“Boosting Investments for Smart Cities” – Keynote speech by Helen at Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum

mySMARTLife project was presented as part of a keynote speech at the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum - Energy Efficiency Finance Market Place, which was held in Brussels from 19th to 20th February 2019. Pirjo Jantunen, a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Helen Ltd., Helsinki, gave a keynote speech titled “Boosting Investments for Smart Cities”.

The speech started with an introduction to Helsinki’s top positions in 2018 smart city comparisons, which include the European capital of smart tourism 2019, the best smart neighbourhood Kalasatama and Helsinki’s number one position in social cohesion of smart cities. Helen Ltd., an energy company owned by the City of Helsinki, plays an important role in smart Helsinki solutions. The company produces power and district heating and cooling solutions, and brings new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly services to market.

After the introduction of Helsinki and Helen Ltd., the speech handled one of the most challenging topics: climate change. To prevent the progress of climate change, cities need to change and become smarter by collaboration, innovation and concrete action. One of the key messages of Ms. Jantunen’s speech was that the smart city development is founded on the collaboration between cities, business and investors. In addition, smart city actions must involve citizens and have to be carried out for the benefit of the whole society.

One good method to create collaboration is to engage in different kinds of EU projects. As part of Ms. Jantunen’s speech, mySMARTLife project was presented as an example case. The project involves the three Lighthouse Cities Nantes, Hamburg and Helsinki, and the three Follower Cities Bydgoszcz, Rijeka and Palencia with various partners from city authorities, energy companies, large industrial players as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. The project develops and tests new sustainable solutions, for example retrofitting of buildings, smart home solutions, demand response, integration of renewable energy and optimisation, smart public lighting and smart mobility.

Pirjo Jantunen ended the keynote speech with a clear message: “We can talk about solutions, but what we need is action and in order to do that, we need leadership on all levels”.

The Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-Generals for Energy and Climate Action and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) in collaboration with the Covenant of Mayors.