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Environmental programme

Approved in board meeting 11/2023

Environmental programme


Goals

The purpose of the Environmental Program is to guide the activities of Helix ry and serve as a general guideline for all functionnaires in considering environmental issues. It includes both general ideologies and concrete instructions. The goal is to minimize the negative environmental impacts of activities. Helix ry also aims to promote its environmental principles in the operations of HYY’s Pupu cluster (Hedda Gabler).

The program mainly focuses on everyday environmental actions. Established and effective operating models are continued, and new methods are introduced. The program seeks to identify suitable goals for our organization that the members of the organization are willing to commit to.


Viikki Student Room

Helix ry shares a student room called “Kertsi” with Biosfääri ry in Biokeskus 1 at Viikki campus. In the student room, unnecessary waste production is avoided, waste is recycled, and efforts are made to minimize electricity consumption. Helix ry is a fully plant-based organization, which is why the snack offerings are also vegan. The selection is developed in the direction of Fair Trade and environmentally friendly products.


Waste Recycling and Waste Minimization

The student room has recycling bins for organic waste, cardboard, paper, metal, glass, plastic, mixed waste, as well as cans and bottles. Users of the student room are guided on recycling through signs and labeling of waste bins, and they are also assisted as needed. When acquiring furniture, equipment, or other items for the student room, efforts are made to find suitable items second-hand.


Energy Conservation

Energy is saved by turning off electrical devices overnight. The last person leaving the student room is responsible for turning off devices and lights. A sign near the door reminds everyone of this. When acquiring new equipment, the energy consumption of the devices is considered.


Dishes

In the student room, coffee and tea are available for free, and snacks can be purchased. There are cups and other dishes that users of the student room can borrow. There are several water points nearby, making it easy to wash dishes. The general principle in the student room and at the organization’s events is to avoid the use of disposable dishes.


Events and Celebrations

Helix organizes various parties and events for its members. Only vegan food is served at sits and other events with food. Animal-based food is only used if a plant-based alternative is not possible due to allergies or dietary restrictions. Regarding surplus food, discretionary exceptions can be made in terms of plant-based options, but animal-based surplus food is not accepted by default.

The plant-based policy does not apply to third parties, such as bars and restaurants where events are held. However, when selecting event venues, efforts are made to favor operators whose environmental values align with the organization’s values as closely as possible.

In food choices, domestic food products, Fair Trade, and sustainably produced options are favored. The amount of food purchased for events is estimated as accurately as possible based on the number of participants. If there is leftover food, efforts are made to store it for later use or distribute it to event organizers and participants to take home. Helix ry is not responsible for surplus food once it leaves the event venue.

At events, we generally use own or rented dishes, or participants are asked to bring their own dishes. Disposable dishes are used only if there are no other practical alternatives. If used, biodegradable or easily recyclable dishes made from recycled materials are acquired. Fabric napkins owned by the organization are used instead of paper napkins. Helix typically organizes its sits in Alina Hall at the New Student House, so the dishes are borrowed or rented from the New Student House organizations, eliminating the need to transport them from a distant location. For events possibly held in Viikki, efforts are made to borrow or rent dishes locally or bring them to the location.


Excursions and Other Trips

Public transportation is preferred for traveling. This is automatically implemented on excursions to the Helsinki area. On longer trips, environmentally friendly modes of transportation, such as trains, are favored. If it’s not possible or too difficult to use public transportation to reach the destination, shared transportation or carpooling is arranged. This aims to minimize the use of private cars. Events are never traveled to by plane.


Communications and Publishing

Helix ry’s communication primarily takes place electronically through email lists, websites, and social media, which saves paper. The organization’s only regular publication, Vapaa Radikaali magazine, is typically published four times a year. The magazine is printed on certified paper in a printing house authorized to use the Nordic Ecolabel. The magazine is also published electronically, and the print run is minimized to approximately 40-50 copies.


Administration

In the administrative activities of the association, the use of paper is minimized. Accounting and archiving of minutes and other documents are done electronically. Various applications, such as expense reimbursement and credit application forms, are also submitted electronically. The transition to electronic systems will be completed by the end of 2025.


Compensation

The negative impacts and emissions resulting from the activities are aimed to be climate compensated within the available resources.

Helix ry donates a reasonable amount to nature conservation every year.


Environmental impact coordinators

Helix has at least one designated environmental impact coordinator. The Environmental Program is reviewed by the environmental impact coordinators every year after the change of term of office, and the program is updated if needed. The environmental impact coordinators ensure and, if necessary, remind members of the board and functionaires to consider environmental issues and follow the environmental program in the organization’s activities. They also inform the members about environmental issues and, if desired, organize environment-themed events and joint trips to environmental and climate-related demonstrations. The environmental impact coordinators can also make statements on important topics in line with the board’s policy.