Kategoriat Get in the mood

Every action counts 

When a shared future is at stake, every action counts. Our sustainability programme has made great progress, and the results show that our actions are moving in the right direction.   

In the summer of 2023, we were awarded the Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) label and the EcoCompass certificate. These are important steps forward, but both programmes require us to continue to improve in the future. We are also committed to the live music climate roadmap, which defines common green transition objectives for the music sector. This is how we want to maintain the momentum of Finland’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2035.  

One of the new initiatives is a collaboration with Finnish State Railways (VR), about which we will provide more information nearer to summer. The train takes you right into the heart of the city – and there’s something extra on the way. 

A month-long international festival inevitably creates a variety of demands. We create the stage productions, construct the venue in Olavinlinna and employ hundreds of seasonal workers each year, many of whom move to Savonlinna from elsewhere for the duration of the festival.  

In an operation of this size, sustainability means long-term commitment and the evaluation of all our processes from a perspective of durability. For us, sustainability is all-inclusive. We take responsibility not only for the climate, but also for the economy, our cultural heritage and for each other. We want to share the joy of opera regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, state of health, disability or any other individual attribute.  

Sustainable travel for the whole region – for the first time in Finland 

More than 60,000 visitors to the Opera Festival leave their mark on Savonlinna and its surroundings. As with all forms of tourism, the largest carbon footprint related to the festival comes from the audience’s travel. At the same time, cultural tourism has been shown to contribute to the vibrancy of the region. The direct economic impact of those who bought an opera ticket in the Savonlinna region was around €20 million in the summer of 2023. 

Because our choices make a big difference, the Savonlinna region pays particular attention to the sustainability of tourism. Sustainability is a concern that is shared by tourists and the tourism industry. In August 2023, the Savonlinna region became the first region in Finland to be awarded the status of Sustainable Travel Finland Destination. Alongside Savonlinna, this includes Enonkoski, Rantasalmi and Sulkava.  

The regional status requires that more than half of the region’s international tourism operators, including the Opera Festival, have achieved their own STF label. In Savonlinna, this threshold was exceeded by a wide margin. Sanna Eerikäinen, project manager for the scheme, explains that Sustainable Travel Finland is first and foremost a sign of commitment to the long-term development of sustainability. It is also a guarantee that the operator already has a third-party sustainability certificate, such as the EcoCompass, Good Travel Seal (GTS), Green Key or Nordic Swan Ecolabel, depending on the sector. 

The development of tourism takes into account ecological, social, cultural and economic aspects: ‘It is one of the strengths of our region that the majority of tourism operators are locally owned family businesses. They, in turn, continue to source the services they need locally. Sustainable tourism brings prosperity to local people’, says Eerikäinen.  

In particular she mentions the fees paid by the Opera Festival to sports clubs and other voluntary workers in the region. During the festival there will be a total of four hundred volunteers, ranging from security guards to ushers. ‘Volunteering at the Opera Festival is an important source of funds for the clubs, supporting our children’s and young people’s activities throughout the year.’ 

Read about all our actions, big and small, here.

For information on companies in the Savonlinna region that have been awarded the STF label and tips on sustainable tourism, click to visitsavonlinna.fi or visitsaimaa.fi.