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Eco-support activity


Detailed description of the Good Practice

Eco-support activity is a concrete tool for increasing environmental awareness and responsibility at public sector workplaces. The activity is implemented by nominating, training and assisting eco-supporters to working units. These motivated people advice and encourage fellow workers and whole organisation to become aware of environmental impacts of their work, learn and adopt new environmentally responsible everyday practises, save natural resources and money. The activity was started in the City of Helsinki year 2006 and has spread to whole organisation: there are already more than 500 eco-supporters of which 450 are trained. The goal is to train an eco-supporter to every working unit. Anyone can become an eco-supporter.
The positive change in environmental attitudes is seen as environmentally friendly practical actions e.g. in waste management and recycling, decrease on paper consumption, energy and water saving and green procurements and mobility. Tools for evaluating eco-support activity’s economical and environmental impacts are under development.
The eco-support activity can be linked to existing environmentally management systems and is an excellent practise to root environmental policies and strategies to grass-root level. Uniform criteria are been finalised. When eco-support activity is spreading to other cities, criteria will unite and guarantee the quality of the practise.

awareness raising
ecological education

Objectives of the Good Practice

The objective is to raise environmental awareness among municipal employees, to learn to recognize the environmental impacts of ones work and to find more environmentally friendly practises.

Participants of the Good Practice

City of Helsinki
The target group of the eco-support activity is all employees of the City of Helsinki

Target group of the Good Practice

The target group of the eco-support activity is all employees of the City of Helsinki

Funding of the Good Practice

City of Helsinki has been covering the expenses of the trainings e.g. room rents. Environment Centre has been leading the development of the activity since 2006 by engaging a full-time co-ordinator for the activity. This has been funded mainly by EU-projects but the target is that the support service is well-established practice basing on steady jobs.

More Details of the Good Practice

Anyone can become an eco-supporter. Previous education, background or environmental expertise is not needed, it is more important to be enthusiastic, motivated and willing to learn and share experience. Eco-supporters take two-day long basic training, get a handbook, monthly newsletter, have access to intranet-pages and are assisted by eco-support co-ordinator. Advanced and continuous trainings are to be panned.
Sustainable change needs both personal and organisational learning. In present and future development work of the activity, challenging processes of learning and change and tools of support are especially taken into account. Eco-supporters’ encouraging role in their working units is based on peer-to-peer support and networking. The activity is based on continuing face-to-face support e.g. work unit consulting by co-ordinators is going to be planned.
The activity is empowering people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development as they learn that every choice matters and really has impacts on the state of the environment.
Eco-support activity is channelling environmental concern and willingness of individuals and organisations to concrete actions. It makes responsible culture in working communities possible and through. When mainstreaming environmental issues and climate change, eco-support activity and eco-supporters’ possibilities to adopt and spread practical actions in their work communities further sustainable development.
Eco-support activity is a tool to root new environmental responsible working culture in public sector workplaces. The activity is integrating environmental issues to all activities in the municipality, promoting everyday practises and saving natural resources. Eco-support activity is aiming to fill the gap between the practical everyday actions and the environmental policies and strategies, e.g. climate change action plan, of the organisation.
Eco-support activity brings effective ways to react with concrete actions to current economical situation, the climate change and the state of the Baltic Sea. Economical and environmental impacts will be evaluated by climate- and other calculators, that are been developed.
The practise is easily modified and adopted to local circumstances. Eco-support activity has awakened a lot of interest in public administration, both in municipalities and state organisations and even in the enterprises. The activity can easily be linked to existing environmentally management systems and its grass-root networks and tools of support are remarkable.
Eco-supporters are actively giving advice to fellow workers via e-mail, making written instructions about waste management and energy saving and taking environmental aspects to working unit meetings. As a result two-sided printing, recycling and sorting have increased, the amount of waste has decreased and environmental aspects are taken into consideration when making procurements.
Increased environmental awareness and responsibility is not limited only to working life. The eco-support training is giving information and tips, which can be adopted in everyday life. In that way eco-support activity is reaching everyone who wants to take actions for a better environment and a healthier Baltic Sea.

Available files

Contact details

City of Helsinki
Silja Sarkkinen
+358 40 334 1628
P.O. Box 500, 00099 City of Helsinki

Data sources and references

Environmental Award 2009
UBC Commission on Environment