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Browsing by study line "Globaali kestävyys"

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  • Råberg, Mirka (2022)
    Circular economy (CE) is often offered as a solution to mitigate climate change and more efficient resource use. However, the socio-cultural side of transformation to CE is widely overlooked in the academic literature (Kirchherr et al., 2018) and in the context of CE, consumer-citizens are often framed as “consumers”, “users” and in terms of “acceptance” of new products and modes of provision (Hobson & Lynch, 2016). In fact, taking part in CE can be quite laborious and the notion of consumption work highlights the time, skills and access needed to participate in circular consumption (Hobson et al., 2021). Existing research on CE skills are scarce, outdated and focused on only one practice at a time. The research gap of citizens’ CE skills has been identified by several researchers (e.g. Hobson et al., 2021; Wieser, 2019) and this thesis aims to fulfil the gap by adopting a qualitative approach. The data on which this research is based on, consists of semi-structured interviews with 20 Finnish citizens who have been active in implementing zero waste lifestyles and responsible consumption principles that are relevant for CE. By exploring their everyday practices related to CE, I identify six skill categories that the active citizens utilise to take part in CE. Particularly (1) manual skills were identified by the interviewees as central to performing circular activities. They include skills such as sewing and technical skills that enable repair and repurposing materials. The interviewees possess (2) divergent thinking skills and abilities to think creatively, for example about the ways you can use a certain item. They are also skilful in questioning consumption related social norms. (3) Research and communication skills are central for active citizens as they are trying to figure out the most sustainable options and inspire others with humour and positivity to take part in the circular economy. The interviewees describe often utilising (4) organising and prioritising skills that revolve around time management. They need to make decisions and prioritise certain actions that preferably are quite influential in terms of their carbon footprint. Moreover, when buying products second hand they should start looking for the items early and with rental options, the need should be anticipated and planned. Another identified set of skills are (5) household skills. They include maintenance skills of household goods and clothes, cooking skills to avoid food waste by using creativity and planning as well as recycling skills on sorting different fractions. The respondents also described (6) skills brought by experience. Knowledge on different second hand marketplaces and the skills to recognise good quality on materials and items enable circular practices. One of the main contributions of this thesis is consolidation of various sets of citizen skills relevant for the CE into a single framework. The findings further illustrate that consumer-citizens are doing a multitude of CE activities that require consumption work and certain skills. The findings provide information on how citizens engage and coordinate CE practices on the household level by prioritising and planning, a topic on which research has been lacking (Hobson et al., 2021). The skills of “thinking outside the box” are also a new set of skills that emerged from the interviews and it has a clear connection to the “unlearning” of noncircular consumption practices (Wieser, 2019). The identified skills could be taught more through formal and informal education channels, but it should be considered, how infrastructure, companies and services can ease people’s participation in CE. Findings of the thesis offer insight on the domestic reality of CE and how it could be improved in the Finnish context.
  • Vo, Quynh Le (2021)
    As the effects of climate change have become increasingly more visible in recent years, interest in climate adaptation has grown in both research and policy contexts. However, although Southeast Asia is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change impacts, there has not yet been an effort to comprehensively track how Southeast Asian countries and communities are adapting to climate change. I apply a systematic review methodology developed for adaptation research to map adaptation responses identified in the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) projects in Southeast Asia in 2016-2020. My results show that close to a fifth of the ADB’s adaptation projects in Southeast Asia is implemented in Cambodia, while Thailand and Timor-Leste are the least covered countries. In general, the characteristics of my examined projects are relatively similar to global adaptation trends. Flooding, drought, storms, and other heavy rainfall events are the most frequently addressed climate hazards by both the projects I examined as well as by UNFCCC climate fund projects and by adaptation responses documented in scientific papers. The sectors addressed and actors targeted by ADB projects were also typical to multilateral funding institutions, focusing on the agricultural and water sectors as well as national and local governments and farmers. Capacity building was the most frequent adaptation response category, indicating that adaptation implementation as delivered by the ADB is still in a relatively early phase in most Southeast Asian countries. In addition to results related to climate adaptation in Southeast Asia, I also demonstrate the applicability of a systematic review methodology for tracking climate change adaptation responses implemented by multilateral development banks, given sufficient information is made available on relevant projects.
