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As a city with high consumption and living standards, Helsinki faces a major challenge in terms of ecological sustainability. On a global scale, the ecological footprint of Helsinki residents is considerable, and our consumption levels exceed the limits of the Earth’s carrying capacity. Helsinki’s consumption-based emissions are estimated to be more than double the emissions measured. On the other hand, the state of the environment in Helsinki has improved according to many indicators, and environmental protection and services like waste management and water supply are at a good level.

The aim of the City Strategy adopted in autumn 2021 is for sustainable growth to be in balance with the prevailing ecological limitations. The City plays a key role in ensuring ecological sustainability, as it is responsible for many related activities, such as local climate and environmental protection measures, maintenance of green and recreational areas, urban planning, infrastructure maintenance and construction, energy production through a subsidiary, and waste and wastewater treatment together with other municipalities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

In particular, the loads on water bodies, climate and soil have decreased in Helsinki in recent years. As the city grows, the biggest challenges for the future relate to reducing the environmental impacts of transport and construction and promoting sustainable consumption. The circular economy needs to be more strongly integrated into key processes to improve emissions and resource efficiency. The transition to a circular economy also requires significant investments. Participation, knowledge and research are needed to help solve these challenges.

Programmes and studies:

City of Helsinki Environmental Report 2021
Helsinki’s environmental attitudes survey 2022 (in Finnish)


Heavy investments have been made in recent years to mitigate climate change, and decisions that are significant for reducing the amount of emissions have been taken for several years ahead.

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Nature and biodiversity

The nature of Helsinki is diverse: forests, meadows, wetlands, shores, islands, streams and parks. There are still many quite natural habitats in the forests and on the shores of Helsinki. However, there is no clear picture of the direction of development.

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Water ecosystems

In Helsinki, clean drinking water and efficient wastewater management are available to everyone. In addition, wastewater treatment is of the highest quality. The state of the Baltic Sea has improved in recent decades, but it is still one of the most sensitive and polluted seas in the world, particularly affected by eutrophication.

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Indicators of ecological sustainability

Here you’ll find graphic illustrations on how ecological sustainability is advancing in Helsinki. You’ll find indicators by theme such as climate and energy or local nature. The indicators are updated regularly as new data is collected.