Environmental responsibility is becoming increasingly important in sports. The Finnish Ice Hockey Elite League has analysed greenhouse gas emissions from its activities in co-operation with Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT). Lahti Pelicans, one of the teams in the league, seized the environmental challenge, aiming to become the first carbon-neutral ice hockey team in Finland.
Lahti has a vision to thrive as a bold environmental city and it encourages diverse operators to join the environmental effort. According to the City of Lahti’s Environmental Director Saara Vauramo, the ice hockey team’s initiative solidly demonstrates the significance of environmental responsibility. The overall aim is to encourage ice hockey fans to make environmentally friendly choices.
- Nearly 90% of Lahti’s citizens live within 5 km of the city centre, and it would be quite an achievement to get supporters to come to watch ice hockey games on foot or by bike, says Vauramo.
Pelicans setting an example for other ice hockey teams
The research work, led by LUT Sustainability Science Assistant Professor Ville Uusitalo, will be completed in mid-March. According to Uusitalo, life cycle modelling can easily be applied to the activities of different sports teams.
- Climate change reports are so alarming that we need everybody’s input. For us this is an interesting example of how we can encourage sports teams to join the effort to tackle climate change and also influence supporters. We want to show that this is not rocket science and that even small, concrete acts have an impact, explains Uusitalo.
Pelicans Managing Director Tomi-Pekka Kolu highlights the hockey team’s extensive junior activities.
- Today, Pelicans offer junior ice hockey activities to 1,500 children and young people, and floorball to 1,000 people. In addition to those getting involved in our activities, we also reach their families and people in the audience. It is important for us to influence the entire community, and I hope that we can also attract other league teams to join the environmental effort, says Kolu.
Carbon neutrality an asset in the EGCA2021 competition
The carbon footprint of Lahti Symphony Orchestra was previously analysed in co-operation with LUT University. According to the orchestra's General Manager, Teemu Kirjonen, the aim of carbon neutral operations has been in existence for a couple of years, but reaching the audience still is the greatest challenge. Carbon-neutral Lahti Symphony Orchestra has also attracted international interest, and the project has received an innovation award.
The City of Lahti is running for the European Green Capital Award (EGCA2021). Nine cities from across Europe participate in the competition. The finalists will be announced in April 2019, and the winner will be selected in Oslo in June. Lahti’s asset in the competition is the ability to provide environmental solutions that are applicable to other cities and different conditions, says Environmental Director Saara Vauramo.