  • Peters, Dana (2021)
    Concern about global warming can lead to climate change anxiety, a form of anxiety characterized by excessive worry about the climate crisis and associated consequences on the natural world and human society. It has been suggested by previous research that humor can be used to manage feelings of anxiety. This study seeks to determine if this phenomenon can be applied specifically to climate change anxiety. The research combines a comprehensive literature review with an online survey that leveraged climate change themed internet memes as a proxy for humor to gather opinions about the intersections between these two topics. The survey data supplemented claims made by existing literature, indicating that climate change themed internet memes and humor in general can be useful coping mechanisms to mitigate feelings of climate anxiety. The survey was completed by 93 respondents; most of these participants were women, located in the US, and/or between the ages of 20 and 29. Results from the survey showed that people tend to feel best about their environmental anxiety when they are taking active steps to solve the problem. Conscious decisions such as reducing waste or participating in activist movements are easier to recognize and self-report than more passive coping skills. Reliance on humor was reported as a supplementary coping skill, but many respondents indicated that looking at humorous climate change themed memes did influence their feelings about climate change overall. The scope of this study was relatively small in scale, therefore the results presented in this thesis may not be indicative of broader social trends and likely require further research.
  • Ehrlichmann, Hannah (2024)
    Despite promises of economic growth and prosperity through international trade, a continued divergence in national incomes demonstrates the continuously rising inequality between countries of the Global North and South. While many studies have attributed factors such as availability of capital resources and political and economic institutions to the uneven economic development of countries over time, very little has been said about the role of historical relations and colonial legacies in this prevailing state of global (economic) inequality. This thesis aims to shed light at the impact of colonial legacies on economic inequality between countries based on a unique database on forest commodity trade between Germany and Cameroon from 1892 to 2022, derived from the German governments statistical office. The findings of the trade data analysis indicate major structural inequality starting from the period of German colonialism from 1892-1912. The imported forestry commodities benefitted the industrialization and development of the German economy, while the exported commodities mainly served the German community in Cameroon. After the German colonial period, a drastically declining export of forest products demonstrates the changing ownership structures of the colonial plantations into French and British hands as well as the role of political rivalries in the accessibility of colonial markets. From 1950 onwards, timber plank exports appeared as a new commodity, implying an emerging timber processing industry in Cameroon. However, the value of those exports did not exceed the log exports, suggesting the struggle of the local industry to establish itself. After market liberalization in the 1990s, a second attempt at establishing a plank industry succeeded, suggesting a strong role of foreign companies within the industry. Overall, albeit other sectors, such as oil and gas becoming Cameroon’s main export sector over time, the forestry sector clearly remained the dominant German import sector throughout time, suggesting a strong path dependency from colonial times. Through an additional analysis of tracing German financial actors presence through a historical network analysis approach, this thesis further aims to show how historically established structures facilitate the reproduction of colonial relations in economic flows, by arguing that first mover advantages of German companies, made possible through colonial occupation, allowed companies to establish and manifest their position in the forest industry, making it harder for local companies to enter the industry. Albeit the limited sample size, the findings suggest confirming this pattern, as several German financial actors remain in the Cameroonian forestry sector over time. These notably include one of the companies that was a signatory of the treaty establishing German colonial rule in 1884.
  • Tuuliainen, Suvi Tuuli Eufrosyne (2022)
    Ympäristökriisi on yksi aikamme suurimmista globaaleista ongelmista. Voimakkaana tekijänä kriisissä ovat ihmisten valinnat niin arjen kuluttamisessa kuin yleisessä käyttäytymisessä luontoa kohtaan. Ympäristömyönteinen käyttäytyminen kumpuaa luontoyhteydestä, jonka nähdään rappeutuneen nyky-yhteiskunnassamme. Tästä johtuen lisäämällä ihmisten luontoyhteyttä voisimme edistää heidän ympäristömyönteistä käyttäytymistään. Tämä tutkielma käsittelee luontoyhteyden ja ympäristömyönteisen käyttäytymisen välistä yhteyttä. Tavoitteena on hahmottaa, millä tavoin tämä yhteys muodostuu, jotta voimme lisätä ihmisten ympäristömyönteistä käyttäytymistä syvällä ja perusteellisella tasolla. Tutkielmassa pyritään vastaamaan tähän systemaattisen kirjallisuuskatsauksen keinoin perehtymällä aiempien tutkimusten aihepiireihin ja niiden teoreettiseen pohjaan koskien luontoyhteyden ja ympäristömyönteisen käyttäytymisen suhdetta. Katsauksessa löydettiin 38 kappaletta soveltuvia artikkeleita, joita analysoitiin luokittelemalla niitä seuraavin perustein: 1) millaisia yhteyksiä aiempi tutkimus on luonut luontoyhteyden ja ympäristömyönteisen käyttäytymisen välille, ja 2) mitä välittäviä muuttujia luontoyhteyden ja ympäristömyönteisen käyttäytymisen välillä on havaittu aiemmissa tutkimuksissa. Tutkimuksen mukaan aineistosta voidaan muodostaa kolme kategoriaa, jotka ovat: 1) CTN-PEB, 2) x-CTN-PEB, and 3) CTN-x-PEB. Tutkimuksessa syvennyttiin eniten kategoriaan numero kolme, jossa luontoyhteyden ja ympäristömyönteisen käyttäytymisen suhdetta selvitettiin erilaisten välittävien muuttujien avulla. Jatkotutkimusta kausaalisen yhteyden selvittämiseksi tarvitaan.
