4/2016, In English

No 4 (2016 Abstracts)

Our common future

Jyrki Laitinen, Vice President, Oulu University of Applied Sciences

This issue gives excellent insight into development activities by universities of applied sciences that promote sustainable development. Some of these are clearly based on local needs and others form the basis for more common solutions.   However, all of these reflect an enthusiasm for work in this topic area and, thus, creating sustainable conditions for our common future.

Although sustainable development  as a concept has a long history, it was first clearly defined in the Our Common Future World report published in 1987 by the Commission on Environment and Development headed by Norway’s former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. According to the report, sustainable development guarantees present society’s needs in a manner than does not come at the expense of future generations. Sustainable development produces global or local changes, which guarantee future generations at least the same standard of operations as we have currently. More recently, numerous efforts have been made to redefine the concept of sustainable development. At present, sustainable development is often viewed with regard to how it affects the environment, society, the economy and culture. UN Member States have set up common objectives in an effort to make the themes of sustainable development more tangible. More recently, the Member States agreed in 2015 on a development programme comprising 17 objectives, which will span to 2030.  These extensively cover the different areas of human activities.

Universities of applied sciences are transforming from traditional educational institutions into societal actors, which produce solutions to the challenges faced by the surrounding world and especially by their own region. In order for them to be successful in this, they must shift their mind-set from that of traditional producers of education and implementers of project activities to that of actors, who solve common challenges. Solutions can even in the future be found by educating students and utilising project funding. However, it is essential that we together recognise and decide on which challenges are current at a given time. These can be related to, for example, the development of the urban environment, matters specifically impacting sparsely populated areas, the fight against climate change, energy efficiency or the circular economy. Many of these topic areas are also covered in this thematic issue’s articles, which is comes as no great surprise since the examples are quite generic. The real question is whether the presented solutions will be visible as individual results are part of a more extensive problem solution.

The change of perspective mentioned above will require strategic choices (and choices to exclude or eliminate) as well as extensive commitment to these.  The university of applied sciences must be led to a new mind-set, and they must tell the rest of the world of this. Achieving commitment to these choices will require written and spoken communication. This will not succeed without management and supervisory work of a high standard.

Education dictates that pedagogic solutions must also always be considered. Sustainable development as a subject area is often covered in its own courses and as a learning outcome in other courses.  Both of these are needed for teaching basic terminology, but a real solution in the area of sustainable development almost always requires multidisciplinary cooperation between different actors and stakeholders. Do we offer our students the opportunities for this type of learning?

It is natural for universities of applied sciences to be involved in finding solutions to society’s problems in developing sustainable development.  This is most certainly a motivating factor for problem solvers. In addition to their own activities, the university of applied sciences has a great impact through its graduates. Over the past ten years, approximately 230,000 students have graduated from universities of applied sciences. The same amount or slightly more will graduate over the coming decade. They are all working to create our common future.

Will we succeed in passing on the philosophy of sustainable development and the related problem solving skills?


  • Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. 1987. http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf. 8.12.2016.
  • Sustainable Development Goals. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs. 8.12.2016

Getting better? From the ownership of vehicles to the use of services

Arto O. Salonen, Ph.D. (Education), Research Director, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Sustainability is imperative everywhere. This is a reason why culture of mobility is evolving globally. Young urban populations are not wedded to the car ownership. They prioritise services over ownership. A multi-modal concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) offers sustainable, flexible and effective mobility services. It helps customers to combine various public transportation services as buses, trains, metros and taxies. Less cars are needed which means that emissions and congestion decrease. Noise of traffic can also be reduced. In the near future shared, self-driving vehicles are added to travel chains. Power of pedestrians and cyclists increases because autonomous vehicles are sensitive. In the most attractive cities urban mobility is based on walking, cycling and a fluent public transport. The concept of mass transportation service could be enlarged by integrating for example various basic services in it.

Developing energy sector expertise in Kymenlaakso

Tomi Höök, M.Sc. (Tech.), Project Manager, Kouvola Region Vocational College
Sari Laurila, M.A., Development Manager, University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education
Melina Maunula, M.Sc. (Tech.), Doctoral Candidate, Lappeenranta University of Technology LUT
Ville Räty, Engineer, Project Manager, Kouvola Innovation (Kinno)
Arja Sinkko, M.Sc. (Tech.), Director of Department, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk)
Kirsi Tallinen, M.Sc. (Tech.), Research Manager, Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences (Kyamk)

To develop energy-related education in Kymenlaakso region ensures the competitiveness of the region and of its operators in the rapidly changing energy sector. By getting to know the region’s business environment and its operators’ creates a strong foundation for co-development. With these closely operating networks and with the increased know-how of all partners it’s possible to improve Kymenlaakso region’s assets, and also to enhance educational resources. To aim for vital and sustainable future means that besides regional co-operation also national and international development are acknowledged. Well operating regional partnerships generate opportunities to offer services also in the international markets. The project Lifecycle path for energy studies has addressed the potentials of co-development and has reinforced energy-related educational skills in vocational training and in higher education in Kymenlaakso region by taking into account the development needs of the business life.

