As climate change affects all aspects of society, including education, Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College prepared extensive Responsibility Report with the goal of modifying its training programme to meet the challenges of climate change. Today’s students are becoming ambassadors for sustainable development as they prepare to modernize businesses to meet current demands.
Perho College has adapted its education to meet the principles of responsibility and the new challenges climate change poses. Responsibility is reflected in all curriculum content. The goal is to prepare students to shape their workplace activities in a way that is sustainable in the future.
‘We will train our students as ambassadors in sustainable development and measure the impact on the future through our carbon handprint’, says Juha Ojajärvi, Principal of Perho College.
Perho College has commissioned a comprehensive Corporate Responsibility Report for the academic years 2017–2019. The sustainability report, which was undertaken in accordance with international standards as a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), was produced by EcoReal Oy, an expert in sustainability. The purpose of the report is to help deepen Perho’s work in all areas of responsibility: environmental, social and governance.
Perho is a vocational college located in Helsinki, Finland, with approximately 1,600 students studying business, tourism and culinary arts. In particular, the tourism and food industries have important roles to play in combating climate change. Globally, tourism accounts for about 8% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the World Tourism Organization and the tourism industry is growing at around 3–4% per year worldwide. This growth is also evident in Finland, where the number of tourists has increased for several years in a row, according to Statistics Finland.
Thus, as tourism increases, there will be a concomitant rise in CO2 emissions, which will have a significant negative impact on climate change.
‘We need to be able to serve the tourism industry and run restaurants with radically lower carbon emissions in the future. In fact, all educational institutions should have a similar responsibility programme as climate change will affect every industry’, says Lotta Partanen, a sustainability expert at EcoReal.
Today, Perho’s qualifications include studies in sustainable development, and teachers are making efforts to integrate sustainable development through innovative learning environments.
‘Sustainability has been at the heart of our study programmes since the establishment of the college. We have been a pioneer in areas such as responsible tourism and sustainable gastronomy. We have also always included our students in the further development of sustainability in education. The report wraps up our work in one package and makes it measurable according to international standards’, says Ojajärvi.
Perho’s responsibility work was divided into four different themes: education in sustainable practices, respect for the environment, staff well-being and a balanced economy.
One of Perho’s most visible achievements in responsibility is the Green City Farm (www.greencityfarm.fi), which was implemented after a group of students presented the idea to their teachers. Perho has also created a sustainable gastronomy centre of excellence (www.kestavagastronomia.fi). In addition, Perho organizes the highly acclaimed annual Sustainable Gastronomy Summit. This year, it will be organized in September 2019 with the theme of delicious and climate-friendly local food for active people.
The GRI Responsibility Report brings together the work that has been done, the goals that have been achieved and an ambitious plan for future development.
‘We strive to show how our customers have worked hard to meet goals in responsibility and practical instruction on how they can develop their businesses to be even more responsible’, Partanen says.
The education sector has a significant impact on the future.
‘As students bring their knowledge of sustainable development to their future workplaces, more and more businesses and communities are adopting more responsible and climate-friendly practices. The climate benefits of teaching can thus be measured as the carbon handprint’, says Partanen.
Carbon handprint is an indication of climate change mitigation potential. It describes the CO2 emission reduction in a customer’s activities that occurs when the customer replaces a baseline solution with a handprint solution.
The results of the Perho College GRI Report and the report itself can be found here: link
CEO, Principal Rehtori
Phone: + 358 40 093 9269
Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College
Senior Consultant, Sustainability and GRI reports
Phone: +358 50 554 4967
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