The Bank of Finland’s operations and strategy
1.6 Managing environmental impacts: COVID-19 has cut the Bank of Finland’s emissions
In 2020 the Bank of Finland’s emissions were reduced mainly by the changes in working practices and travel habits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank has also cut emissions with changes in its general approach and with the introduction of new technologies in the workplace. The Bank cooperates widely in the fight against climate change.
The direct environmental impacts of the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority are limited. They are mainly due to activities related to real estate, cash supply and travel.
The most effective method for the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority to decrease their environmental impact is to improve energy efficiency. As a result, CO2 emissions have declined by 40% in just over ten years.
As in previous years, real estate was the largest source of emissions in 2020: most energy is consumed in the heating and cooling of buildings and the use of electricity in them. Nevertheless, the emissions from real estate have declined the most, as there has been less need for workspace, and energy consumption has dropped as a result.
The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on travel habits might be permanent
The work of public authorities and expert organisations such as the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority involves a large number of international meetings. Consequently, business travel was common in previous years, and the emissions from this were actually increasing slightly.
However, the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 prevented personal attendance at international meetings almost completely.
Because of the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the emissions from air travel plummeted. Aviation emissions are calculated on a per passenger per kilometre basis.
The experience of the pandemic may also have a permanent effect on business travel habits.
At the start of the year remote access solutions were updated to respond to the growing need to work from home. By the end of the year, the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority had also introduced the use of electronic signatures to make it easier to work remotely.
The staff of the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority increased their use of workstation video conference systems for external contacts.
With the opportunities offered by new technology, more critical consideration is being given to which international meetings it is necessary and possible to attend in person.
Our objective is to reduce our carbon footprint. With COVID-19 our emissions fell to 31 kilos of CO2 / 1,000 euro of operating expenses. 2
2 This measurement relative to operating expenses takes account of the greenhouse gas emissions of energy consumption, personal transport, purchases and waste. We follow a total of 80 different indicators.
Environmental challenges can be addressed through cooperation
The Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority monitor the environmental impact of their operations using an environmental performance indicator that is proportionate to operating expenses and takes into account the greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption, passenger transport, procurement and waste.
The Bank has deployed 80 indicators to measure efficiency. Environmental impact is measured with reference to these indicators.
In 2020, the Bank produced 31.35 kilograms of CO2 emissions for every EUR 1,000 of operating expenses. In 2019, the corresponding figure was 50.64 kilograms.
The Bank has not offset its emissions by purchasing emission reduction units.
In 2020 the Bank of Finland continued to cooperate with the other European central banks on environmental issues. The networks of the national central banks share best practices and together address the environmental challenges that all central banks face.
A good working environment encourages creativity
The aim of the working environment development project, which began in 2019, is to evolve the working environment so that it reflects modern working methods, and to improve sustainability.
The planning of the user-oriented working environment continued in 2020. This will support workplace needs in a variety of ways: it will create well-being at work, boost productivity, encourage creativity, enable spontaneous interaction, aid concentration and provide spaces for relaxation.
When an employee has authority over and responsibility for the workplace, this has a positive effect on their experience as an employee. In the sustainable workplace, outbound materials are recycled and there are sufficient space and adequate facilities for the different tasks.
The staff of the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority are developing our working environment together. Having a say helps everyone to adopt new working methods and to prosper.