Saimaan Tukipalvelut Oy is a company owned by cities. The company provides real estate cleaning, food and property maintenance services to its owners, the municipalities of South Karelia and the South Karelia Welfare Region. Saimaan Tukipalvelu's interest in carbon footprint calculations started from the owners’ sustainability targets, and the initial idea was to determine the greenhouse gas emissions of the food served by Saimaan Tukipalvelut.
"We quickly found out that our organization's understanding of the subject was in a low level. The articles were full of different terms, such as carbon dioxide equivalent and carbon dioxide. Together as a team, we agreed that we first needed to better understand what the different terms mean, what is relevant and what is not. We wanted to find a trainer for this," says Elina Särmälä, Service Manager at Saimaan Tukipalvelut.
Elina searched for suitable trainers online, compared different providers, and decided to contact OpenCO2net because the company and its team seemed reliable and competent. At the beginning of the cooperation, Saimaan Tukipalvelut ordered a two-hour carbon footprint training, focusing specifically on food, raw materials and their emissions. Saimaan Tukipalvelut team was very satisfied with the training, and after the training they started working on CO2 calculations for recipes using their ERP system. However, the company soon realized that the menu is only one part of the emissions calculation, and that factors such as food transport and electricity consumption contribute to the carbon footprint. The company decided to expand the calculation, and make emissions calculating and monitoring part of their strategy, and committing to targets at the company level. Following this decision, Saimaa Support Services commissioned a further workshop from OpenCO2net to discuss the topic with the management team. The workshop discussed which aspects of Saimaan Tukipalvelut operations are likely to be the most significant sources of emissions and where particular attention should be paid. After the workshop, the company's carbon footprint calculation, including scopes 1, 2 and 3, was started. The calculation was done with the OpenCO2.net carbon footprint calculation tools by OpenCO2net experts.
"I have nothing but good things to say about the carbon footprint calculation and the cooperation. Before the project started, I was wondering how on earth we were going to get all the data together, but in the end, it wasn't as bad as it seemed. The team at OpenCO2net advised, helped, and supported us in the data collection process. We got a good impression of the whole company and its employees, and we know that the calculation was done accurately and reliably," says Elina Särmälä.
Saimaan Tukipalvelut Oy's carbon footprint for 2022 has now been calculated, and the next steps are already in mind. The next target is the EcoCompass certification, and a new carbon footprint training for frontline staff has already been arranged with OpenCO2net for March 2022.
"This work will definitely continue. The carbon footprint report showed us the emission sources that matter the most, and we will continue to focus on emission reductions related to thoes." Särmälä concludes.
Saimaan Tukipalvelut also have emission sources in their operations over which they have little control, such as district heating emissions, because Saimaan Tukipalvelut rents city-owned properties. Fortunately, there are also many activities where the company can reduce emissions through long-term efforts, such as the use of machinery and its optimization in a more climate-friendly direction. In addition, as the cities find new ways to reduce emissions, the greenhouse gas emissions of Saimaan Tukipalvelut will also decrease. An example of this is the use of green electricity in the buildings owned by the cities.
In tenders, the maintenance department of Saimaa Support Services has for years taken environmental factors into account as part of the selection criteria, says Maintenance Director Jarkko Kupiainen. In the area of facility and cleaning services, attention has been paid to eco-labelled cleaning products and methods in the past, but the carbon footprint calculation has further clarified the importance of different choices, says Service Director Erja Suikkanen about her division's goals.
In food services, the carbon footprint of animal-based raw materials is significant, and the difference between, for example, plant and meat protein should be actively promoted both internally and to customers in order to increase understanding of the issue. However, according to Särmälä, change in this respect is slow and it is not possible to quickly change the menu to something completely different from what people are used to. It is also important that the food tastes good and that there is as little waste as possible.
Särmälä is very happy with the cooperation with OpenCO2net.
"Thanks to the cooperation, the entire organization and management team of Saimaan Tukipalvelut have gained a better understanding of climate action, a huge amount of knowledge has been accumulated and the climate issue is now taken more seriously. Perhaps in the past, sustainability was just a topic of conversation, but now it is much more concrete in our operations, and we understand that greenhouse gas emissions must be monitored, and emission reductions must be made."
OpenCO2.net offers companies tools and assistance to determine the carbon footprints of both companies and products. Through our training, companies will gain a better understanding of climate issues and make it easier to take action to reduce emissions. Our comprehensive emissions database provides businesses with up-to-date emission factors, making it easier and faster to calculate emissions.
Picture: Saimaan Tukipalvelut Oy
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