Boost for wool recycling with a development project

Leena Juntunen, DA, MEd, Principle Lecturer in fashion and clothing, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Marja Amgwerd, MA, Lecturer in fashion and clothing, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Veikko Koivumaa, M.Sc. (Tech.), Lecturer of technology, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Erja Parviainen, M.Sc. (Tech.), Lecturer in fashion and clothing, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Pentti Viluksela, TkT, Senior Lecturer in cleantech, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Inari Laveri, vestonomi (YAMK), Project Worker, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Wool fiber is valuable also when it is recycled and re-engineered. The project “Recycling wool for growing business”, conducted by Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, is researching the possibilities of recycling wool in Finland, its availability, quality, usability and business, mainly to be used in fashion and textile area. The Finnish wool and knitwear companies are interested in recycling, and there is some know-how as well, but domestic recycled wool is not yet in use in the textile and fashion business. The project is identifying the needs and resources of the companies, and the new business and technology that is needed. The target is to build recycling model for domestic wool, also taking into account international markets and competition.

High-strength steel a frontrunner in sustainable development

Timo Kauppi, TkL, University of Oulu/Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Vili Kesti, M.Sc. (Tech.), Specialist, Forming technology, Knowledge Service Center, SSAB, Europe Oy

Utilization of the Ultra High Strength Steels (UHSS) is a justified and recommended practice from the sustainable development point of view. The progression in the strength of steels decreases the carbon dioxide emissions due to the lighter constructions. This results as decrease of the produced steel tonnage which reflects directly to the CO2 emissions produced by steel industry (ca. 1800 kg CO2 per ton of steel). Also multiple effects are achieved by the increase of payloads and/or decrease in fuel consumption. A lot of effort is however needed to apply and train the research results of the usability of these steels to the manufacturing enterprises before the strength potential of the steels is exploited in the most conceivable way.

Sustainable urban development plays key role in developing markets

Minna Keinänen-Toivola, PhD, Research Manager, Faculty of Technology, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
Nina Savela, Bachelor of Political Sciences, Master’s thesis writer, University of Turku

During the last decades, urbanization process has increasingly been concentrating on the developing countries. The research project NAMURBAN, led by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, aims at providing a research-based and resource effect concept for the urban development in Namibian context. The main themes of the project concentrate on technological solutions that Finnish companies can offer in the areas of water, renewable energy, housing, recycling and ICT. The goal of the project, along with the potential of environmental technologies, is also to provide a broader understanding of the Namibian society. The results of the research are used to model future scenarios of the urbanization process in Namibia and to understand better various forms of governance in the African context.

Sustainable development to work communities by promoting occupational health and welfare

Liisa Kiviniemi, Doctor of Medicine, Principle Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Pirkko Sandelin, Doctor of Medicine, Principle Lecturer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences

In the socially sustainable development an effortless life between people is emphasised. Work communities are significant to the life of an adult. Well-being at work consists of internal factors, such as confidence, rules, expertise and management. In addition, it is linked to external factors, such as technological developments and economic issues. According to the results of three separate master theses active participation of personnel and management are key-elements when promoting wellbeing at work. Successful promotion involves concretizing various well-being –related activities so that they can be assessed and developed. Also in order to promote well-being at work one needs to decide on objectives and criteria, whose achievement and fulfilment are evaluated regularly using reliable methods.

Responsible procurement in the aviation industry

Jasmiina Klemettinen, BBA, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Anna Pajari, M.A, M.Sc.(Econ. and Bus.Adm.), Lecturer, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

Global megatrends can be considered as drivers for new opportunities in public and private sectors. All companies need to take into account these trends effecting their operating environment in order to maintain their profitability in the long run. Companies are generally seen as world citizens that have a higher moral obligation to address the issues of corporate responsibility than compared to individuals. The obligation encompasses the entire supply chain. The airline industry procurement has a far reaching impact due to global scope and the operational field of the industry. The purpose of this article is to reveal the main findings of a thesis that studied the aspects of corporate responsibility as a response to global megatrends impacting on the future competitiveness of the airline industry. Additionally, the purpose was to study the roles of procurement and supplier partnerships to successful implementation of corporate responsibility as well as to provide practical tools for implementing corporate responsibility into procurement processes and practices.

Problem-based project learning a key to circular economy

Sara Malve-Ahlroth, Bachelor of Natural Resources, Project Worker, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Jenni Suominen, MBA, Project Specialist, Turku University of Applied Sciences
Piia Nurmi, M.Sc.(Econ. and Bus.Adm.), Leader of Education and Research, Turku University of Applied Sciences

From Turku University of Applied Sciences one can today find a learning environment for circular economy. It is founded on problem-based project learning, where the students are given assignments by representatives of the working life as well as from the research and development projects. In the learning environment the teacher works mainly as an instructor and as an enabler, who relies on the students’ own activity and knowledge. The development of the learning environment began in 2015, and the physical space was completed in May 2016. Various aspects of the learning environment have been designed according to the circular economy principles. The aim is to support the students on their journey to become experts in circular economy, which also generates special pedagogical challenges. The development work of the learning environment will continue in cooperation with the students and partners.