  • Hyttinen, Ia (2023)
    Knowledge co-production has become more widespread in sustainability research as it possesses the potential as a tool to provide policymakers with usable knowledge in collaboration with researchers to increase the impact of scientific knowledge. This thesis complements the current literature by providing empirical insights of the perception of Finnish national-level policymakers who have participated in Strategic Research Councils (SRC) projects. SRC is a funding instrument with the aim to produce high-quality research with societal impact in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The perception of Finnish researchers is already somewhat covered in literature and therefore the material for this thesis was collected by interviewing non-researcher participants in SRC projects. The analysis of the material was conducted as a theory-bound qualitative content analysis. The first coding was conducted with a material-based approach to allow the perception of the interviewees to prevail. The final analysis is conducted with three different modes of interaction obtained from the literature: science-push, policy demand, and iterative modes used as main categories. The analysis provides a standpoint on the research question: How do policymakers perceive the interaction in the co-production process? Methods to include policymakers and their participation in national-level co-production processes are versatile in Finland. The knowledge co-production between researchers and national-level policymakers results in usable knowledge and furthers policy uptake especially when collaboration and participation are genuine and profound. This study concludes that the inclusion of policymakers in the early stage of research, two-way communication, iterative interaction, and trust building are factors related to successful interaction, as the policymakers perceive success. The success factors could also help to overcome barriers of co-production presented in earlier literature.
  • Anttila, Hilma (2023)
    This study examines how discussion of environmental sustainability is framed in corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication of European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) tech companies. The strategy and vision sections of year 2020 corporate annual reports of 14 EGDC companies were chosen for analysis, and 116 quotes discussing environmental sustainability were collected. Inductive frame analysis was performed on this dataset, following Robert Entman’s four frame functions. Seven frames were identified. Frames (1) and (2) defined problems: environmental sustainability was mostly prominently defined through (1) climate change and (2) reduction of carbon emissions, and other goals. Most frames were prescriptive as in suggesting solutions. (3) Techno-optimism and (4) ICT necessitarianism frames highlighted technological solutions as key answers and as being necessary for solving sustainability issues. The companies also discussed (5) reducing their or their customers’ carbon emissions, and acting in (6) compliance with sustainability standards. The final frame contained wordings implicating (7) sustainability for all people, such as “a better future for all”, filling both prescriptive and evaluating-moral judgment frame functions. Lack of previous research on framing of environmental sustainability in CSR communications and the following inductive frame analysis performed here limited the size of the sample, and this can reduce replicability due differing interpretation. This study was limited to discussion of environmental sustainability, and only within the strategy sections of the reports; omissions were not deeply investigated due to this limitation.
  • Liimatainen, Iida (2024)
    A striking change has taken place in the corporate responsibility reporting, when reporting obligation under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, approved by the European Parliament and of the Council came into effect from the beginning of 2024. Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive sets new requirements to the companies regarding the amount and quality of reported data. Changes in the reporting process introduced by the directive pose challenges for companies as they need to be able to identify the material sustainability issues most relevant to their own activities as well as manage large amounts of data. This thesis studies the corporate responsibility reporting challenges of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive from the perspective of six Finnish food companies, whose reporting obligation will start from the beginning of 2025, in the second phase of the directive’s implementation. The study for this thesis was conducted as semi-structured thematic interviews with a total of six experts responsible for corporate responsibility reporting. The interviews were conducted in February 2024 and the analysis was made as thematic content analysis. Institutional theory was used as a theoretical framework to better understand the impacts of institutional changes on companies’ operations and how they adapt their own operations to them. The results show that companies face several different challenges in their corporate responsibility reporting related to project management, data collection and interpreting and understanding reporting requirements. The key finding from this study is that the challenges faced by the companies are significantly affected by the tight schedule for the implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. The changes introduced by the directive, such as the double materiality analysis and the machine-readability of reports, have posed major challenges for companies, as they are very different from one another and therefore require the input of different experts.
