SustainableFlow

Sustainable Flow is Flow Festival’s responsibility program, ensuring that the festival carries out its responsibilities related to the environment as well as the social aspects of sustainability.

Sustainable Flow is :

  • Zero carbon footprint
  • New environmental solutions
  • Green electricity
  • 100 % reused materials
  • Sustainable Meals
  • Smart transportation
  • Protecting Baltic Sea
  • Equality
  • Safety
  • Accessibility

An environmentally friendly festival

Flow Festival is one of the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals. The carbon footprint has been calculated and compensated with official standardized projects since 2009.

In 2021, the festival launched a new research project with D-mat, an expert company for a sustainable future, to evaluate the festival ecosystem’s overall environmental impact and develop new tools for more sustainable festival production.

The research is run by D-mat, an expert company founded by one of the leading experts in resource efficiency and dematerialisation in Finland, Michael Lettenmeier. It is supported by Finland’s sustainable growth program, funded by European Union’s NextGenerationEU financing. During the project, an extended calculation of the festival’s carbon footprint is executed, including the indirect emissions behind the production’s service chains, e.g. the transportation of festival visitors and artists. Additionally, the material footprint of the whole festival is calculated, which helps to evaluate the festival’s consumption of natural resources and to understand its comprehensive ecological effects. Through the results, an even more holistic understanding of the environmental impacts of the different aspects of the event can be formed, and new solutions to decrease the climate impact and use of natural resources will be created. As the project’s resulting product, Flow and D-mat will develop a carbon and material footprint calculator for the event industry, thus helping the entire field to gain more information and decrease its emissions and impact on the environment.

The study’s first total calculations will be finished by the end of this year, but encouraging initial estimations have already been made regarding the festival’s food consumption. Flow’s decision to drop red meat and poultry from its menus has proven to be an efficient climate act:

  • the climate impact of the food consumed at Flow 2022 was 50 % smaller than in 2019
  • 50 % of the dishes sold were vegan
  • the carbon footprint of the food consumed by visitors was 34 500 kg CO₂e smaller than in 2019, even though the number of visitors and food consumed increased
    (2019: 88 800 kg CO₂e, 2022: 54 300 kg CO₂e)
  • the environmental savings add up to over 150 000 kilometres driven.
  • the material footprint of the food consumed decreased by over 25 % from 2019

Flow will also compensate for its emissions at the end of the project. Flow and D-mat strive to determine if compensation of the material footprint is possible in addition to the carbon footprint compensation and how that can be done in the most efficient way possible.

Since 2012, Flow Festival has also used the EcoCompass environmental management system. In 2022, the EcoCompass certificate was audited and updated.

Green electricity

Flow Festival’s energy production needs are covered by renewable diesel, reducing the festival’s carbon footprint considerably. Renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. It helps improve the air quality on the festival grounds since the use of biodiesel reduces odors and particulate matter in the immediate vicinity. Renewable diesel is entirely produced from renewable and sustainable feedstocks, such as inedible waste from food production. In addition, Flow uses carbon-neutral, domestic EKOenergia certified electricity produced with wind power.

100 % reused materials

Flow sorts and recycles all waste produced during the festival, redirecting it to energy production or reusing waste materials. The goal is to maximize the share of biowaste and other biodegradable waste products. The goal was achieved in 2019: mixed waste decreased by 80% from 2018. Now the festival aims to dispose of the waste for incineration completely. For example, all cutlery is biodegradable. In addition, the festival seeks sustainable and durable solutions for the different stages of event production. For example, we select furniture, fittings, and decorations that use recyclable, reusable, and long-lasting materials. In decking/patio materials, we use UPM ProFi® composite made 75% from recycled waste, minimizing waste to landfills and prolonging the raw material lifecycle.

Sustainable Meals

Flow continues its trail-blazing work on sustainability by cutting red meat and poultry entirely out of the menus and ensuring all restaurants have at least one vegan option. This policy applies to the food served to the audience as well as the artists and staff. The caterers are provided with Sustainable Meal guidelines that are developed according to the principles of sustainable catering. They also receive an evaluation form focusing on, for example, the origin and ethical standards of the ingredients used, the energy efficiency of food production, logistics, packaging materials, as well as the use of local, organic, and seasonal products. Following these guidelines, caterers offer a special Sustainable Meal option on their menu. Among all the Sustainable Meals served at the festival, a winner is chosen based on a sustainability evaluation and the reviews of a taste panel. An audience favourite is also chosen by popular vote. In 2022, the Sustainable Meal winners were LoiLoi’s Tofu Okonomiyaki (jury winner) and The Glass’ Common Roach and Potatoes (audience favourite).

In addition, Flow Festival encourages festival visitors to use ecological and high-quality tap water. You can fill up your bottle at the HSY water supply point or at the other water supply points in the festival area. By drinking tap water, you can reduce plastic waste and your carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of water treatment and distribution in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is only 0.7 kg of CO2 per resident annually, corresponding to driving a car ca. 4 km a year.

Smart transportation

Flow Festival is held in Suvilahti, close to Helsinki city center. It is easy to access Flow by bike, on foot, or by public transport. There is a free bicycle parking area near the festival site, where you can leave your bike during the festival. HSL will organize additional public transport services during the festival weekend. For example, the night metro will run 2 hours longer than usual. We also aim to avoid long distances when it comes to deliveries and subcontractors, and we favor local suppliers as often as possible.

