Sustainability Science Days 2019 (Thu 9 – Fri 10, May, 2019)
Making use of sustainability science

The Sustainability Science Days is a conference organized jointly by Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and Aalto Sustainability Hub (ASH). The focus of the days is on the usefulness of sustainability science for decision making on various arenas – the political sphere, companies, and institutions of higher education.

The thematic focus of the days is on sustainable consumption and production, which is the Sustainable Development Goal # 12 (SDG) where Finland’s performance according to the SDG needs to be considerably improved. The Sustainability Science Days will address the questions of science-based decision-making and the practical uses of insights from sustainability science in consumption and production. The Sustainability Science Days consist of several events.

Programme overview


Thu, May 9

Fri, May 10


Academic conference
Aalto Campus, Otaniemi

Sustainability in University Strategies
Helsinki city centre campus, Language center


Key note session

Academic conference
Aalto Campus, Otaniemi

Panel discussion in Finnish /Suomenkielinen yleisötilaisuus:
Lentomatkustamisen vähentäminen ja ilmastokompensaatiot: ostettu omatunto vai suunta kohti hiilineutraaliutta?
Keskustakampus, Helsinki, Tiedekulma


Panel discussion
Making use of sustainability science in the European Parliament?
Helsinki city centre campus, Think Corner
Meeting of Sustainable Development forum of Finnish Universities
Helsinki city centre campus, Think Corner

Watch the recorded events online:

Thursday 9.5.2019
Un­der­gradu­ate Centre, Aalto University, Otaniemi, Espoo

Programme overview

8.30 Coffee, registration:

Registration and cloackroom: Undergraduate center Otakaari 1, Y wing, 1st floor
Coffee: Otakaari 1, Y wing, Aalto Hall lobby 2nd floor (Y 202, hall A)

9.00 – 9.20

Opening of the event

Prof. Minna Halme (Director of Aalto Sustainability Hub) and Prof. Anne Toppinen (Director of HELSUS)

Aalto hall (Y202, Hall A) 2nd floor

9.30 – 11.45

Parallel sessions I

Session 1: Sustainability transformations in the large-scale tree plantation sector (Room Y307a)
Session 2: Innovations in Sustainable Food Systems (Room Y124)
Session 3: Transition towards a low-carbon society - future considerations (Room Y203)
Session 4: Energy humanities (Room U119 DE­LOITTE)
Session 5: Evidence based policy or Policy based evidence I (Room U270 U8)

New Global -event (Room Y309b)

11.45–12.45 Lunch (at your own cost)

Welcome address

Ossi Naukkarinen, Vice president of research, Aalto University

Key note presentations

Prof. Erika Kramer-Mbula, University of Johannesburg (virtual speech)
Prof. Derk Loorbach, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Aalto hall (Y202, Hall A) 2nd floor

14.00–14.30 Coffee break

Parallel sessions II

Session 6: Degrowth and postgrowth (Aalto-sali / Aalto-hall)
Session 7: Values, Social Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Core at Sustainable Food Systems of The Future? (Room Y124)
Session 8: Un­der­stand­ing, chal­len­ging and chan­ging en­ergy prac­tices (Room U119 DE­LOITTE)
Session 9: Towards a low-carbon society - Implementation and assessment (Room Y203)
Session 10: Big data methods: what is the contribution to Sustainability Science? (Room M1 M232)
Session 11: Evidence based policy or Policy based evidence II (Room U270 U8)

16.45 Mingling, snacks
18.00 Transition by metro from Otaniemi to Kaisaniemi for the evening session

18.45 – 20.30

MEP panel: Mak­ing use of sustainability science in the European Par­lia­ment?

The Sustainable Science Days 2019 will start at Aalto Campus in Otaniemi, Espoo with scientific parallel sessions and keynote presentations by international guest speakers. The sessions include presentations from researchers, commentaries from extra-academic stakeholder, as representatives of practice. Scholarly debate with the audience is invited. The sessions are convened by pairs of scientific leaders, with one from Aalto University, and one from the University of Helsinki with an invited commentator.