  • Kuusela, Karoliina (2022)
    Digitaalisia teknologioita hyödynnetään lisääntyvästi kansalaisosallistumisen vahvistamisessa sekä vahvan ja osallistuvan demokratian toteuttamisessa. Tämän niin sanotun e-osallistumisen tai digitaalisen osallistumisen päämääränä on aktivoida kansalaisia ja madaltaa osallistumiskynnystä sekä rohkaista heitä keskusteluun julkisen hallinnon kanssa. Teknologiset ratkaisut lupaavat tiiviimmän ja reaaliaikaisenkin keskusteluyhteyden hallinnon ja kansalaisten välillä. E-osallistuminen koetaan myös ratkaisuna maaseuduille tyypillisten niukkenevien resurssien ja pitkien etäisyyksien haasteisiin. Kiinnostus e-osallistumiseen on tutkimusten mukaan kuitenkin vähäistä. Osallistumista tukevia teknologisia ratkaisuja olisi tarjolla, mutta niiden hyödyntämiseen ei olla innostuttu kunnissa. Tässä tutkimuksessa kartoitetaan, kuinka kuntaorganisaation viranhaltijat kokevat kuntalaisten osallistumisen sekä millaisia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia he liittävät e-osallistumisen teknologisiin ratkaisuihin. Tutkimusaineisto koostuu 11 teemahaastattelusta, jotka kerättiin Mikkelin kaupungin eri palvelualueita edustavilta viranhaltijoilta. Haastattelupuhe on sosiaalisesti rakentunutta ja aineistoa tarkasteltiin teoriasidonnaisesti kehysanalyyttisella otteella. Analyysissa selvitettiin keskeiset osallistumiseen liittyvät kehystämistavat viranhaltijoiden näkökulmasta. Haastateltavat puhuivat osallistumisesta velvollisuuksien kehyksessä ja käytäntöjen kehyksessä. Vaikka osallistumista pidettiin tärkeänä, ristivetoa esiintyi velvollisuuksien (kuntalaki ja kuntalaisten osallistumismahdollisuudet) ja käytäntöjen (nykyiset toimintakulttuurit ja niukat resurssit) välillä. Edustuksellisen päätöksenteon ja kuntalaisten osallistumisen suhde osoittautui kitkaiseksi. Myös kuntalaisten näkökulmaa ja mielekkäitä osallistumisen tapoja olisi tulosten mukaan kehitettävä. Lisäksi kuntaorganisaatioiden nykyiset toimintakulttuurit kaipaavat osallistumisen huomioon ottavaa uudistamista ja riittävän resursoinnin varmistamisen.
  • Mäki, Ilona (2022)
    Biochar is a porous, carbon-rich material, made from organic material by pyrolysis in low oxygen conditions, and it can be used to sequester carbon into the soil. This review aspires to give an overview of the economic dimensions of using biochar in Finnish (Boreal and sub-boreal) forests. A literature review was conducted to collect and summarize the information about studies and applications elsewhere, and how we could possibly apply them into Finnish forest ecosystems. This thesis is done as part of Helsus Co-Creation Lab -project, where our group was tasked with looking into how biochar could enhance biodiversity in soil and accelerate transformation to low carbon economy. From this larger topic, this paper is looking into the economic side, and whether it is economically viable to use biochar to enhance and uphold biodiversity. This is evaluated by reviewing and categorizing 164 papers and conducting a literature review. My conclusions are that the current biochar applications show lower economic efficiency than other carbon dioxide abatement technologies. The stability of biochar in soil is a key factor, as the half-lives of biochars may not be as long as commonly suggested. Furthermore, competition for biomass resource use can restrict the availability of feedstock, and make it more expensive. Subsidies for biochar application are required if biochar is to be- come a significant part of the national or global climate mitigation policy. The results in different articles are quite variable and there is currently no standard approach to them. There is a need for specific research on what kind of biochar benefits what soil and vegetation, which is expensive. A primary goal is to incorporate a consistent and standardized testing or analysis method for biochar stability into the certification programs run and administered by the International and the European Biochar Initiatives. In the foreseeable future, biochar by itself is unlikely to play a significant role in climate mitigation strategies. Biochar might be just one of several alternatives in a bundle strategy to re- duce carbon emissions. However, its potential use must still be researched more.