Protecting The Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted sea areas in the world. For several years, Flow has offered a chance to support the protection work of the Baltic Sea with a donation while purchasing a festival ticket.

In 2022, the donations amounting to 6,726 euros were fully accounted to the John Nurminen Foundation. The goal of the Foundation’s environmental projects is to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea with concrete measures that reduce the load and environmental risks faced by the sea. 

Read John Nurminen Foundation’s tips to save the Baltic Sea that everyone can do through everyday actions and choices as consumers.

Equality

Flow Festival is committed to forwarding justice, equity, and equality principles. Everyone is welcomed to the festival just as they are, and we tolerate no form of discrimination. We expect our entire staff, as well as our associates and distributors, to adhere to the same values. In 2022, we carried out a visitor survey, to which over 9000 festival visitors answered to. 93 % of the people who gave their opinion felt that Flow executed equality well. We strive to develop and carry out equality even better continuously and happily accept any ideas you may have regarding the matter. You can approach us by emailing office@flowfestival.com.

Also, Flow promotes the establishment of an equal music sector. We comply with the operating principles of the project “The Equal Future of the Music Industry in Finland.” We aim to promote equality, non-discrimination, and diversity in the music sector in Finland and worldwide. Flow also participates in the European Keychange initiative, which aims to improve women’s standing in the music industry. Among other things, Keychange participants commit to choosing an equal amount of male and female performers by 2022. Flow accomplished the goal in advance: in 2019, 65%, and in 2022, 55 % of the groups that performed at Flow had women, trans or non-binary members.

Flow is committed to the values of equality and transparency regarding its business activities and internal and external communication. All operations are tied to the principles of equality which are also systematically tracked and assessed. In our marketing communication, we always present products, services, fees, and other factors in clear and truthful manners and never use misleading terms. Designated people are running Flow’s media relations. We reply actively and truthfully to customer feedback during the festival and throughout the year.

We do not accept breaking the law and never encourage or advise anyone to violate existing laws. We work in professional, ethical, and responsible manners and in a sustainable way for the environment and society. We respect our personnel and other people’s right to privacy. We collect, utilize and keep personal data only when it’s justifiable for our operations. We cooperate and converse openly with the organizations, authorities, and other officials in our field of business.

For several years, Flow has worked with Startup Refugees, a non-profit voluntary network supporting refugees and immigrants with employment and entrepreneurship.

In 2022, social and healthcare services provider Mehiläinen brought their Pääasia lounge to Flow Festival. In the lounge, visitors could get support for various situations and emotions emerging at the festival from mental health professionals free of charge. The Finnish Red Cross’ first aid station, roving first aid workers, and preventive substance abuse care workers were also present at Flow in 2022.

Safety

Flow is known as a safe festival, but we recognize the challenges involved with events with large crowds. Together with the festival-goers, subcontractors, and other stakeholders, we create an event everyone can attend safely. The routes are kept open, and the festival area is spacious, so overcrowding and bottlenecks do not form. Together with the security personnel, we monitor the situation and, if necessary, make changes to the festival area and policies. We are prepared for a wide range of possible dangerous situations, and we inform the audience about the operating instructions, if necessary, with screen texts, stage hosting, through Flow’s mobile application and social media channels.

If you notice any security flaws in Flow, please report them to the nearest security person or to office AT flowfestival.com. In case of any questions about the safety of the festival area and other possible matters, such as experiencing or witnessing distressing or inappropriate behavior, you can approach the nearest member of the safety personnel. Customers can also receive help at the first aid point, where the Finnish Red Cross’s first aid personnel are trained to respond to diverse situations, including health first aid.

In 2022, we carried out a visitor survey, to which over 9000 festival visitors answered to. 97 % of respondents felt very or quite safe at the festival. 96 % did not experience or witness sexual harrassement at the festival. 94 % of respondents did not experience or witness bullying or other violence at Flow. Although the results are very positive, we strive to develop and improve the safety of the festival continuously.

Accessibility

The festival area is designed to be as accessible as possible, considering visitors with reduced mobility. In 2022, the accessibility planning of the festival area was done in cooperation with Riesa Consultative, and we strive to consider, for example, visitors with reduced mobility even better.

The festival area has been planned according to easy wheelchair access to all performance venues and restaurant areas. There is a wheelchair podium at the Main Stage and Red Arena by Lapin Kulta Pure. The assistant to a disabled person can enter the event free of charge. The EU Disability Card and Toilet Card (Vessapassi) can be used at Flow Festival. There are portable bathrooms with wheelchair access in the area, as well as one accessible indoor toilet in Kattilahalli.

There is a specific point designated for wheelchair-accessible taxis. Located near the Flow Info Desk, the point serves as a pickup point for wheelchair-accessible taxis. Please note that the point is not a taxi stand, but a point where ordered taxis can come to. The address of the point is Parrukuja. Wheelchair-accessible taxis can reach the point via Hanasaarenkatu, where security personnel will guide the vehicles. As a large event, we still have ways to go to be as accessible as possible to absolutely everyone. We continually improve the event and welcome all improvement suggestions to office AT flowfestival.com.

Read more on the accessibility of Flow.