All campuses of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences have been awarded a Green Office certificate by the WWF. As a pilot, Kotka campus was the first to receive the certificate last year, and during spring 2019, Mikkeli, Kouvola and Savonlinna campuses also passed the assessment of WWF Finland. Green Office forms a part of Xamk’s responsibility principles and programme.
“Now that we have prepared environmental programmes and the associated goals for all campuses, we are able to fully launch our Green Office activities. A Green Office team has been set up for each campus, and all staff members and students are welcome to join the activities,” says Olli Ervaala, Director of Education Services and Responsibility.
“The goal for all campuses is to reduce electricity, heat and water consumption and the amount of waste. For example, environmentally friendly waterless urinals have been acquired at Mikkeli and Savonlinna campuses. Xamk also aims at increasing awareness among its staff and students of how to change their own ways of doing things into a more environmentally friendly direction,” Ervaala continues.
Sustainable development will be brought closer to staff’s and students’ everyday lives by means of communications, short training sessions and different kinds of events and campaigns. Xamk takes part in the Energy Saving Week and various cycling campaigns, among others.
Xamk also promotes sustainable commuting. The travel guidelines have been updated in accordance with the Green Office mindset, so that when travelling for work, public transport and Xamk’s own cars are the primary options. Some of Xamk’s cars have been replaced with electric cars, and electric-assist bicycles will be introduced on all campuses during the autumn. An electric bike is already available on Kotka campus.
“Kotka campus aims at promoting sustainable modes of transport across a broad spectrum. This goal is also associated with the preparations to move Kotka campus to the city centre,” says Esa Partanen, who is a member of the Kotka campus Green Office working group and focused on transport issues.
Recycling opportunities on campuses
Xamk supports recycling in different ways. For example, Student Union Kaakko organises an annual “Treasure Exchange Week” on the campuses. Active students on Kotka campus have launched a leftover food cabinet, in which people can leave leftover or unused food for others to take, reducing the amount of food waste.
On Kouvola campus, a recycling room will be introduced in the autumn, allowing employees to bring office supplies and equipment – that are in good condition but that they no longer need – for others to use, or find suitable products for themselves. Recycling opportunities have been improved on Mikkeli and Savonlinna campuses by adding recycling points featuring plastic collection containers. After the summer, plastic collection will also start on Kotka and Kouvola campuses.
What is Green Office?
WWF Green Office guides workplaces to function in an environmentally responsible way. It helps offices to assess their environmental impact and create an effective environmental system involving the entire work community. Green Office guides workplaces to reduce their carbon footprint, to use natural resources wisely, and to protect biodiversity. More information on the Green Office certificate is available at https://wwf.fi/en/green-office/what-is-green-office/.
Currently, a total of 143 organisations in Finland are members of the Green Office network, including 382 offices and nearly 60,000 employees. In other countries, 108 organisations are committed to Green Office.
For more information, please contact
Olli Ervaala, Director of Education Services, tel.
044 702 8508, olli.ervaala (at) xamk.fi