  • Savolainen, Elina (2023)
    Climate change is one of the biggest challenges our planet and humanity are experiencing. The time window for finding ways to miti-gate carbon emissions is getting smaller and there is an urgent need to find solutions that aim not only to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but to address the complex problems of land use change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and inequality. REDD+ is a multi-objective initiative under UNFCCC designed to reduce GHG emissions through deforestation and forest degradation togeth-er with non-carbon co-benefits of livelihoods, poverty, biodiversity, and local peoples and indigenous peoples rights. By applying a Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) this thesis compares 12 various REDD+ countries national political contexts and particularly REDD+ policies and measures over time in order to identify conditions that enable or hinder the countries from achieving results in reversing forest cover trajectories. All the countries analyzed here are tropical, developing, or emerging countries with a political commitment to REDD+ with characteristics that hinder carbon-effective, cost-efficient, and equitable (3E) implementation of REDD+. The thesis builds on three previous REDD+ qualitative comparative analyses of various REDD+ countries' progress in developing and implementing national REDD+ policies and measures. The analysis follows an underlining theoretical assumption that both insti-tutions and agencies affect the REDD+ policy outcome. The longitudinal data used in the analysis is based on expert assessments conducted in three various data collection rounds in 2012, 2014, and 2016. The results show a set of enabling conditions under which countries can achieve a positive outcome. The findings from the previous studies have highlighted the importance of already initiated policy change and effective forest legislation from the institutional context, and from the actor-centered policy arena, the presence of powerful coalitions and the availability of performance-based payments. Here, two enabling remote conditions are identified (1) pressure from the forest resources and (2) the presence of effective forest legislation. The pressure from the forest resources leads to a positive outcome together with (3) strong national ownership and politi-cal will combined with (4) performance-based payments or (5) REDD+ policies and measures. The effective forest legislation.leads away from business-as-usual practices towards a broader transformational change when combined with (6) powerful transformation-al coalitions and (7) inclusive policy processes. Policy relevance: Well over a decade has passed since REDD+ was launched in 2007 but the progress has been much slower than it was initially expected. The evidence on what works and what does not is essential to achieve the GHG reductions needed to keep the global warming below 2C. The findings from this study can guide towards more effective, efficient, and equitable REDD+ policy design formulation and implementation.
  • Vikatmaa, Nicole (2024)
    Abstract As part of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework business are expected to make commitments for halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity. The political drivers are forcing ministries, regions, and cities but also companies to create their own strategies and actions to conserve biodiversity. Despite the considerable attention given to climate policies within businesses, there exists a lack of attention to the roles and responsibilities of businesses in conserving biodiversity. While concerns are escalating, many businesses seem less aware of the scale of their influence and the necessary actions needed to conserve biodiversity. Also, their understanding of the significance of actions concerning biodiversity loss remains relatively low. This study addresses the critical need for increased business involvement in multi-level and cross-sectoral biodiversity governance while emphasizing the leadership necessary to facilitate this endeavor. I aim to bridge this gap by identifying barriers and opportunities for enhancing business engagement in preserving biodiversity and investigating the emerging new leadership needs. This study examined the Business@Biodiversity network, which is the leading business network for biodiversity in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders across various industries (n=12). These interviews assessed member companies’ awareness, commitment, and strategies toward biodiversity conservation. Through this context, the study seeks to clarify the underlying issues that hinder effective business involvement in biodiversity conservation, while capturing the opportunities for biodiversity-focused leadership. Results show that Swedish businesses face barriers such as regulatory complexities, and the absence of standardized measurements in engaging with biodiversity. However, they also recognize opportunities within a shifting labor market, underscoring the need for balanced regulations and collaborative platforms to enhance conservation efforts. Finally, this study suggests actionable areas for enhancing business involvement in biodiversity conservation, including prioritizing imperfect action over inaction, establishing a common language and baseline, leveraging political and economic instruments, and mainstreaming biodiversity. This research contributes to advancing the discourse on business engagement in biodiversity conservation, offering insights and recommendations to inform policy and practice, driving meaningful action toward preserving biodiversity.
