Social and Health sector organisations have multiple roles as climate operators

Together with Tietotakomo, MDI conducted a literature review for SOSTE (Finnish Social and Health Association) on the effects of climate change on the social services sector. Among other things, the report highlights the many potential roles social organisations can play as climate actors. Social and health sector organisations’ climate action has the potential to reach target groups that the climate debate might not otherwise reach, and to inform decision-making about the preparedness challenges faced by vulnerable groups while better understanding their specific needs and perspectives.

The comprehensive review gathers together information on the effects of climate change on human health and well-being and examines how the production of services in the social services sector has prepared for climate change and what measures have been taken to mitigate climate change in the sector.

The paper described a few case examples from comparison countries relevant to Finland. In connection with the literature review, a remote workshop was also organised for representatives of SOSTE’s various affiliated organisations, in April 2020. On the basis of the literature review and workshop, proposals for measures were drawn up from the political  to the organisational level and finally in relation to practical activities in everyday dealings with service users.

  1. It is hoped that SOSTE will become an active player on the climate issue.
  2. Ecology should be taken into account in funding. Funding should be available for environmental development work.
  3. The active cooperation of organisations should be utilised in increasing environmental friendliness.
  4. The development of the organisations’ activities requires clear guidelines and the introduction of environmental expertise from outside the organisation.
  5. Efforts must be made to develop competence.
  6. Communication on climate issues should be planned and should take into account the special needs of the organisation’s target groups.
  7. Various practical tools are needed and are expected to be developed from the perspective of the organisations themselves.