Wednesday, February 23, 2022
A Finnish sports club HIFK was founded in 1897. In addition to ice hockey, there are eight different sports in its portfolio. HIFK Hockey plays its home games in an arena called Nordis and rents these premises from Jääkenttäsäätiö. Thereby, the ice hockey team is indirectly a user of EcoCompass (an environmental management system) and a few years ago, it decided to do even more for the environment and climate. With responsibility, the motto of HIFK is that “we can achieve more together”.
In the operations of a sports club, emissions are mostly related to transportation and energy
A few years ago, HIFK, together with the experts from Compensate, started paying even more attention to carbon emissions and how to reduce those, as well as compensate for the rest. In 2020, HIFK started offsetting the emissions caused by transportation. “In addition, Compensate gave us very ambitious goals to reduce emissions”, says Sales Manager Raakel Koittola from HIFK. “We decided to divide these activities into smaller pieces by starting to consider how to reduce the emissions related to transportation and then by compensating those emissions we were unable to avoid. After that, we have constantly executed new initiatives. Already in the beginning, we decided that the plan related to climate actions doesn’t need to be ready at once but we develop it all the time”, Koittola describes.
With the partner who is responsible for the transportation, HIFK has considered which fuel to use. In addition, it has advised the ice hockey team to fly only if it can’t be avoided. The biggest source of emissions, in addition to transportation, is related to heating and cooling the premises. “The arena is old, but together with our landlord Jääkenttäsäätiö we aim to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint as low as possible”, says Koittola.
HIFK wants to develop responsibility activities with its partners. They form a group that makes initiatives of different kinds of concrete actions. “In addition, our cooperation with Compensate has been crucial for us to understand what’s expected of us regarding emissions.”
The players and community can also affect the carbon footprint
In Finland, team athletes haven’t so far spoken out related to topical issues the same way as individual athletes. However, responsibility topics are discussed with the ice hockey team and some of the players are really interested in this theme. For example, ice hockey player Olli Palola took part as a speaker in the HIFK webinar that was related to sustainability. HIFK has aimed to speak about the meaning of climate-friendly food and has considered if it can affect the diet of the players. Together with its partner Naturli, HIFK has, for example, arranged an event, in which chefs were cooking vegetarian burgers for players. The ingredients were not revealed beforehand. “When we then asked if they liked the food, some of the players hadn’t even realized they were eating veggie burgers,“ Koittola laughs.
Emissions are also caused by the community and fans that follow and watch the games of the sports club. However, the meaning of these emissions is not that big, as there are mostly no parking lots available and thereby, many people are using public transport. For those people who have the sports club subscription, HIFK offers a free public transportation ticket to the games via its own application. HIFK has also launched a game of responsibility that junior teams and the community are utilizing, among others. In this game, both the teams and the community can share which transportation option they used to arrive at the games. The juniors can win a one-month shift in the ice and the community a private compartment in the arena during a game. “This way, we can try to pay people’s attention to the fact that these kinds of issues really matter,“ Koittola says. “It has come to a small surprise for me that companies are interested in responsibility-related issues but individuals not that much.”
“It’s not too late to start today”
Koittola considers it important for companies to initiate their climate actions. “The journey can only begin from where we are currently. With these issues, it is really important to have someone to trust. For us, the experts of Compensate and our responsibility group have been perfect partners who demand and suggest things to us. The most important thing is to put different elements of responsibility into practice in our community. Even though I’m leading this work, concrete actions and changing our way of thinking is the responsibility of every one of us – everyone needs to commit to this.” “Our cooperation with Compensate has given us lots of research data and understanding of what we can truly impact. We want to make reasonable decisions in this market that can be considered even a bit wild. With carbon offsetting services, reliability is important so that it is not unclear whether our actions have an impact or not,” Koittola highlights. “It is a Finnish thing to do winter sports and enjoy being outdoors during the winter. If you want also in the future to play ice hockey outdoors we need to do these actions right now,” Koittola summarizes.
Did you get interested in carbon offsetting services? Compensate offers both companies and individuals an access to high integrity carbon capture. Read more about our services to companies and organizations.