Annual report

The upheaval in the operating environment strengthened Syke's mission in 2022

Russia's war against Ukraine, which began in February 2022, turned the societal debate into a completely new position in many ways. A significant change for Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) was that our mission – to influence the building of a sustainable society with research, knowledge and services – became a central element of foreign and security policy.

The phasing out fossil fuels and the overuse of virgin natural resources was, in addition to its environmental significance, also widely seen as an opportunity to ensure security of supply and reduce security-weakening dependence on Russia.

Director General Leif Schulman. © Kai Widell

Syke's renewal progressed

After the 2021 strategy process, Syke moved to reform the organizational structure. The new organizational structure aims to establish a sustainability transformation- and a solution-oriented approach to research and expert work. In this way, Syke is able to strengthen its position as a pioneer in the support of sustainability transformation. The organizational reform was a major administrative and communicational effort, but the personnel performed excellently. At the end of the year, attention was turned to developing a new brand for Syke, so that the new organization could also start with a new look at the beginning of 2023.

Syke’s activities focused on societal impact

Syke's vision, "Sustainability transformation!", requires a change from solving individual environmental problems to rapidly transforming the society as a whole. Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution are system-level challenges that require system-level solutions. Syke has studied sustainability transformation in relation to the energy, food and transport sectors for a long time already. In 2022, several actions related to halting biodiversity loss were also launched in both international and national projects. Syke's extensive project portfolio directly supports the achievement of the performance targets by channelling knowledge and solutions into decision-making and society.

Syke grew especially in research and development activities

About half of Syke's total costs are allocated to research and development activities. The number of person-years of R&D work increased by two percent compared to 2021, the number of person-years of expert support decreased by nine percent. As a whole, Syke's personnel grew slightly in 2022.

Towards the end of the government's term, the numerous legislative and strategic processes initiated by the Finnish government and the EU Commission employed Syke's experts, especially in the form statements. Partly for this reason, partly due to the attention required by the internal organizational reform, the number of publications fell slightly short of the target.

High-quality data enables accounting

In economically and geopolitically unstable times, it is especially important to offer the society solutions that are based on research. Companies and administration recognize the risks caused by climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as the long-term cost savings brought by sustainability, but they need knowledge-based support to find new solutions. Along with measures to reduce climate emissions, there is a need for solutions that protect natural capital. Syke has strong expertise in carbon dioxide emission calculations, hydrology and water-related impact assessments. These are now being supplemented with a knowledge base that supports ecosystem accounting and decision-making that utilizes data and information on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Sustainability transformation requires that, while responding to the societal knowledge needs, data management solutions are developed together with their users. The role of a research institute is to ensure that data production is based on relevant and high-quality monitoring and to promote the transparency and verifiability of solutions. In order to ensure usability, transparency and ambition in the work, joint development and the commitment of actors and decision-makers are needed.

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Published 2020-03-09 at 16:36, updated 2023-03-15 at 7:45