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Ylva participated in the UN’s High-Level Political Forum as part of the Finnish delegation

Ylva’s CEO Antti Kerppola and Communications and Marketing Director Jannica Aalto participated in the United Nation’s High-Level Political Forum as part of the Finnish delegation in New York.

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is an annual event with the purpose of evaluating the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year the focus of the evaluation was on the climate crisis, reducing inequalities, education, sustainable growth, partnership as well as peace, justice, and good governance. As with previous events, the Finnish delegation consisted of government and city officials as well as representatives from NGOs and enterprises.

Finland indeed has a lot to contribute to the conversation, as the happiest nation in the world does well on several of the areas included in the SDGs. Especially the initiative and action taken by the city of Helsinki attracted a lot of positive attention. Helsinki is the second city in the world to begin assessing its progress on the Sustainable Development indicators; and its people should be proud of the city’s ambitious work on sustainability. Programs such as the Carbon-Neutral plan are top-class projects.

But what is the role of businesses and enterprises in events hosted by the UN? It is impossible to fully realize the Sustainable Development Goals in any one country without active participation from the private sector. Especially small and medium sized enterprises have great unrealized potential, which is often being overlooked and forgotten in the shadow of larger multicultural businesses.

“At best, enterprises are faster at driving change and creating welcome competition on their field than nations. If we examine the state of things from a sustainability perspective, construction and real estate are dragging behind in terms of their global arena. Often we have a lot of information actions that support sustainable development, such as circular economy and green energy solutions, but the information isn’t being spread properly or action isn’t taken quickly enough”, said Antti Kerppola in his speech during one of the forums at HLPF.

Businesses such as Ylva can and should conceive and implement new solutions quickly and fearlessly. Ylva has been a pioneer in sustainable solutions for several years. Some examples of this are our work aiming for carbon neutrality, solutions in minimizing food waste, and our newest construction projects. Responsible operation is a part of Ylva’s DNA, and is tightly linked with its owners, the students of the University of Helsinki. Decade after decade our owners have focused on questions on responsibility together with Ylva’s leaders. Many of the speeches that sparked plenty of conversation and support at HLPF were given by the youth. For instance, the chairperson of the Finnish Youth Agenda 2030 Siiri Mäkelä, spoke about the effects of the climate crisis.

In the future Ylva wishes to attract more attention to city-level sustainability. The future is built on cities, and successful cities will require the help of a private sector that is ready to challenge the status quo in favor of sustainability. In 2018, Ylva’s Lyyra project (www.lyyra.fi/en) became a prime example in the ways in which sustainable development can be taken into consideration during every step beginning from the early design process. Lyyra will become a platform for demonstrating solutions in renewable energy production, green roofs, water preservation techniques, as well as material circulation.

Talk is cheap – it is time to move from words to action.