The move is one building block for a new strategy launch, following a capital increase for the international development institution from Nordic governments in 2020.
The Nordic Development Fund, based in Helsinki, is the latest organisation to be awarded WWF Finland’s Green Office certification following a revamp of sustainability processes across its operations.
Certification indicates that the environmental management system of an organisation is implemented in compliance with various external criteria, and that it is committed to improving sustainability.
“Outside in the world, we’re a hundred percent climate financing. But with this initiative we have the opportunity to recognise our sustainability efforts also closer to home,” Juha Seppälä, NDF’s environmental and social safeguards specialist, said.
The move was one building block for a new strategy launch, following a capital increase for the international development institution from Nordic governments in 2020, he added.
WWF’s Finnish branch launched Green Office in 2002 to encourage workplaces of all sizes in Finland to operate more sustainably. More than 150 organisations have been awarded certification, including companies, universities, ministries and government agencies, among others.
NDF focused on three areas where the organisation believed it could make the biggest impact: developing environmental communications, improving energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint.
The office sustainability team offered encouragement through measures such as recycling coaching. NDF personnel were also encouraged to implement similar measures in their own homes.
Boosting energy efficiency significantly required measures more substantial than just turning down the heating and turning off unnecessary lighting. The entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in the offices rented by NDF were upgraded.
To achieve carbon footprint reductions, NDF switched to a carbon-neutral courier for document deliveries, further encouraged public transport and e-bike use, and formalised remote working options for staff.
Seppälä conceded that it is hard to achieve large carbon emissions reductions across all of NDF’s activities, given the organisation relies on international air travel to get staff into the field. However, working practices adopted in the COVID pandemic and still part of the daily routine now, have helped.
“Even though we can’t entirely eliminate travel, there is now a new sense of normalcy around getting onto a Teams meeting with a local beneficiary on the other side of the world,” he said.
NDF will receive another audit by WWF Finland in three years’ time to assess further progress in implementing sustainability measures.