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SYKE – building a sustainable society for two decades

Press release 2015-03-02 at 9:24

SYKE 20 vuotta -filminauha
The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) began its operations 20 years ago in March 1995. In the same year, Finland joined the EU. “By virtue of Finland’s EU membership, SYKE was able to take part in EU research programmes. The amount of competitive funding sought-after increased rapidly and European cooperation expanded. Today, almost all research projects are conducted in cooperation with domestic or foreign universities and research facilities,” Lea Kauppi, Director General of SYKE, says.

Reliable flood forecasts, assessments of environmental policy and much more

“Finnish flood forecasts are among the best in the world. We have collected and produced information to build a foundation for improving the state of the Baltic Sea. The idea of carbon-neutral municipalities was born at SYKE. We generate essential information for the planning of sustainable cities. SYKE has been a forerunner in the assessment of environmental policy. We have been involved in defining the economic and health-related benefits of nature,” Director General Lea Kauppi says, listing examples of SYKE’s accomplishments.

Since the beginning, it has been SYKE’s goal to conduct cutting-edge multi- and cross-disciplinary research. SYKE has diverse research infrastructures in place: the national environmental reference laboratory, the laboratories for marine ecology and ecotoxicology, vast national environmental data systems, and the research vessels Aranda and Muikku.

“SYKE has been one of the first bodies to disseminate environmental information to all those interested, which is a trend that also provides business opportunities to companies. In addition to this, citizens are increasingly active in their involvement in the production of environmental information,” Director General Lea Kauppi emphasises.

We must eliminate wastefulness and use natural resources wisely

SYKE’s anniversary seminary at Finlandia Hall on 2 March will peer into the future, on the basis of three topical themes: circular economy, ecosystem services and intelligent cities. The keynote speaker for the seminar is the former European Commissioner for Research and the Environment, Chairman of the International Resource Panel Janez Potočnik. He was granted an award for the promotion of circular economy at the meeting of the esteemed World Economic Forum held in Davos in January.

Janez Potočnik challenges societies to use natural resources much more efficiently than before. As an example, he draws attention to mobile phones only a low percentage of which are recycled. This means that the opportunity to reuse the valuable metals in them is wasted. As such, Potočnik demands a change of course for the entire global economy: we must put a stop to wastefulness and use natural resources wisely.

Pekka Haavisto, Minister of the Environment in 1995, will also speak at the anniversary seminar. He will shed light on the past 20 years of the EU environmental policy. Over the past decades, the EU has significantly affected Finnish environmental policy and research.

Environmental information and the economy must intertwine

Director General Lea Kauppi believes that there is increasing demand for SYKE’s expertise and knowledge, both in Finland and abroad. “One of SYKE’s key tasks is to instil social discourse and decision-making with knowledge and perspectives on what are the sustainable solutions in the long-term for both people and the environment.”

More information:

Director General Lea Kauppi, tel. +358 295 251 700

Communications Director Kirsi Norros, tel. +358  295 251 460

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