Key note presentations

Un­der­gradu­ate Centre, Aalto Uni­versity, Otan­iemi, Es­poo (Otakaari 1): Aalto hall (Y202, Hall A) 2nd floor

Follow online:

Prof. Derk Loorbach: How sustainability trans­itions research guides and ac­cel­er­ates sys­temic change

In his keynote, prof. Loorbach will present the framework of sustainability transitions and transition governance. He will explain how researchers can use these approaches to actively engage in systemic change and help guide and accelerate sustainability transitions through experimental, reflexive and collaborative research. He will illustrate how to become a transformative researcher though examples from his work on transition in biodiversity, mobility and energy.


Due to force majeure circumstances, Associate Professor Erika Kraemer-Mbula will be giving her keynote speech virtually.

As­soc. Pro­fessor Erika Kramer-Mbula: In­nov­at­ive solu­tions to global sustainability chal­lenges: Ap­proaches from and for low-in­come con­texts

The global sustainability challenge calls for fundamental changes in the way we organise our social, economic and governance systems. Innovative solutions - new approaches, new instruments and new capabilities appear to be central to this process. However, potential solutions are often looked through the lens of what is happening at the ‘technology frontier’. As a result, innovative solutions from low-income contexts remain largely underestimated and often overlooked. This presentation will discuss innovation for transformative change in the context of emerging economies, with a focus on African countries. It will look at shifts that are starting to take place, such as developments in manufacturing modalities as well as the transformative potential of the informal economy.

More on our keynote speakers

More information:
Annukka Jyrämä
+358 50 373 2238

18.45 – 20.30, MEP panel: Making use of sustainability science in the European Parliament?

ThinkCorner stage (Yliopistonkatu 4)

In anticipation of the elections for the European Parliament (May 26th, 2019) and of the Finnish chairmanship of the European Union starting in summer 2019, the Sustainability Science Days will address the questions of science-based decision making and the practical uses of insights from sustainability science in consumption and production especially in the European contexts on Thursday evening of the conference. In this session, candidates for the European Parliament´s elections will be challenged by Aalto and UH students with burning urgency to see change happening. How is scientific knowledge taken into use within political spheres? How can we facilitate the dialogue between different sectors of the society? Considering the poor performance of European countries in regard to SDG # 12, how will the next EP speed up the transition towards more sustainable patterns of consumption?

Participants of the MEP panel:

  • Sirpa Pietikäinen, EPP
  • Heidi Hautala, Greens-EFA
  • Mia Haglund, GUE/NGL
  • Nils Torvalds, ALDE
  • Mikkel Näkkäläjärvi, PES
  • Arto Luukkanen, ECR

The list of participants of the panel will be completed during spring 2019

More information:
Maria McPartlin
+358 50 345 84 73

Friday 10.5.2019
University of Helsinki, city center campus

Programme overview


Doc­toral stu­dent meetup

(ThinkCorner Lounge (Yliopistonkatu 4, 2nd floor))

8.30 – 12.00

Sustainability in university strategies - Towards a new era

(Festive Hall of the Language Center (Fabianinkatu 26, 3rd floor, hall 301))

Coffee served at 8.30, event starts at 9.00

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch (at own cost)

Discussion event (in Finnish):

Lentomatkustamisen vähentäminen ja ilmastokompensaatiot: ostettu omatunto vai suunta kohti hiilineutraaliutta?
(ThinkCorner Stage (Yliopistonkatu 4))


Meeting of Sustainable Development forum of Finnish Universities

(ThinkCorner Lounge (Yliopistonkatu 4, 2nd floor))


9.00-12.00 Doctoral student meetup

ThinkCorner, 2nd floor (Yliopistonkatu 4)

Sustainability Science Days 2019 supports the making use of sustainability science. As the event has a strong focus on researcher-meets-practice dialogues, we are matching doctoral students with the best possible practitioners. If your work has any links to sustainability, when defined through all of its dimensions: ecological, economic, social and cultural (covering fields from environmental science to economics, philosophy, politics, arts etc.), this event is for you!

