Carbon Footprint of the University of Turku

In its meeting on 14 December 2018, the University Board decided that the University of Turku becomes carbon neutral by the end of the year 2025.  Since that decision the university has calculated its carbon footprint every year and has been actively looking for ways to reduce it. 

Carbon Footprint of 2022 by source

The University of Turku has calculated its carbon footprint 5 times. The calculated total emission for 2022 is 7500 t co2 eq kg. The calculation shows the increased academic business travel since the pandemic period, especially in the form of increased emissions from air traffic. On the other hand, the coefficients have been updated, so the increase in emissions is not directly proportional to the increase in flight kilometers.

The carbon footprint of the University of Turku has been calculated using a formula developed in 2019. It identifies the key emission sources of the university's operations. The calculation follows the GHG protocol and takes into account scope1, scope2 emissions in their entirety. As for Scope3, the calculation includes the majority of indirect emissions, but not all expenses that appear in the accounting of the University of Turku have been included. For example in terms of service procurement.

Carbon footprint calculations are not nationally consistent, so the carbon footprints are not automatically comparable. There is a dialogue about unification, in which the University of Turku is also closely involved.

Carbon Footprint of 2021 by source

The University of Turku has raised awareness of sustainable choices in its community. However, this alone does not explain the reduction in emissions. Significant factors have also been the compensation procedures of Finnish University Properties Ltd (SYK Oy) and the reduction of work travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For buildings, emissions per floor space have also decreased. The same coefficients have so far been used also in other buildings than those owned by Finnish University Properties Ltd. The overall footprint of travelling also decreased further and represented in 2021 only 11 % of the emissions caused by work travelling in 2018 when carbon footprint was calculated for the first time.

A significant decrease in total emissions between 2020 and 2021 emerged due to use of new emission factors for research-related procurement. The use of new emission factors relates to the national harmonisation of calculations. Research equipment and laboratory supplies make up nearly 60 % of total emissions.

Carbon Footprint of 2020 by source


In 2020 Carbon Footprint of the University of Turku was 10 500 tCO2 which was about half of the total of the previous year. The carbon footprint of properties (1 220 tCO2eq), travel (1 350 tCO2eq) and research (7890 t CO2eq). Other contributors were minor. Compared to the previous years, the carbon footprint of 2020 was significantly low, circa 10 500 tCO2eq.The emissions of premises reduced significantly after the University Properties of Finland Ltd began compensating their emissions and this has resulted in the premises being carbon neutral. In addition to the emissions compensations by the University Properties of Finland Ltd, the mild winter of 2020 as well the changes promoting sustainable development in the industry had an impact on the decrease in the carbon footprint of the properties. The carbon footprint of travel dropped significantly due to the coronavirus situation while the carbon footprint of research increased a little.


Carbon Footprint of 2019 by source

In 2019, the carbon footprint of the University was 21 680 tonnes CO2 equivalent. The most significat contributors of carbon dioxide emission were properties (6830 tCO2eq), travel (7210 t CO2eq), and research (6560 tCO2eq). Other contributors were minor. District heating caused majority of the carbon footprint of the properties, and in travel, most of the emissions come from flights. The carbon footprint of research is caused by research equipment (3250 t CO2eq) and chemicals and laboratory materials (2900 tCO2eq).



Carbon Footprint of 2018 by source