  • Syrjälä, Sami (2021)
    Electronic waste is the fastest growing type of waste stream in the world, and this development results from the rapidly accelerating digitalization. Electronic devices become obsolete on an accelerating speed, as there are constantly more powerful devices coming to the market. The most significant environmental impacts of this development are greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource consumption. Circular economy has been proposed as a solution to these environmental challenges, and the goal of this approach is to preserve the value of the materials in the circulation as efficiently as possible. One way of implementing the principles of circular economy is the product-as-a-service-based business model. This research examines the differences between the product-as-a-service-based model and ownership-based model in terms of the environmental impacts that are related to the laptop and tablet procurements. The results of this thesis will be utilized in implementing the actions of the City of Helsinki’s Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy. This research was conducted as streamlined life cycle assessment, in which the systematic literature review was used for tracking the environmental impacts of the products’ life cycle stages and components. In addition, expert interviews were carried out in order to collect information about the reuse and recycling practices of the supplier companies that follow these previously mentioned business models. Finally, based on the results of the systematic literature review and the interviews, the company specific differences were assessed in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions and material waste that result from the procurements. The City of Helsinki’s annual procurement volumes were used in this assessment. Based on the results of this research, production and use are the most significant life cycle stages in terms of the devices’ greenhouse gas emissions. Printed circuit boards/printed wiring boards, integrated circuits, displays, and casings are the components with the most significant impact. The results suggest that increasing the lifespan of the devices provides opportunities for significantly lowering impacts in both impact categories, if the devices are efficiently recycled after this.
  • Williams, Scott (2023)
    This thesis explores the relationship between energy justice and demand response electricity pricing schemes in the residential market. As energy retailers make the transition towards demand response contracts, many opportunities arise for justice and injustice. It is vital that consumers are protected from arising injustices, and that the benefits of demand response schemes are distributed across the population. I use a popular energy justice framework to evaluate the demand response schemes of three European electricity retailers for their adherence to the principles of energy justice. The eight evaluative criteria are availability, affordability, due process, good governance, sustainability, intragenerational equity, intergenerational equity and responsibility. The three retailers are Tibber, E.ON Next, and Helen. Through this evaluation, I demonstrate that novel developments in energy systems by some energy retailers can positively inform the policies and practices of conventional retailers. There is room for growth in customer communication, stakeholder involvement, and smart home integration. My evaluation shows that retailers are yet to meet the aspirations of energy justice with their demand response schemes, but the potential for promoting justice clearly exists. I conclude with a set of recommendations Helen can take to meet the goals of energy justice in their electricity contracts.
  • Lyytikäinen, Veera (2020)
    It is widely acknowledged that previous efforts to communicate the severity and rate of climate change have failed. Science communication has for decades relied on the presumption that more information leads to more informed decisions, thus so far, the scientific consensus about human-caused climate change has not resulted in required changes in behaviour. Previous communication efforts have, for the most part, attributed inaction to the lack of information, but in doing so, have excluded many social and psychological elements of communication. Although raising the level of awareness about climate change has been successful, climate change remains to be perceived to be a distal threat. Recently, more sophisticated approaches have been developed to meaningfully communicate climate change, drawing attention to the framing of the communication. In this study, a new approach to science-based environmental communication is evaluated. The case study seeks to address how immersive Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as a tool in science-based environmental communication for policymakers in a locally relevant context. Via immersive VR, information about forests’ role in climate change is mediated to forest policymakers. In the science communication, climate change is framed as an experiential, local, and present risk, promoting a problem definition that focuses on the climate effects of forest utilisation. I evaluate the success of the science-based environmental communication by measuring participants’ personal responses. I focus on measuring enjoyment, interest, trust, and usability. The study participants are members of the Parliament of Finland and governmental officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; and the Ministry of the Environment. The study material consists of feedback forms from participants (N=65) and interviews of the key actors (N=7). To consider the historical background and many conflicting interests in Finnish forest and climate politics, I focus on the comparison between the natural resource position and the environmental position. The results of this study offer compelling evidence for how differently policymakers representing these two positions perceive the usage of immersive VR in science-based environmental communication. The environmental position indicated significantly higher levels of success on all measured components. Considering that the science communication framed forest utilisation as an environmental issue, it is not surprising that participants holding the environmental position perceived the science communication to be more enjoyable, interesting, trustworthy, and usable. Accordingly, the study results provide additional support for the idea of Finnish forest policy as a polarised field of policy with two main positions. With the means of immersive VR, I was able to induce strong personal responses to the science communication. Participants holding the natural resource position were more likely to challenge the legitimacy of the information and the use of VR in science communication than participants holding the environmental position. The results point to the likelihood that communicating climate change via immersive VR can induce strong negative emotions in the participants, but when the communication is comparable with the policymaker's policy preferences, they respond more positively. The study results also suggest, that to communicate climate change more meaningfully, immersive VR should be further explored as a supplementary tool in science communication.
