The importance of sustainability increases for organizations year by year, because there are social challenges surrounding them that continue to develop. However, as the expectations grow, it is important to remember that one organization need not try to solve all problems. Organizations should specify which problems they actually want to help solve, then focus on those. You must pick your fight in order to maximize your positive impacts. This is precisely how the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas) wanted to proceed.
Hoas builds, rents and maintains apartments for the use of students who are obtaining their degrees in Finland’s capital city region, producing long-term user-oriented solutions for the needs of the current and future generations. We carried out a sustainability essentials analysis for the foundation, aiming to identify those elements of sustainability that were the most critical to react to, considering their societal impacts and their importance for the interest groups.
This work was carried out by charting the key trends in sustainability that have an impact on the foundation’s operations, mapping the sustainability-related expectations held by the interest groups, and analyzing the future impacts of the powerfully developing regulatory environment on the value chain of housing production. In addition, the project assessed the negative and positive impacts of Hoas’ own operations on the surrounding society, such as its environmental impacts and the importance of housing services to the wellbeing of students.
At Korkia, in addition to the interest group expectations being charted, a sustainability essentials analysis includes the charting of the risks and opportunities arising from the changes in the regulatory and operational environment. With the help of the Korkia tool, it is possible to identify risks and opportunities that might otherwise be left unnoticed within organizations. Many organizations have not trained their management to systematically recognize ESG risks, which may lead to many risk factors being left un-identified, allowing them to cause unpleasant surprises later.
On the basis of the analysis, we recognized several key operative and strategic development areas: for example, that advising students and guiding them to assume an environmentally friendly way of living will have positive, wide-ranging, long-term effects. Focusing on this, Hoas will be able to significantly increase the positive impacts of its work while it develops its housing services further. The analysis also helped identify certain key risks for which it was seen as necessary to prepare. The recognized risks, the housing-service-related development ideas and the recommendations for concrete actions were put together to form an action plan. Adhering to this plan, Hoas has the possibility to be the forerunner and trendsetter in the field of sustainability in student housing. Through the development of sustainability, the brand and customer satisfaction will develop in a positive direction as well.
“Sustainability is important for Hoas, and its importance is now underlined more strongly than before, particularly because our clientele is so young. We searched for the best possible partner with whom to build our sustainability road map and decided on Korkia, because earlier, in 2016, we worked together very successfully. This time as well, we were more than satisfied with our excellently managed Korkia project and the insightful observations we gained,” says the Managing Director at Hoas, Matti Tarhio.
”Sustainability is becoming an increasingly strategic element for almost any party. It is always great to see how all operations and their quality are promoted through the development of sustainability. At the same time, it is possible to detect risks and identify opportunities that have gone unnoticed until then and could continue unnoticed otherwise,” comments the manager of the Korkia project, Eerik Klemetti.