Digital steps towards sustainability

Building a web service to help people buy more sustainable services

Helsinki Marketing

Helsinki is committed to providing every resident with the opportunity to live more responsibly and sustainably, and to be a city where people learn about and introduce better ways of living together.

The Challenge

Change only happens when a sufficiently large and diverse group takes action. This is why was the perfect place to make an impact. The goal was to make it easy for users to find sustainable options for living in and enjoying Helsinki. The city needed something more than just service design or technology. They needed a concept that would make it possible for the citizens and companies to make a positive change together - a platform for better living. The SEO visibility and findability of the whole site also needed to be improved.

What we did

The project started by defining what are we doing and why. Why is this important? Who are we doing it for? How does it support Helsinki’s strategy and the narrative of the most functional city in the world? The first workshops gave us a tone of voice and an idea of a platform that would make it possible for users to make an impact on how it feels and on life in Helsinki. It became clear that the city itself is the facilitator and the residents the doers and storytellers. This allows the concept to sell itself in terms of shared content, creating a platform based on organic growth.

It's digital storytelling at its best.

Futurice is an internationally successful pioneer in its field, but at the same time, it has retained a humble and listening culture. It was especially important to us for the design to seamlessly integrate with technical production, and for the level of ambition to be maintained from start to finish. Futurice's ability to manage a challenging and multidimensional entity on a tight timetable and budget framework is superior.”

Tia Hallanoro

Director, Brand Communications & Digital Development, Helsinki Marketing

Based on this innovative concept and sustainability criteria, we then designed and developed a new service section called Think Sustainably under It lets users select service providers that are committed to operating responsibly. The new feature is based on sustainability criteria applied by Demos Helsinki. When local service providers like restaurants, cafés, accommodation providers as well as activity and experience services meet the criteria, they can be included in the service. The criteria highlight ecological sustainability and the fight against climate change, while also taking into consideration other dimensions of ecological and social sustainability. We made it technically possible to create the criteria and deliver the provider information to users.

Meanwhile, Columbia Road, a subsidiary of Futurice, had already started on growth hacking, including the SEO guidelines for improving the content, finding the right search words and optimizing site performance. The project was a great example of social impact and successful teamwork between the two companies - and coders and designers.

Why it matters

Solutions to combat climate change are everyone’s concern and achieving them is not just a task or a privilege for a small minority. Stopping climate change requires both major structural changes and everyday action. The change must be made now, and that is exactly what and Think Sustainably do.

Together, Futurice and Columbia Road ensure that technical production goes hand in hand with growth hacking, rather than stumbling on separate paths. This ensures the long-term development of growth hacking. In the long term, discovering content, SEO and SEM is a matter of success through ongoing experiments, so it’s all about successful teamwork.”

Tia Hallanoro

Director, Brand Communications & Digital Development, Helsinki Marketing

About Helsinki Marketing

Helsinki Marketing is a city-owned marketing company that aims to raise international awareness of Helsinki. Because digital services are the cornerstone of its operations, the city is a great test platform. They have launched locally and globally award-winning services every year, such as, a service for local recommendations, and WeChat MyHelsinki Mini Program, which offers tailored city recommendations, including intelligent transportation and payment methods. All the services rely on open data, MyHelsinki Open API.

Want to know more about this?


Katja Metsola, Director of Data Science, Helsinki

+358 40 745 3770

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