Kone Foundation measured its carbon footprint: grantees’ flights for work purposes constituted more than half of the Foundation’s emissions

Kone Foundation investigated the carbon footprint of its entire operations. The study assessed the emissions resulting from the commutes of Kone Foundation’s grantees, residents and staff, as well as the emissions from the Foundation’s properties and from events and acquisitions. The study will help the Foundation to find ways to reduce emissions in the future.

According to a study carried out by Green Carbon Finland, Kone Foundation’s carbon footprint totals 1,137 equivalent tonnes of CO2. The calculation was performed according to the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, which is the most common standard used in the calculation of the carbon footprint of companies and organisations.

Although the carbon footprint was calculated for 2020, in matters affected by the COVID19 pandemic, the data used was that from 2019. This provided a result that it will make sense to compare the carbon footprint with in the coming years.

“Through its activities, Kone Foundation wants to contribute to building an ecologically sustainable Finland, and we also encourage our grantees and residents to take ecological considerations into account in their own work. Measuring our carbon footprint helps both us and the people we fund to understand where our emissions come from and how we can reduce them,” says Ilona Herlin, Vice Chairperson of Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees.


Emissions from domestic flights were a surprise

In 2020, Kone Foundation funded the work of professionals in research and the arts by a total that is equivalent to approximately 600 work years. The study examined grantees’ purchases, their commutes between home and work, as well as their travels for work purposes, such as trips to conferences, performances or for fieldwork.

According to the study, grantees’ travels for work purposes accounted for a total of 62% of the Foundation’s carbon footprint. The emissions from travelling mainly came from flights: 57% of the carbon footprint resulted from the grantees’ flights, and domestic flights alone accounted for 28% of the Foundation’s total carbon footprint.

The grantees’ commutes between work and home (8.3%) and purchases (6.1%) accounted for a significantly lower share of the emissions.

“We are a little surprised that the share of domestic flights was so high. During the study, we also asked grantees for suggestions on steps that Kone Foundation could take to reduce emissions from commuting. Many of the responses emphasised encouraging people to work remotely and providing funding for environmentally friendly forms of travel. We want to offer clear operating models for this, and our funding applications for projects, for example, already allow you to budget for slow travel,” says Kone Foundation’s Executive Director Ulla Tuomarla.

There were significant differences from one respondent to the other in the emissions from commuting and from travel for work purposes. In both categories, researchers had, on average, higher emissions than artists.


Saari Residence invests in ecological sustainability

Kone Foundation maintains the international Saari Residence for artists and researchers in Mynämäki, Finland. The study also looked at the emissions resulting from the residents’ travels to the Saari Residence and back home. Only 19% of them travelled by air, yet flights caused 91% of all the residents’ travel emissions.

“The proportion of people traveling by air is relatively low, because we grant financial support for slow and lower-emission travel even to those coming to the residence from distant countries. This is part of the Saari Residence’s ecologically sustainable residence activities. Our goal is to make sustainable practices a part of the residence’s everyday life. At the beginning of 2021, the residence started building the EcoCompass environmental system, which will help us reduce the environmental impact of our operations and harmonise the residence’s practices,” says Jaana Eskola, Coordinator of Ecological Residency Programme at the Saari Residence.

The calculation of the carbon footprint included emissions resulting from the following things at the Saari Residence: the properties and property renovations, employees’ commutes, residents’ travels, events, purchases and cars. The Saari Manor has been extensively renovated in recent years and, consequently, the study showed that the renovations accounted for 13% of Kone Foundation’s carbon footprint.