 2020.
Inspiring a sustainable future
Annual report and financial statements 2020