The region of North Karelia (Finland) has obtained HINKU region status (Carbon Neutral Region), after successfully fullfilling and completing all criteria from the Finnish Enviroment Institute.

To obtain HINKU status, regions and communities must jointly commit to reducing the greenhouse gas emission levels of 2007 by 80 per cent, by the year 2030 and to take this commitment into account in all major decisions.

The Regional Government of North Karelia decided in October 2019 that the region would apply for membership in the HINKU Network. This membership would provide North Karelia with useful tools to reduce emissions, such as contact with other players in the field, information & support, and access to research and development projects.

Membership in the HINKU Network improves governance by appointing resources (climate expert and the regional coordination group) specifically for driving forward carbon neutrality in North Karelia. The regional coordination group is expected to simultaneously become a steering group for the Climate and Energy Programme and POKAT Regional Strategy Programme, and consequently help improve the policy instruments in the future. The Climate and Energy Programme will be formulated through workshops and events, involving several stakeholder groups in the area, including participants in the CLEAN project.

Aino Heikura, CLEAN project partner from Regional Council of North Karelia stated that, ”Getting the status of a Carbon Neutral Region has been one of the main aims of our Regional action plan at the CLEAN project. Now that we have got the Carbon Neutral Region status, we are willing to continue our ambitious energy and climate work in our region. At the moment we are compiling a new Climate and Energy Programme for the North Karelia region to acheive the targets that we set for reducing emissions at the region”.

The HINKU Network members support sustainable businesses, new ideas and technologies through public sector procurements, which in turn helps reach the targets of the Sustainable Growth and Jobs 2014-2020 – Structural Funds Programme of Finland. Joining the HINKU Network will make it easier to find and identify suitable business partners operating within innovative, environmentally friendly, small and medium-sized enterprises.