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The perspective of sustainable economy is broad and linked to a number of different SDGs. Below are the main SDGs related to poverty, work and livelihoods, consumption, industry and innovation. In this section on sustainable economy, we also discuss the themes of sustainable housing, construction and traffic.

Helsinki’s local government finances remain strong, although rising expenditure is threatening the balance. The changing age structure and growing need for investments increase expenses. Growing tax revenue and land property income support future development. The pressure created by the ageing of the population falls on Helsinki’s economy, which is responsible for its own health and social services as a result of the health and social services reform.

The economies of Finland and Helsinki have already largely recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020, which is reflected in high employment rates and rising wages in Helsinki, among other things. However, 2022 proved to be another exceptional year. Russia’s attack on Ukraine had a significant impact on Helsinki as a business environment. The longer-term effects of the war on the geopolitical position of Helsinki, for example, are difficult to fully assess. Helsinki’s accessibility by air has deteriorated due to the Russian ban on overflights, which is having a negative impact on the development of tourism. The Finnish economy grew in 2022 thanks to a good start to the year, but the outlook for 2023 is already bleaker. Rapid inflation has undermined the purchasing power of households and the confidence of consumers and entrepreneurs in the economy, portending a decline in demand, company performance and employment rates. It is expected that the economy will resume slow growth in 2024.

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is already well under way, but new major problems have emerged, notably rapid inflation and rising interest rates, as well as labour shortages in many sectors. Economic growth has slowed down and the economy entered a recession in spring 2023. However, the tax base in Helsinki is strong, as the diverse economic structure based on a high level of competence and the large proportion of high-income residents are likely to protect Helsinki from the worst blows.

Livelihoods and employment

Helsinki’s challenges have to do with relative poverty caused by high living standards and costs, perceived income adequacy and increasing poverty of families with children. Helsinki is better placed than most other municipalities and cities in Finland to cope with future challenges, even though demographic changes are beginning to hamper growth in Helsinki, too.

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Industry and innovation

The most important condition for the vitality of Helsinki is a well-functioning city. The bedrock of competitiveness is formed by high-quality services, cleanliness, accessibility, safety, liveliness, equality and other things that increase the quality of life of citizens. Every division and individual employee of the City of Helsinki influences the city’s vitality with their daily work.

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Housing and communities

Living neighbourhoods offer the opportunity for a good and active life, based on safe and pleasant living and urban space. Good planning and smooth movement ensure a well-functioning daily life. An inspiring, high-quality and diverse cultural life is a key part of the city’s vitality and comfort and essential for well-being.

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Sustainable urban structure

Sustainable infrastructure is the foundation of the city. Helsinki should still invest especially in environmental health, climate-friendly and adaptive planning, promoting clean technologies and nature-based solutions.

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Responsible procurement and circular economy

Responsible procurement reduces negative environmental impacts and promotes positive impacts. The city will also be able to support the creation of responsible markets by leading the way in the development and implementation of new solutions that are energy- and material-efficient and promote the circular economy and the preservation of biodiversity.

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Sustainable tourism, events and urban marketing

Sustainability has been put at the forefront of the development of tourism, events and urban marketing in Helsinki. Responsibility is emphasised in the development of tourism and in the Roadmap for Events. In 2020–2021, Helsinki is also co-ordinating the Carbon-neutral Tourism project, whose the long-term goal is to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and increasing energy efficiency in the tourism sector.

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Indicators of economic sustainability

Here you’ll find graphic illustrations on how economic sustainability is advancing in Helsinki. You’ll find indicators by theme such as livelihoods and employment or sustainable infrastructure. The indicators are updated regularly as new data is collected.