Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Organisations consider operational commitments a good means to promote sustainable development

Government Communications Department 26.9.2017 12.44
Press release 428/2017
Organisations consider operational commitments a good means to promote sustainable development

More than 700 Finnish companies, municipalities, organisations, private persons and other parties have made an operational commitment to promote sustainable development. According to a recent survey, 98 per cent of them find the commitment as a good way to increase responsibility and promote sustainable development in their own activities.

Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development is an important tool for Finland in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals under the global 2030 Agenda. . Each and everyone, from large organisations to individual persons, can affect the attainment of the set goals by making an operational commitment under Society’s Commitment. With an operational commitment, cities, companies, organisations and individuals make a public pledge to gear their activities towards a more sustainable basis. For example, the largest grocery stores and retail chains have made a joint commitment to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Operational commitments are an internationally unique way of implementing the sustainable development goals in practice. Based on the KekeArvi project, financed by the government’s analysis, assessment and research activities, the Finnish Environment Institute, Demos Helsinki and Kaskas Media are investigating how the tool could reach even more organisations and better meet their expectations.

Operational commitments evolve and grow in number

Sustainable development cannot be achieved through restrictions, obligations or regulation. According to Jari Lyytimäki, senior researcher responsible for the KekeArvi project, the voluntary nature of operational commitment makes it a good tool for promoting change in society.

“A public commitment generates pressure to devote time and genuinely crystallise what sustainability means in terms of our core functions. This is not always easy,” Lyytimäki says.

The number of operational commitments is growing fast and has doubled this year. Currently there are 700 operational commitments. According to the survey respondents, a public commitment provides a good means of promoting responsible measures and sustainable development in own activities.

The project researchers concluded that the database on operational commitments needs to be further developed. In addition, the great number of success stories would deserve to be known more widely. For example, a joint project by the city and parish of Vantaa fed more than 5,000 people in need of help and support with 35,000 kilograms of surplus food.

Sami Pirkkala, chair of the research steering group and senior specialist at the Prime Minister’s Office, tells that the results will direct future work on the attainment of the sustainable development goals in Finland.

“I am very satisfied with the results of the survey. They enable us to identify the present strengths and shortcomings of operational commitment, and develop it towards an even more effective tool for the involvement of the Finnish society as a whole to the promotion of sustainable development.”

To make an operational commitment, please go to

The KekeArvi project was a part of the implementation of the Government's 2017 plan for analysis, assessment and research. Further information:  

Report (in Finnish)
Policy brief (in Finnish)

Inquiries: Jari Lyytimäki, Senior Research Officer, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,, tel. +358 295 251 397, and Satu Lähteenoja, Researcher, Demos Helsinki,, tel. +358 44 500 2993