We have compiled frequently asked questions on this page and will update the page with your questions. You can send us questions using the contact form.
Our sustainability programme for 2022–2024 can be found here. Our sustainability programme aims to promote eight UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and covers 28 different areas. We report on the progress of the sustainability programme on an annual basis, and you can also find related news and stories on this website.
Sustainable activities and the promotion of sustainability are part of the job description of everyone working at Palvelukeskus Helsinki. In addition, Palvelukeskus Helsinki employs sustainability experts who coordinate and develop various areas of sustainability as their primary task, ensuring that sustainability issues are taken into account as comprehensively as possible in everything we do.
The sustainability of procurement and taking sustainability into account are required by not only the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, but also by other documents guiding our activities. At a practical level, sustainability is part of procurement planning from a very early stage. First, we determine together with the experts responsible for the procurement the most significant sustainability impacts of the procurement and the related sustainability requirements. We also examine previous contract periods and the lessons learned from them, consult the market and conduct market research, for example in the form of market dialogues, and contact experts in various fields, for example in ministries, if necessary.
We are committed to the City of Helsinki’s procurement strategy and to other shared city policies regarding responsible and sustainable procurement. We are also involved in many networks and development groups that promote sustainable procurement. In 2022, we participated in the social sustainability development programme of KEINO, the Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement (opens in a new tab), with the goal of improving the social sustainability of our procurements, in particular.
As a public operator, Palvelukeskus Helsinki complies with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, which means that it cannot directly favour, for example, domestic or local origin. According to section 3, subsection 1 of the act, the contracting entity shall treat participants and other suppliers involved in a procurement procedure in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner, and shall act transparently, having regard to the requirements of proportionality. In addition, in accordance with section 71, subsection 3 of the act, the specifications describing the procurement may not refer to goods of any specific make or origin, nor may they refer to trademarks, patents, product types, origin, or a particular method that is characteristic of the goods, services or production of a certain provider, in a way that such reference would favour or discriminate against certain providers or goods. The technical specifications of the call for tenders must enable tenderers to participate on an equal footing and must not constitute an unjustified restriction of competition. This means we cannot require, for example, that the food is produced in a certain place or that the tenderer’s point of sale is located in a certain place.
However, we have good experiences of achieving a rise in the degree of domestic content or a continued high degree of domestic content through tighter sustainability criteria. New milk and meat contracts, which are significant in terms of procurement volume, entered into force in 2020. Strict criteria related to the treatment of farmed animals, in particular, increased the degree of domestic content of the product groups in our procurements to approximately 90% in meats and 90% in cheeses. Milk and buttermilk (piimä) were already of purely domestic origin before the criteria adjustment.
It is not possible to buy all food products, such as vegetables or fish, as Finnish products, for example due to availability reasons. We contribute to 100,000 meals every day, and the security of food supply is critical to the planning of our operations.
All product groups are regularly put out to tender in accordance with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. The competitive tendering of product groups is carried out through Palvelukeskus Helsinki’s own procurements or in cooperation with the city’s other contracting entities. The parties actively involved in the specification of contract products and services are those that will need and use them, along with the experts of Palvelukeskus Helsinki. We also have experience in involving users in the evaluation of the products offered. For example, in Palvelukeskus Helsinki’s workwear procurement in 2021, our kitchen and lobby service staff evaluated the offered workwear and its suitability for their work by scoring the offered products. The points awarded by the end users accounted for 20% of the total score. ICT procurements related to the services of Palvelukeskus Helsinki and its own operations involve users and other identified stakeholders in drawing up and reviewing the specifications.
In accordance with section 2, subsection 2 of the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, we implement the procurements with optimal economy, quality and orderliness, taking advantage of existing competitive conditions and allowing for environmental and social aspects. The preparation of each procurement examines the special characteristics of the areas covered by the procurement under the leadership of experts familiar with the substance of the procurement. Division of procurements into smaller lots, taking into account section 75 of the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, makes it possible for SMEs to participate. However, it is not always possible to divide a procurement into lots, because dividing them could make the different lots incompatible, and the need to coordinate the different contractual partners of the lots would seriously jeopardise the proper performance of the contract.
Functioning markets and knowledge of the markets are prerequisites for successful procurement, so we have increased the role of market dialogues in the preparation of procurement. Before publishing an invitation to tender, we conduct technical dialogues with potential suppliers, in which we also discuss themes related to sustainability. The monitoring of sustainability criteria during the contract period has also become increasingly important in the procurement of Palvelukeskus Helsinki. Cooperation meetings on sustainability and development work during the contract period have been systematically included in new procurement contracts.
Sustainability is a long-term effort that will probably never be completed, because the world around us changes constantly. Below you can find some of our achievements in numbers. However, all these records were made to be broken:
- In 2021, we used 29,868 kg of sustainable Baltic Sea fish in our food services. On the annual Baltic Sea Day, we serve approximately 4,500 kg of Baltic Sea fish in Helsinki’s schools, daycare centres, senior centres, hospitals and staff restaurants to a total of approximately 75,000 Helsinki residents.
- In 2021, we reduced food waste by selling more than 5,323 kg of leftover food in schools and daycare centres. In 2022, our goal was to increase the sales of leftover food at our locations.
- Palvelukeskus Helsinki currently employs 27 eco-supporters and arranged seven ‘eco-date’ events in 2022.
- A full 100% of our procurements included environmental criteria in 2022.
- In 2022, we used 45,913 kg of Fairtrade (opens in a new tab) certified bananas, 317 kg of Fairtrade coffee, 821 kg of Fairtrade tofu and 468 kg of Fairtrade honey.
- Thanks to our remote care services, we avoided approximately 2,067,000 kilometres of travel in 2021. This helped avoid an estimated 289.4 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
- We have been carrying out EcoCompass (opens in a new tab) environmental work since 2017, and all of our approximately 450 locations are EcoCompass certified.
- About 60% of the meals we serve in schools are climate-friendly and ecological vegetarian food. We are constantly developing our vegetarian recipes, not forgetting the dietary guidelines.
We have won the Luomu organic food competition (opens in a new tab) five times in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021. In 2018, 17.9% of food purchases of Helsinki daycare centres were organic.
The best way to contact us is through our contact form. We will forward your question or message to the right expert, who will answer you as soon as possible.