Back City of Salo 28.02.2024

Trainings helped the management of the City of Salo find their role in the implementation of the climate and environment programme

person in brown coat and black pants standing on gray concrete road during daytime

Linking climate and environmental issues to day-to-day management is not self-evident. The City of Salo’s management received help from the training sessions to find their own role in climate and environmental work.

The City of Salo’s Climate and Environment Programme (2021-2025) promotes sustainability in everything the city does and in its management. Gaia’s experts tailored a series of training sessions for the management of the city’s key services and group companies, integrating the climate and environment programme into their day-to-day management work. The six-month training cycle took place during 2023.

“We thought that external support would help us to better structure the programme we were working on and to focus our attention on the necessary practical measures,” says Mika Mannervesi, Director of Vitality in the City of Salo.

Meri-Tuulia Hurri, Project Manager of the Carbon Neutral Salo 2035 project, says it is important for the city’s management to show their commitment to the common goals by setting an example.

Bringing a climate perspective into management

The training sessions were attended by officials from a wide range of city departments, from the park division to information management. The first training covered climate and environmental leadership at a general level. The issues were mainly familiar to the management, but the perspective was new.

“We went through different leadership forums from the perspective of climate and environmental work, from procurement to the annual plan,” says Gaia’s Senior Consultant Riina Pursiainen. The second training session delved deeper into the programme’s objectives and ways to promote them.

“I was very impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the trainers, and they were encouraged to work in a nice way,” says Mannervesi. The apprehension and uncertainty soon gave way to confidence that together we can achieve our goals.

Management ownership of climate and environmental issues increased

As the training sessions progressed, Pursiainen noticed a clear change in the participants, as management ownership of climate and environmental issues increased. “At the beginning, many had no clear idea how the topic related to their own sector, but at the last training session, everyone was able to explain in their own words what would be done over the next few years and what kind of management tools would be used.”

The content of the trainings was adapted according to the feedback from the participants and the needs that emerged during the process. “The selection of Gaia as a trainer was largely based on the flexibility of the training package tailored to the City of Salo,” Hurri emphasises. “The consultants were genuinely interested in what we want and need.”

According to Hurri and Mannervesi, the training helped busy managers to set aside time for sustainable development management. They were able to complete materials and tasks at their own convenience using the Howspace virtual platform. The material generated by the trainings was compiled into a Climate and Environmental Management Handbook to support the City of Salo’s sustainable development management.

A separate training session was tailored for the City Council

In early 2024, a separate training session was held for the City Council. According to Pursiainen, Salo took a bold and far-sighted approach. Councils have a big say in climate work, but often the implementation of climate programmes in municipalities remains with the officials.

“The council training increased the effectiveness of the city’s climate and environment programme and made decision-makers aware of the critical importance of such programmes for all Finnish municipalities.”

Mannervesi said it was important to continue the discussion with the council, as many of the measures were divisive during the programme’s discussion phase. The atmosphere in the discussions had been difficult in the past, which is why it was such a pleasant surprise when the atmosphere at the training was different.

“The council training in Gaia remained diametrically under control and the atmosphere was good, even though the differences of opinion were just as great as before.”

Hurri was also pleased to see how the atmosphere softened right after the start of the training, both at the council training and at previous events. “Although opinions were expressed, we were able to discuss things together in a constructive way. Gaia’s introduction, based on researched data and examples from peer municipalities, provided a good basis for discussion.”

In Salo, data collection on the progress of climate and environmental measures has been started, which makes climate work more visible. “The training sessions provided a good basis for continuing the sustainability work in a more coordinated way and in line with Salo’s new urban strategy”, says Hurri. “Clear responsibilities will help make the next programme even more concrete and effective.”

Salo is a Finnish city in the South West region of Finland with population of 51,000.


To clarify the link between management and the city’s climate and environment programme.

Our Role

A series of three training sessions for the management of key city services and group companies and additional training for the city council, development of a climate and environmental management handbook.


Increased ownership of the city’s management, more concrete commitment of management to the implementation of the climate and environment programme objectives.

Public Sector Sustainability, 2030 Agenda Implementation, Follow Up and Review of Sustainable Development, Civil Society Engagement