The circular economy as a service business – from resources to services

Mika Kylänen, Lic.Sc.(Admin.), Principle Lecturer of Service Business, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Pia Haapea, Lic.Sc.(Admin.), Principle Lecturer of Energy and Environmental Technology, Lahti University of Applied Sciences

This article discusses circular economy as a phenomenon and as new business opportunities from the perspective of service management. The circular economy has been anticipated as one of the major vehicles of economic growth and well-being. In Finland alone, the estimated value is more than two billion euros. However, the development activities of the circular economy have to a great extent focused on the problematics of raw materials, manufacturing industries and technology. The article takes a service business approach to the debate by offering user-oriented service solutions as the key aspect in order to harness the full potential of the circular economy. It is clear that the resource perspective is important when discussing the new sustainable economy, but companies and the public sector should pay more attention to flowing processes and seamless logistical service chains through which customers and service providers can create more value and, hence, optimize and enhance the circular-economical in many ways unleashed business potential.

TAMK campus as an study environment for energy efficiency

Pirkko Pihlajamaa, M.Sc. (Tech.), Lecturer of HVAC, Tampere University of Applied Sciences

To do energy auditing in your everyday study environment is a useful and educational way to learn energy efficiency technologies of buildings, not only in theory but also in practice. The campus area of Tampere University of Applied Sciences consists of several buildings of different ages and with various technologies. Cooperation between real estate management and different education units has proved to be extremely beneficial for all parties.

During 2012–2013 more than 50 students audited the TAMK-campus. Even more potential energy savings were found than what was initially estimated: instead of 9% savings in energy consumption, 11% of savings were found.

The cooperation project has been successful, and after the auditing project also new possibilities to combine resources have been found. The extension and renovation of TAMK sports facilities during 2014–2016 was a good case to learn about energy efficiency brainstorming, planning and building with experts. Now it is time for testing.

Transformative learning brings hope for a sustainable future

Erkka Laininen, M.Sc. (Tech.), Planning Manager,  The OKKA Foundation
Arto O. Salonen, Ph.D. (Education), Research Director, Metropolia UAS 

Welfare societies put their best effort on promoting economic growth and technology although the target of good life seems not to become any closer by these means. It becomes impossible to enjoy the prosperity created by the growth if we ruin our own habitat. In the background of our sustainability problems lay the premises and beliefs of the modern worldview on which our society has been constructed. An important task for higher education is to act precautionary and promote transformative learning that can renew our collective beliefs. This enables liberating the potential of individuals, communities and society to aspiration of sustainable and responsible life and constructing of an alternative better future.

Developing nature-based tourism

Sanna-Mari Renfors, PhD, Head of the Research Group, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

The development strategy of Finnish nature-based tourism states that the mission of nature-based tourism is to provide welfare in a sustainable way to all areas in Finland. However, in the Satakunta region productisation of nature has been incomplete, and especially development of competitive and comprehensive products and services is lacking. Today, the regional nature tourism strategy of Satakunta has now been compiled. Additionally, a number of nature trails have been productized by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Altogether 150 actors participated in the product development activities including students, entrepreneurs, municipalities, associations and local developers.

Forssa region a pioneer in circular economy

Kirsi Sippola, B.Soc.Sc., MBA, Development Manager, Häme University of Applied Sciences

The Forssa Region is a good example of circular economy in action. The City of Forssa is also one of the pilot cities of resource wisdom (Finnish Innovation Fund, SITRA) and part of the Finnish Sustainable Communities network (FISU). The strategy called Bright Green Forssa Region has been applied in the region already from the year 2010. The actors being part, and implementing the Bright Green Forssan region strategy, are both public and private operators. The operations towards circular economy and resource wisdom have been particularly developed by the companies located in the Forssa area as well as the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) and the region’s municipalities and the City of Forssa.

The Bright Green Region strategy could be defined as actions following the principles of sustainable development where ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability are taking into consideration. In the Autumn 2016, this Bright Green Region got its’ own space, when the Häme University of Applied Sciences opened a Resource Wisdom Center in the premises of HAMK Forssa unit. The center has a “Showroom” were the projects and other forms of cooperation are presented. The students of the Degree Programme in Sustainable Development have taken part of the visualizations.

Employed year-round in Lapland by combining seasonal work

Johanna Kinnunen, M.A.,  Bachelor of Natural Resources, Project Designer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Forestry and tourism in Lapland offer a lot of seasonal work. The tourism sector provides jobs often in the winter season and lumberjack work during snowless period. By combining work of these two industries it is possible to find employment throughout the year. Problems caused by seasonality of forestry and tourism sectors can possibly be overcome by a new kind of education that combines these two sectors. Lapland University of Applied Sciences develops this new education model in co-operation with Lapland Vocational College, Lapland Tourism College and Finnish Forestry Centre.


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