Doctoral students from both Aalto and University of Helsinki are welcome to participate in this stakeholder mingling on Friday, 10  May in the morning. This event introduces you to your key stakeholders – you will get a unique possibility to discuss your work and get new kind of instruction for your work. Last year this event created several mentoring relationships and on-going collaboration.

How to apply?

You are invited to apply by sending a one-page motivation letter, providing 1) an overview of how your research links to sustainable development, and 2) your expectations and needs for support from practical actors. How the event could support you in building your expertise and understanding in your research, and how could you engage with practitioners? You can apply even if you participated the session last year, as the participants and the concept are different this year.

Please submit your motivation letter no later than on 6 March  to (Aalto students) or (Uni Helsinki students). Title your email as “Science Days doctoral presentation”. The session organizing committee will go through the letters, and those selected will be informed by 16 March. Maximum 30 participants will be selected.

More information:
Annukka Jyrämä,
Maija Taka,
Inari Helle,

9.00 – 12.00 Sustainability in university strategies - Towards a new era

Festive Hall of the Language Center (Fabianinkatu 26, 3rd floor, hall 301)

The event is fully booked! We recommed coming early, and also following the event through a high-quality live stream (find link below).

An additional room has been booked for following the stream in Language centre: room 115 (1st floor).

Due to force majeure circumstances, Ms. Tucker will be giving her keynote speech virtually.

8.30-9.00 Coffee
9.00 Opening by Vice President Tom Böhling, UH, chair of the session 9.00-11.00
9.10 Research and Higher Education in implementing Agenda 2030 – The Finnish way
Senior advisor Riina Vuorento, Ministry of Education and Culture
9.30 Sustainability strategy of the University of Helsinki
President Jari Niemelä, UH
9.50 Aalto Living Strategy towards 2030 – how sustainability can deliver impact
Vice President Ossi Naukkarinen, Aalto University
10.10 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking – SDG´s in Universities as basis for ranking
CEO Laura Tucker, Vertigo Ventures (virtual speech)

The presentations will be followed by a panel
General Secretary Liisa Rohweder, WWF Finland as the moderator

Also Dean, Professor in Corporate Environmental Management, Hanna-Leena Pesonen, University of Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics will participate in the panel.

12.00 End of session

Session description

Higher education is among the most influential sectors when we are to face the contemporary grand challenges. Mankind has already entered into the anthropocene, and climate change, population growth and inequalities are elevating the pressure to find societal and technological solutions. Universities need to be powerful change agents towards this new era. This is indicated by the fact that sustainability is becoming a criteria for global university rankings. In Finland, higher education sector has taken some soft steps to steer the focus and hence to aid the society towards sustainability. While institutions like the Ministry of Education and Culture has been responding to these challenges, further action is needed.

University of Helsinki and Aalto University are in the midst of renewing their strategies for the next decade. The aim of this session is to take a holistic approach to universities´ strategies, explore financial and other steering mechanisms and management systems to support the transition towards more sustainable and impactful operations. Focus of the session is on strengthening universities’ role as drivers of sustainability. In addition to addresses by the leaders of the respective Finnish Universities, in the session, UN´s Sustainable Development Goals will be further explored by Times Higher Education (THE) explaining their recently launched THE Impact, a ranking measuring universities delivering SDGs. Also various examples will further spark the discussion on universities’ responsibility to take action.

Follow the session online

More information:
Meri Löyttyniemi
+358 50 313 7549

13.00 – 16.00, Discussion event (in Finnish): Lentomatkustamisen vähentäminen ja ilmastokompensaatiot: ostettu omatunto vai suunta kohti hiilineutraaliutta?

