Building greener future together

What means green thinking, and is it a trend or not?

Xamk Green Office –team’s year meeting 2019 (picture: Xamk’s Linkedin)

Green Thinking and living are not only about recycling and buying goods which are marked as green. It involves more, it involves individual and the community, which lives friendly to the natural environment and generates a sustainable life.

We can claim to be “pro-environment”, but essential factors need to be addressed before being capable of living such a life. The trend is also laying in the word green; the colour green in general can have a significant amount of impact in our daily life, such as moods and emotions.

People thinking of green, we are associating it with, e.g. forest, grass and trees and in general the nature itself; but the colour also represents tranquility, good luck, health and even jealousy. It is a calm colour and proof that it can improve personal reading ability.

Green has much positive impact on human beings, but at the same time, we need to question carefully; how our green or non-green behaviour is affecting the environment.

Nowadays, people think a greener lifestyle is healthy, it is proven to be correct, but it also involves some exceptions, and it also means a different mindset. It cannot be done in one day; it needs some education and some re-thinking.

The most important is the mindset of people, give them a tag-line, which is selling and appearing, and people straight away will see themselves as the proven impact on changes. If using a bike to lose weight, it is good for health issues, but also CO2 levels decrease, and that is a start.

Green Thinking can start at home, by teaching kids how to be sustainable, develop their skills to be the next generation of pro-environment. It is that simple – and it can start at home – plus it will make an impact for the future.

I take re-useable mug always with me – it helps saving environment (picture: Angelika Polak)

Also, at Xamk, we work on many levels to improve the overall sustainability together with the staff, students, partners and other actors in Finland and from abroad. The range of sustainable activity includes various RDI-projects, teaching, local and international co-operation and Green Office team’s actions.

Commitment to sustainable development is outlined in Xamk’s strategy.  For campus users (students, employees and visitors) this is shown by sustainable everyday-solutions made possible.

For instance, most of Xamk’s restaurants have Nordic Swan Ecolabel. The label ensures that environmental issues in restaurants are managed in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. To reduce food waste, customers can, for example, buy food at more affordable prices 15 minutes before the end of lunch at all restaurants. Efforts in reducing disposable dishes are being made, and so customers pay less buy purchasing coffee in your own cup instead of a disposable take-away cup.

Recycling bins ordered by Green Office as an answer to Kouvolan kampus need. (picture: Angelika Polak)

Xamk has chosen sustainable mobility as one of its key Green Office themes. Xamk has, for instance, replaced some of the house cars with electric ones.

Another way to reduce the carbon footprint is by carpooling. Employees can request and offer carpooling to their colleagues in the staff intranet.

For inner-city travels, walking, cycling and even skate-boarding save nature and the wallet. Campus users can lend regular or electric bicycles for fast and smooth commuting. If own bike needs maintenance, there are maintenance equipment available on campuses.

Biking is practiced all year long, also during winter (Kouvola kampus, winter 2019, picture: Angelika Polak)

Green Office has a wide range of measures, including influencing green-policy of Xamk and bringing sustainable solutions into real estates and during new purchases. And also by organizing as well as joining various eco-friendly actions such as Treasure exchange week, Kilometrikisa – Bicycling competition, Amazing Race, Earth hour and many others.

Often those activities, through common goal and fun, encourage participants to re-think their daily habits. This year Winter bicycle competition was a big success – 86 participants from all four campuses, both staff and students, bicycled together almost 13000 kilometres. Kilometrikisa – kilometres competition is a playful competition between any kind of team (e.g. work community), where its participants write down their cycled kilometres (including leisure & holiday bicycled kilometres) to increase their team’s score.

Average of the team members 175,4 km/person
Biked day per team member 17,30 days/person
Saved gasoline 908 litres
Saved CO2 2270 kg

Xamk, among other Finnish big institutions, takes part in WWF Green Office – environmental management system for organizations to help each of them reduce their carbon footprint, use natural resources sustainably and support biodiversity. Kotka campus has received the Green Office certificate in 2018 and the other three campuses in the spring of 2019, which shows that our steps are going towards a greener future.

All Xamk campuses have their Green office teams and all Xamk’s staff and students of Xamk can participate in Green Office team’s activities or join the fantastic group. Also, anyone can bring contribution to the future planning of green sustainable activities of Xamk. Some of the concepts are implemented into campus reality. But it all starts with the earlier mentioned thinking – and more specifically green thinking.

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