  • Lukkaroinen, Teresa (2022)
    In recent years, the science community has increasingly emphasized the influence of behavior, lifestyles, and culture on greenhouse gas emissions. Finland’s emissions per capita (~10 tCO2/yr.) are amongst the highest in the world, and it has been calculated that to comply with the Paris Agreement and to limit global warming to well below 2 °C, Finnish households should reduce their carbon footprint by 70 % by 2030. This requires drastic lifestyle changes, especially regarding mobility, housing, and nutrition. However, knowing this is not enough to change behaviors. Human behavior is influenced by several different internal and external factors such as knowledge, values, and social structures. This master’s thesis is a case study conducted in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) master’s program at the University of Helsinki with the aim to enrich theories about pro-environmental behavior by providing insights on the future aspirations of sustainability science students, who have both extensive knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability. The data for this study was collected through an anonymous, online questionnaire with four open-ended questions. In total, 61 out of 274 ECGS students answered the questionnaire, after which qualitative content analysis with both inductive and deductive elements was applied to analyze the results. The results confirm that ECGS students are indeed well aware of the most impactful lifestyle changes for reducing personal carbon footprint. Despite their extensive knowledge on sustainability, the students’ future aspirations still come quite close to the dominant cultural vision of a good life in Finland. The implications of these findings once again confirm the importance of facilitating sustainable ways of living through changes in societal structures, discourses, and norms.
  • Ramos, Tuuli (2024)
    This thesis aims to illuminate expert dissensus on the policy instruments for reducing the carbon footprint of household consumption. In this thesis, I focus specifically on the policy instruments for addressing Finnish households’ consumption, proposed in the policy Delphi study by Salo et al. (2023), and experts’ responses regarding the measures’ importance. Exploring expert dissensus regarding consumption policy instruments is essential since identifying the measures that elicit expert dissensus and unveiling experts’ opinions on these measures promotes transparency in policymaking, helps to identify underlying assumptions, inconsistencies, and potential blind spots within the proposed measures, and therefore, contributes to better policy formulation. Two research questions are answered in this thesis to explore expert dissensus regarding consumption policy instruments: 1) What policy instruments to reduce the carbon footprint of household consumption elicit the most dissensus among experts? and 2) On what grounds do experts agree or disagree on the instruments exhibiting expert dissensus? A quantitative analysis involving calculating the interquartile range of experts’ responses was done to reveal which policy instruments exhibited expert dissensus. As a result, 26.8% of all proposed policy instruments were identified to exhibit expert dissensus. Subsequently, experts’ open comments regarding these policy instruments were examined through a thematic analysis to understand the grounds for expert dissensus. As a result of this research, seven themes emerging from experts’ open comments were identified: 1) Effectiveness, 2) Feasibility and practicality, 3) Content of policy mix, 4) Content of policy measure, 5) Consideration of other factors guiding consumption, 6) Consideration of possible side effects of utilizing the measure, and 7) Normative claims. Of these themes, the most prevalent was effectiveness, and the least prevalent were normative claims. As previous literature points out, the evaluation of policy instruments involves a blend of normative and empirical aspects. While it is unclear to what extent experts resorted to implicit normative assumptions within their evaluation process, this thesis concludes that information and uncertainty-related aspects, especially regarding effectiveness, require further consideration in sustainable consumption policymaking and research regarding policy measures exhibiting expert dissensus.