ThinkCorner stage (Yliopistonkatu 4)

Seuraa tapahtumaa striimin kautta

Globaaleista kasvihuonekaasupäästöistä yli 2 % muodostuu lentoliikenteestä, joka on kasvanut rajusti maailmantalouden kriisivuotta 2009 lukuun ottamatta yhtämittaisesti jo vuosikymmeniä. IAET:n tilastojen mukaan vuonna 2017 lennettiin maailmanlaajuisesti yli 35 miljoonaa lentoa tuottaen 859 miljoonaa tonnia CO2-päästöjä. Kasvihuonekaasujen valtavan määrän lisäksi lentoliikenteen päästöt ovat erityisen ongelmallisia, koska yläilmakehässä ne vaikuttavat maanläheisiä päästöjä voimakkaammin. Lentomatkustamisen ilmastovaikutusten aiempaa laajemman tiedostamisen seurauksena henkilökohtaista ilmastopolitiikkaansa pohtivien yksittäisten ihmisten lisäksi kestävyysstrategioitaan hiovat organisaatiot, ml. yliopistot, joutuvat enenevässä määrin tarkastelemaan lentomatkustamisen käytäntöjään kriittisesti. Lentopäästöt ovat erittäin merkittävä osa yliopistojen hiilijalanjälkeä, ja sen pienentämiseksi halutaan tarkastella keinovalikoimaa liikkumistapojen kehittämiseksi.

Helsingin yliopiston Kestävyystieteen instituutti ja Aalto-yliopiston Sustainability Hub järjestävät yleisötilaisuuden, jossa tarkastellaan lentomatkustamista, keinoja vähentää sen negatiivisia ympäristövaikutuksia  ja etenkin jäljellejäävän ilmastovaikutuksen kompensaatiota. Asiantuntijoiden ja lentomatkustamisen toimijoiden paneelikeskustelun lisäksi tilaisuudessa yleisöllä on mahdollisuus osallistua keskusteluun lentokompensaatioiden etiikasta, taloudesta ja ekologisesta vaikuttavuudesta.

Tilaisuus järjestetään Helsingin yliopiston Tiedekulmassa osana kaksipäiväistä Sustainability Science Days -konferenssia.

Paneelikeskusteluiden osallistujat:

  • Prof. Annukka Vainio, HELSUS
  • Pj Niklas Kaskeala, Protect Our Winters Finland ry
  • Toimitusjohtaja Michael Lettenmeier, D-mat oy
  • Yliopistonlehtori Nina Janasik, HY
  • Tutkimusjohtaja Minttu Jaakkola, Maj ja Tor Nesslingin säätiö
  • Vanhempi yliopistonlehtori Mikko Jalas, Aalto-yliopisto
  • Viestintä- ja yhteiskuntavastuujohtaja Arja Suominen, Finnair
  • Manager Kari Hämekoski, NEFCO
  • Eemeli Tsupari, CO2Esto

Alustukset keskusteluille:

  • Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies LUCSUS: director Emily Boyd, senior lecturer Kimberly Nicholas, associate senior lecturer Wim Carton
  • erikoistutkija Johanna Niemistö, SYKE
  • Prof. Markku Ollikainen, HY

Tilaisuuden ohjelma


Tilaisuuden avaus

13.20 Paneelikeskustelu: Yksilöt ja vapaa-ajan matkustaminen
14.00 Paneelikeskustelu: Työmatkustaminen ja organisaatiot
15.00 Paneelikeskustelu: Lentokompensaatiot

Paula Schönach
+358 294 157 827

16.00 –17.30 Meeting of Sustainable Development forum of Finnish Universities

ThinkCorner, 2nd floor (Yliopistonkatu 4)

Finnish SD-forum in higher education (“yliopistojen Keke-foorumi”) connects Finnish universities´ sustainability managers and persons responsible for advancing sustainable development in higher education. The meeting is open to stakeholder representatives and staff and faculty members of Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences interested in SD.

More information:
Meri Löyttyniemi
puh. +358 50 313 7549