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UN sustainable development principles and carbon neutrality at the centre of Ylva’s 2020 targets

The representative council of the Student Union of the Helsinki University has, in their meeting held on the 16th December 2019, approved Ylva’s target for 2020. During next year, Ylva will invest large amounts in their projects in central Helsinki and Hakaniemi where the building of Lyyra project starts in January.  For every target measured in euros, a sustainability target has been set. This is Ylva’s first budget that has been bound to sustainable development targets.  

Real estate and restaurant industries, which Ylva represents, are responsible for a significant part of the global materialistic and carbon dioxide emissions. For example, the real estate and building industries form almost 40 % of all emissions and the building trend is not slowing down any time soon. Ylva has committed to become carbon neutral by 2025 in all its fields of operation.

“When speaking about the Student Union of the Helsinki University’s business, value-driven operation is the only way for us. Central to our target is carbon neutrality and we are ready to move toward this goal during this year at a minimum of the same pace as last year. After beef, our focus in the restaurant operations will be on other ingredients and food wastage. In building, our product development focus is in wood and other low-carbon materials; we want to cut all links to using coal in the properties as a direct or indirect source of energy”, the CEO of Ylva, Antti Kerppola states.

In 2020, Ylva will invest an unprecedented amount into its properties located in the central Helsinki and Hakaniemi

During 2019, the net worth of Ylva grew to almost 360 million euros, of which the share of real estate property is almost 90%. The net worth is still expected to grow substantially during 2020.

Building of Lyyra, the city block of science and business, will begin in 2020 in Kallio. The project will be executed eco-efficiently, aiming for the best energy rating. The target is the smallest carbon footprint possible and the highest possible positive effect on the surrounding area.

An ambitious renewal project in central Helsinki is developing Kaivopiha to become a new attraction. The noteworthy remodeling will also start in early 2020.

Additionally, the international hotel project combining the New Student House and Seurahuone will bring new life into the Kaivopiha block. The renewal of the block is in whole aligned with project Lyyra in Hakaniemi: the aim is to develop the city centre widely into a more internationally attractive, pleasant, and well-functioning area.

An essential part of Ylva’s building operation is taking care of employees’ well-being, equality, and participation. Also, actualizing good working conditions and labor agreements in partner organisations will be assured.

“Profitability and sustainability complete each other in 2020s business. Our investing programmes grow and modernize our real estate portfolio. While a substantial part of the property is a construction site, the operative EBITDA is expected to drop this year to 8,2 million euros from last year’s 13,2 million euros. Once the investment program is completed, Ylva will have the opportunity to fulfil a longtime goal to have no membership fees”, Kerppola continues.

International responsibility cooperation

Ylva’s ambitious sustainability targets are moving forward in cooperation with domestic and international networks:

  • Ylva was selected as part of the OECD supported Sustainable Growth Business 4 Inclusive Growth (B4IG) business network. The initiative brings together 40 businesses from different parts of the world creating a unique global coalition. Ylva is the only Finnish organization involved.
  • Ylva has signed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment as the first Finnish real estate developer. The commitment was also signed by the city of Helsinki, among others. The organizations, cities, and areas who have signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings commitment aim to become carbon neutral by 2030 in all their properties. The parties that have signed the commitment are setting an example for the whole industry supporting the target that all buildings are emission free by 2050.
  • In July 2019, Ylva was part of Finland’s delegation at the UN’s High-level Political Forum. Ylva has, for years, been a pioneer in sustainability. Great examples of this include the work that is put into carbon-neutrality, solutions for minimizing food waste, and the latest building projects. The SDG budget bound with the sustainability targets is a concrete indication of a strong commitment to responsibility both now and in the future.


You may see the budget here.


More information:

Antti Kerppola, CEO, +358 45 3532 187