New project of Karelia UAS investigates the impact of web-based companies
Karelia University of Applied Sciences
A new project by Karelia University of Applied Sciences in Finland brings together students and entrepreneurs for the life cycle assessment of web-based companies and digital services.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences (UAS) in Joensuu has started a new project “Communicative Energy” in North Karelia, Finland. The goal of the project is to promote the carbon neutrality of digital services. This is a joint project of students and companies, with the purpose of diving deeply into the creation, collection, and utilization of life cycle indicators for digital service providers and web-based companies.
The aim of the project is to actively involve entrepreneurs in the preparation of analyzes and interpretation of results seen from a business perspective, as well as to create transparency in the pursuit of carbon neutrality. The activities are aimed at the entire North Karelia region in Eastern Finland. The school has sought cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises, for example by mentoring the use of renewable energy in rural areas.
For the implementation of the project, Karelia UAS chose to use the SimaPro Classroom package. The software has supported the teaching of energy and environmental technology for ten years in Karelia. The school has a long and solid experience in integrating sustainable development and market thinking into education. Now is the right time to develop its activities even further – from the perspective of the communality and regional development of rural enterprises.
In the past, companies have been providers of information to us and users of the results produced by students. SimaPro has been used to create a wide range of life cycle analyzes and assessments. Now we want to go further and develop the operating model so that business partners play a more active role. We want to learn together how to bring sustainable development know-how even more strongly into business development.
Senior teacher at Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Previous projects have focused on energy management and renewable energy solutions. The trainings have promoted cooperation between rural companies in the production and use of renewable energy. Improving energy self-sufficiency has been targeted as part of the financial profitability of companies and new business operations, regional development benefits, better security of supply, and environmental benefits. Karelia has received good experiences with this approach, and SimaPro has helped by bringing indicators to the assessment and supporting the calculations. What is new on the horizon now is the development of scientific research.
The intention of Karelia UAS is to move from impact assessment in learning projects to applied research as well. In this new project, companies will be given a new kind of partner role, where life cycle assessments will be carried out together with students and entrepreneurs. This will allow entrepreneurs to use the data strategically, as well as understand what is missing from the analysis. For that reason, Karelia UAS acquired an additional license – SimaPro Expert user.
The school is already conducting the first case studies supporting the ability of small businesses in North Karelia to map their indicators and interpret the results of life cycle impact assessments. The cases focus on web-based companies and digital service providers in particular with the aim to give them a new strategic grip on the road to carbon neutrality. Cloud functions and digital solutions create large new energy needs at the same time as server capacity increases. This impact is often forgotten. Karelia UAS uses SimaPro and LCA insights to teach students and entrepreneurs that solving one problem may well create new challenges that we need to be prepared for. A web-based society creates efficiency and transparency, but at the same time, it increases the need for energy, which in turn can prolong the journey to carbon neutrality.
Karelia University of Applied Sciences has come to the conclusion that with the help of SimaPro’s tools, this research and development can be implemented smoothly and transparency will increase.