Bat research and sustainability heroes

Finland ranks first in UN Global Sustainable Development Comparison

Finland ranked first in this year’s league table of sustainable development in more than 160 countries, according to a report from the UN. The annual ranking was carried out by the United Nations in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation.

According to the ranking, Finland has achieved or is close to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, health, education, water, energy, reducing inequality, peace, and the rule of law. Finland’s greatest challenges are related to the fight against climate change, the need for more sustainable consumption and production patterns and halting biodiversity loss.

Finland has found itself among the top three countries in the rankings in previous years, but this was the first time it topped the list. Just behind Finland in the rankings was Sweden in second place, with Denmark in third.

More information: Ministry for Foreign Affairs press release.

Scandic Hotels aiming at zero food waste

Scandic Hotels have worked for sustainable development since 1993. In addition to many internal policies, one of the ways to reduce food waste has been to sell leftover food using the ResQ Club app. Scandic is now expanding the service to all its hotels in Finland – as the first hotel chain.

Scandic has worked hard to minimise food waste, as the hotel chain wants to do its best to create a sustainable food system. ResQ Club is a Finnish food waste growth company that connects restaurants, hotels, cafés and grocery stores with consumers who value high-quality and affordable food as well as responsibility. Companies are able to significantly reduce their food waste with ResQ. During the five years of operation, 5.3 million portions of food have already been saved through the service.

The most popular dishes sold through ResQ have been breakfast boxes. Since 2016, more than 75,000 meals have been sold at Scandic and international hotels, which means 187,477 kg of reduced CO2 emissions.

More information on Scandic’s sustainability initiatives.

Bat Research Conference EBRS2021 in Turku

The EBRS Bat Research conference is organised every three years and has long-standing traditions, since bat researchers have met regularly ever since 1970. At the start of the 2010s, researchers from Turku decided to apply for the symposium in order to increase awareness of Finnish bat research and create new networks and cooperation opportunities.

Academy Research Fellow and Curator of the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS Thomas Lilley (picture) and Adjunct Professor Eero Vesterinen from the University of Turku were granted the right to organise the EBRS already back in 2014 in Croatia. In 2017, the congress was held in the Basque Country, but then the pandemic forced all plans to change. The EBRS was moved forward from 2020 to May 2021. At the same time, the symposium became completely virtual. Right from the start, the project was extensive and ambitious. The Finnish organisers were specialists from the University of Turku and the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS in Helsinki, but the Scientific Committee contained as many as 29 leading bat researchers from different institutes around the world. The keynote speakers came from the USA, Germany, Poland and Brazil, i.e. from different time zones. The symposium received registrations from 231 delegates, of whom 21 were Finnish. The rest were from several continents, meaning that the conference of a European organisation attracted a worldwide community of bat researchers, from places such as Arizona and Japan at the same time.

The virtual realisation of the poster sessions and exhibition received special praise from the participants. The posters, i.e. summaries of research topics, were made available in PDF format in themed virtual rooms where short pitches were followed by shared discussion. In the virtual conference, the visibility available for exhibitors was divided into three payment classes. Exhibitors were able to participate in all discussions throughout the conference. They also had their own virtual presentation stands on the conference platform and an opportunity for showing videos and having a separate live chat.

Read the success story here.

The new Heatmap service shows the most congested areas of Helsinki in real time

The City of Helsinki and software company Hypercell have recently opened the Heatmap service. The map will display the congestion status of key tourism-related areas, sights and services in Helsinki for the current minute in the form of a colour-coded map view. Thanks to the Heatmap service, visitors and local residents alike can make their visits more pleasant and avoid crowds in order to feel safer. As far as we know, Helsinki is the first city in the world to make a heatmap freely available to everyone for the purpose of improving safety.

In addition to tourists and city residents, the safe urban experience enabled by the Heatmap service benefits companies and the City itself. The City has installed sensors to cover the city centre and the areas of the city proper that are important in terms of tourist flows. The coverage also includes Helsinki Biennial exhibition on Vallisaari Island, Suomenlinna island and the Kasarmitori summer terrace, and the sensor network is updated continuously.

The data collected for the Heatmap consists of three elements: crowd volume at various points in time, the average time crowds stay in specific locations (i.e. how long people spend by certain sites) and the movement of crowds at various points in time within the sensor network. The colours describing congestion at the various sites are updated every minute. The Heatmap can be viewed with a browser on any device.

Read the original press release here.

Finland welcomes all fully vaccinated travellers

As of 26 July 2021, travel to Finland is possible for all travelers who can present a certificate of having received the full Covid-19 vaccines 14 days prior to arriving in Finland. There is no mandatory testing for people who meet this requirement. Please refer to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare for the approved vaccines.

For travelers from EU and Schengen countries, travel to Finland is possible for those who meet one the following health requirements:

  • You can present a certificate of having received the full Covid-19 vaccines 14 days prior to arriving in Finland. There is no mandatory testing for people who meet this requirement.
  • You can present a certificate showing that you have recovered from the Covid-19 disease within 6 months prior to arriving in Finland. There is no mandatory testing for people who meet this requirement.
  • You have received one Covid-19 vaccine shot at least a 14 days prior to arriving in Finland. In this case, you must also take a Covid-19 test 3–5 days after arriving in Finland. You must avoid contact with others and remain at home or in your place of accommodation until you receive confirmation of a negative test result. Please refer to FINENTRY for information on Covid-19 testing locations.
  • You can present a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test taken before entering Finland. In this case, you must also take a Covid-19 test 3–5 days after arriving in Finland. You must avoid contact with others and remain at home or in your place of accommodation until you receive confirmation of a negative test result.

Latest updates on travelling to Finland on Finland Convention Bureau website.

When the time is right, and traveling is safe again, we can assure that traveling to Finland continues to be memorable, responsible and health safe. FINENTRY digital service makes it easier to travel to Finland and manage the coronavirus testing that may be required for entry. By August 22, the vaccination rate in Finland was 70.6 %.

Finland Convention Bureau provides complimentary information, consultation and assistance to all congress organizers and meeting planners.
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