The carbon footprint of the University of Oulu decreased by a third from the 2019 level

In 2023, the carbon footprint of the University of Oulu was 12,665 tCO2e. The university's goal is to reduce emissions by 50% from the level of the reference year 2019 by 2025. The decrease in the total carbon footprint of the reference year 2019 was 33.6%, when the carbon footprint was 19,072 tCO2e.

Compared to 2019, district heating emissions have decreased the most being now 0 %. Carbon-neutral, certified district heating with Energy Authority’s guarantees of origin is used for heating Oulu's campuses. The figure shows the different areas of the 2023 carbon footprint.

A circular diagram showing the carbon footprint by sub-areas
The carbon footprint of the University of Oulu in 2023.

As a university, we have made successful choices related to sustainability and have been able to take things forward. However, after the pandemic years 2021-2022, the university's carbon footprint has started to rise. The carbon footprint of 2023 was about 19% larger than the carbon footprint of 2022. There’s still work to be done.

Factors increasing the carbon footprint in 2023 were emissions caused by research and laboratory equipment procurement (38% share), emissions from business trips made mostly by air (14%) and emissions from other procurement (12%). When reviewing the factors that have increased emissions, it’s important to note that research and laboratory equipment make research activities possible. With international cooperation, which requires travel, the university's researchers and experts can respond to global sustainability challenges and produce solutions for them. The positive climate effects, carbon handprint, and possible emission reductions caused by the university's research projects have been evaluated in the thesis completed in 2021, which was carried out as part of the work of the Carbon Footprint working group. In the thesis, the value of the research's carbon handprint was estimated to be up to 6.7 million tons of carbon dioxide (Kemppainen 2021).

Additional information:

2023 carbon footprint in more detail at the Carbon Footprint project webpage
Action plan for sustainable and responsible campus life
Kemppainen, Anna. 2021. ”Oulun yliopiston tutkimustyön hiilikädenjälki : positiivisten ilmastovaikutusten mittari” Diplomityö, Oulun yliopisto (only in Finnish)

Last updated: 13.6.2024