Sustainable Flow is Flow Festival’s own 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
- Green electricity
- 100 % reused materials
- Sustainable Meals
- Smart transportation
- Protecting Baltic Sea
Zero carbon footprint
Flow Festival is one of the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals. We calculate the total size of the carbon footprint of the festival production annually and aim to minimise the emissions each year. The carbon footprint has been calculated and compensated with official standardised projects since 2009. The calculation includes logistics, waste management, recycling and electricity. Since 2012, Flow Festival has also been using the EcoCompass environmental management system.
In 2019, according to Pöyry’s carbon footprint calculations, Flow’s emissions decreased by 32 per cent. The carbon footprint was 272 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which equals the same emissions as Helsinki-Bangkok return flights of 317 passengers. The emissions can also be equated to the carbon footprint of the production of three litres of milk per festival visitor. This year the carbon footprint is compensated with a Gold Standard certified reforestation campaign in Panama. In addition, the carbon handprint was calculated: by the green choices, 49,5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided.
In 2021 we launched a new research project to give us a more comprehensive insight into how the environment is affected by the festival ecosystem and allow us to develop new tools for building a more environmentally responsible festival production.
Flow Festival’s energy production needs are mostly covered by using Neste MY Renewable Diesel™, which reduces the festival’s carbon footprint considerably. Renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% and helps improve the air quality on the festival grounds since the use of biodiesel reduces odours and particulate matter in the immediate vicinity. The biodiesel is fully 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 either to energy production or to the reuse of waste materials. This year, the goal was to maximise the share of biowaste and other biodegradable waste products. The goal was achieved: mixed waste decreased by 80% from the year 2018. Now the festival aims to dispose of the waste for incineration completely. For example, all cutlery is biodegradable.
In 2019 a strategy, design and technology company Reaktor offered all festival visitors an opportunity to make the festival experience less harmful for the environment. By donating their drink container at a Reaktor return point, visitors can donate the €1 deposit to a reforestation project. One tree will be planted for every drink container donated, removing one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. Thanks to the campaign, 11,869 will be planted in Madagascar.
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, minimising waste to landfill and prolonging the raw material lifecycle.
Flow guides and educates its food vendors to serve ecological dishes. We favour organic and locally produced, pure and domestic ingredients as well as vegetarian food. 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. In 2019 visitors purchased 50% vegetarian or vegan, and 24% were Sustainable Meal dishes.
In addition, Flow Festival encourages festival visitors to use ecological and high-quality tap water instead of bottled water. You can fill up your bottle at the HSY water supply point or at the other water supply points of 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, which corresponds with driving a car ca. 4 km a year.
Flow Festival is held in Suvilahti, close to Helsinki city centre. 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. Flow Festival does not offer any parking spaces for private cars. HSL will organise 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 favour 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 2019, the donations amounting to 7,957 euros, were accounted in full to the John Nurminen Foundation and its Baltic Sea Protection project. A donation of only 5 euros can fund the removal of up to 25 kilograms of algae. Read more about the John Nurminen Foundation and their Baltic Sea actions here.
Flow Festival is committed to forwarding the principles of justice, equity and equality. 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.
Flow requires all of its staff to familiarise themselves with Flow’s responsibility and equality program and embrace the policies in their work. According to the Finnish Occupational Safety and Health, Non-discrimination and Equality acts, everyone has the right to be treated equally. Grounds for discrimination include, e.g., age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, family relationships, state of health, disability, gender, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics.
Also, Flow promotes the establishment of an equal music sector. We undertake to comply with the operating principles of the project “The Equal Future of the Music Industry in Finland” and 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 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 is 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 any existing laws, essential laws being ones involving our employees, equality, protection of privacy, consumer protection, occupational safety, environmental protection and product safety. We work in professional, ethical and responsible manners and in a way that is sustainable for the environment and society. We respect our personnel’s and other people’s right to privacy. We collect, utilise and keep personal data only when it’s justifiable for our operations. We cooperate and converse openly with the organisations, authorities and other officials in our field of business.
Flow has worked with Startup Refugees, a non-profit voluntary network supporting refugees with employment and entrepreneurship. In addition to Startup Refugees, EcoCompass and Key change initiative, we are pursuing more national and international projects that will allow us to develop and challenge ourselves and be the true forerunner we aspire to be.
Flow is known as a safe festival, but we recognise 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. In case of any questions about the safety of the festival area and possible other matters, such as experiencing or witnessing distressing or inappropriate behaviour, 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 first aid personnel are trained to respond to diverse situations, including health first aid.
The festival area is designed to be as accessible as possible, taking into consideration visitors with reduced mobility. 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 Lapin Kulta Red Arena. The assistant to a disabled person can enter the event free of charge. The EU Disability Card can be used at Flow Festival. There are portable bathrooms with wheelchair access in the area and one accessible indoor bathroom in the lobby of Tiivistämö. 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 are continually improving the event and welcome all improvement suggestions to office AT flowfestival.com.