  • Toikka, Saila (2024)
    Since the current climate change mitigation efforts are inadequate to meet the goals and targets of the Paris Agreement, there is an accelerated need for climate change adaptation. With the increased attention to designing and implementing adaptation measures, monitoring the progress and effectiveness is also essential. The indicator-based systems are widely considered as an approach to monitor adaptation. While specific aims and objectives of adaptation vary by context, reducing the vulnerability of human and natural systems to the impacts of climate change continues to be one broad aim associated with adaptation policies and actions. To further build an understanding of how the existing indicator systems reflect or measure climate vulnerability dimensions as adaptation benefits, I applied a prominent framework of vulnerability dimensions to categorise 1765 climate change adaptation indicators and their associated actions and objectives in nine city-level planning documents. Content analysis revealed that the vulnerability dimensions of exposure, sensitivity and adaptative capacity are a recognisable part of the indicator systems. Indicators and their association with these dimensions vary by planning context, their association with different benefiting units, and hazard description. In addition, the indicators do not necessarily measure the vulnerability dimensions as an outcome-level change but relate to the adaptation process or adaptation rationale towards the reduction of the vulnerability. The findings suggest further avenues for research on adaptation monitoring and indicators utilizing adaptation benefits typology on exposure, sensitivity, and adaptative capacity.
  • Katajarinne, Jenni (2022)
    Biodiversity loss and ecosystem service degradation and the related economic costs are increasingly recognized as sources of financial risks. The risks are arising through physical and transition sources of risks caused by dependencies and impacts upon biodiversity and ecosystem services. Therefore, it has become increasingly important for both individual financial institutions as well as central banks and financial supervisors to better understand and manage these risks. However, biodiversity loss is associated with unique complexity and uncertainty, making it a challenging task. The purpose of this thesis was to study the linkages between biodiversity loss and financial stability in Finland. This was done by assessing the financial exposure of Finnish credit institutions to sectors dependent on ecosystem services for their production processes. A quantitative analysis was conducted in order to combine loan data obtained from the Bank of Finland and ecosystem service data obtained from the ENCORE database. The results showed that 23% of loans provided by Finnish credit institutions are exposed to high or very high biodiversity-related financial risks. The sectors associated with most value at risks were real estate and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors. Disruptions of ecosystem services providing surface water and climate regulation were posing the highest financial risks. The findings represent a first step towards assessing the exposure of the Finnish financial system to biodiversity-related financial risks. The results and previous literature indicate that physical biodiversity-related financial risk exposures are significant for individual financial institutions and for the whole financial system, despite the prevailing methodological challenges and gaps in knowledge. In order to complete a comprehensive biodiversity-related financial risk assessment, further research is needed.
  • Aapio, Fanny (2020)
    Food literacy is a noteworthy topic to be studied due to food’s considerable environmental and health effects. When food literacy and its characteristics are known, food literacy can be used as a tool to improve people’s health and the condition of the environment. Thus, this thesis aims to reveal the extent of food literacy among Finnish upper secondary school students. In this context, food literacy emphasises food-related environmental and health knowledge. Environmental knowledge is understanding of the global environmental impact of food. Health knowledge, on the other hand, is the familiarity with the relationship between excessive meat consumption and Finnish common diseases along with beliefs regarding diets and food products as a source of protein. This thesis also aims to identify to what extent does the food literacy differ based on gender, study year and living area. This study was performed as a quantitative sample survey and the data was collected using an online Typeform -questionnaire. The questionnaire reached respondents from many different Finnish localities, mainly from cities. The final data consisted of 1320 individuals and it was analysed using IMB SPSS Statistics 24 software. The following methods were used to analyse data: frequency analysis, an Independent Samples t Test, a One-way ANOVA, and a Post-hoc LSD test. Gender, study year and living area were used as grouping variables to examine the differences between groups. The results show that the students named school as the main source of food literacy. Moreover, the results indicate that awareness regarding food production, dietary health and proteins increase significantly from the first to the third study year. The students acknowledged food production causing environmental problems and that the share of food in the consumer’s climatic impact is considerable. Nevertheless, the students underestimated the climatic impact of cheese and they were unaware of the more specific characteristics of food’s environmental impacts. They also had food-related environmental misconceptions considering packaging, transportation and meat consumption. Moreover, approximately half or more of the students were aware of the connection between excessive meat consumption and the increased risk of distinct common diseases. Most of the students acknowledged a versatile vegetarian diet as being a healthy choice. The study also reveals that female students had notably higher dietary health knowledge than male students. This Master’s thesis study mainly supports the findings of previous studies on food-related knowledge. The results elucidate the extent, characteristics, gaps and misconceptions of students’ food literacy. These findings may be utilized to improve school education on food literacy, alter misconceptions and fill the gaps of knowledge in pursuit of improving the health of people and the condition of the environment.