Helsinki, Finland

Organisation: Helsinki
Contact: Heini Etsola
Year: 2018

GDS-Index Category Breakdown

Category Total
Environmental Performance 83%
Social Performance 79%
Supplier Performance 90%
Destination Management Performance 80%

Destination Highlights

Hectares of green area per 100 000 population


Helsinki is committed to promoting green values in all its operations. Like many other cities around the world, Helsinki is committed to significantly reducing its climate emissions. A target reduction of 60% in climate emissions will be proposed for 2030, and the matter will be decided upon by the City Council. The decision would also make it possible to move up the goal of carbon neutrality to 2040. With more ambitious goals, Helsinki would improve its ability to implement international Construction of a wooden agreements on reducing emissions. Helsinki promotes environmental friendly modes of transport. You can either walk, bike or use the excellent public transport ranked the best in Europe (2015 BEST study of public transport). There are 1400 city bikes and 140 stations available, and the plan is to increase the numbers in 2018. Helsinki continues to enhance environmental protection and sustainable development without forgetting global challenges. Helsinki has already been an active partner in saving the Baltic Sea. Global issues are highlighted again when Finland took over the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2017. This role is well suited to the world’s greenest country.

Energy sourced from renewables
City traffic congestion level
Waste sent to landfill

Helsinki works continuously to promote sustainable values in all its activities and thus will actively contribute to a sustainable society. “Towards Sustainable EU Cities”, a fresh comparison and benchmark study of 114 European cities, gives Helsinki a flattering result among the 5 top-scoring cities. Helsinki is the 2nd safest city and the 10th most liveable city in the world. It is also a city that strongly promotes transparency and open democracy. An open interface and data provide free access to information concerning the city’s decision making and governance. This is actively supported by offering free WLAN service for residents and travelers. Social sustainability performance is based on the Finnish society. For instance, Finland scores highest in the index for the share of women in higher education and is number one in the press freedom index. Finland is the second best country in the world for mothers and ranks second also in the corruption perception index.

Corruption Perception ranking
World Bank Inequality Index Score (Lower score represents lower inequality)
Gender Inequality Index ranking

The Greening Events project (2012-2014) was a joint venture between the neighbouring cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa that aimed to develop concrete ways of implementing environmental management at events in the metropolitan area. The project established a model that supports voluntary environmental work between cities and events. The project was coordinated by the City of Helsinki Environment Centre. The project won the first ever GDS Innovation Award in 2016 and the legacy of the project lives on in the EcoCompass and EcoCompass Event certifications widely offered to venues and events in the Helsinki area. Today more than 75% of hotels rooms and all major congress centres in Helsinki have an active 3rd party sustainable certification. Environmentally friendly materials are widely used, catering firms favour local, organic and vegetarian food, and event organizers are encouraged to serve tap water to participants instead of bottled water. In addition, the national carrier Finnair is the cleanest and the most eco-friendly airline in the world.

City's hotels easily accessible by public transport to/from congress and exhibition centres
PCOs and DMCs have a written sustainability policy
Exhibition centres have sustainability certification

Sustainability is taken into consideration in all events and activities organized in Helsinki. Event organizers are provided advice and help on how to handle environmental issues like: traffic, materials, energy, water, food & drink, noise, soil erosion, waste water and waste management. By offering participants in major events and congresses the chance to use public transport free of charge, the city’s decision-makers want to promote environmentally friendly modes of transport. Organizers are also encouraged to consider social legacy activities. Additional visibility is given to those who run their events well.

Yes No
Has the CVB established and is implementing a destination sustainability strategy?
Does the destination regularly measure and report on sustainable destination progress?
Does the CVB support or lead local sustainability training for cities MICE industry?
Does the CVB support or local authorities provide incentives or funding for organisations wanting to gain sustainability certification or issue a sustainability reports
Does the CVB provide free or subsidized public transport passes for major conventions?
Does CVB/DMO provide clients with ideas and resources to support the local community?

Blog Articles

Other Destination Rankings for 2018