In spring 2012, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) published a Media Sector Supplement as guidance for the media industry. In 2013, Alma Media became the first Finnish media company to start publishing an annual corporate responsibility report in compliance with the GRI Media Sector Supplement guidelines.

Alma Media’s environmental study, completed in 2013 and conducted in co-operation with VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and the Swedish Center for Sustainable Communications, has played an important role in the development of Alma Media’s environmental responsibility. The environmental study focused on the effects of printed and digital media.

In 2015, Alma Media again participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global initiative on climate impacts, and was ranked as the top Nordic media company in the CDP 2015 climate report. In December 2015, Alma Media committed to the Paris Pledge for Action to reach the COP21 targets. Alma Media has been a signatory of the UN Global Compact initiative since 2011.

Environmental responsibility as a strength of buildings

The most significant environmental impacts of the operations of Alma Media and its business units are related to printing and distribution, buildings, purchasing and travel. Alma Media’s office in Helsinki’s Töölönlahti district, completed in December 2012, and the printing facility built in Tampere in 2013 reduce the highest direct environmental impacts. Environmental impacts during construction and use were minimised in both projects. Both of the buildings received LEED environmental certification in 2013. The Töölönlahti office building achieved LEED Gold certification in recognition of excellent consideration of environmental matters. As far as is known, the Tampere printing facility is the world’s first LEED-certified printing facility.

During the design process of the Töölönlahti building, including the choice of location, environmental aspects were taken into account as follows:

  • energy-efficient building technology
  • underground parking with charging stations for electric cars
  • waste management during construction and use, with extensive recycling
  • excellent public transport links

Focus on material and energy efficiency in printing

Alma Media develops its environmental responsibility by improving its material and energy efficiency. The environmental study carried out in 2012 provided information on potential opportunities for improving efficiency. The new printing facility and office building significantly improve the energy efficiency of Alma Media’s properties. For instance, the printing facility in Tampere has a heat recovery system that captures over 80 per cent of exhaust air. The production efficiency of the new printing press is higher than before, and the use of solvent-based detergents and water has decreased.

The new printing press has led to a substantial decrease in the amount of materials wasted; in 2015, the amount of maculature* decreased by 11 per cent from the previous year in 2015 (2014: -11%).

Another key aspect of material efficiency is the recovery of waste: almost all waste created by the printing facility is used as a raw material by other businesses. In 2015, all waste generated at the printing facility was recovered for recycling or reuse, and no waste ended up at landfill sites.

Harmful VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds) from printing operations were kept very low in 2015, with the level of emissions declining slightly from the previous year to 4,471 kg (2014: 4,488 kg). The chemicals used for cleaning the printing machine have been VOC-free for some time, and since 2012 the company has also minimised the VOC content of the dampening solution used in the printing process. Alma Media’s printing facility in Tampere was one of the first printing facilities internationally to begin using a dampening solution that is almost entirely free of VOC emissions.

*The maculature percentage expresses the proportion of waste material to total material used in printing operations

Development of environmentally sustainable operating methods and purchasing

Alma Media can influence its environmental impact through its purchasing policy in particular. Environmental considerations are now particularly taken into account in newsprint purchases. Paper manufacture has wide-ranging impacts on climate change and resource depletion, as well as biodiversity. In 2015, 86 per cent of the newsprint used by Alma Media contained recycled fibre (2014: 75%). The share of recycled fibre in all newsprint pulp used by Alma Media was 43 per cent (2014: 38%). Environmental issues are also a key factor in purchasing chemicals and printing plates.

In addition, Alma Media can efficiently decrease its ecological footprint by changing its own operating methods. Over the past five years, the company has implemented new videoconference systems and other tools to facilitate remote work. This has reduced travelling and, consequently, the environmental footprint. 

Alma Media’s units have a total of 23 videoconference systems installed. In addition, the Skype for Business communication tool is frequently used for Alma Media’s internal video and telephone conferences. According to statistics, some 600 internal meetings were arranged year 2015 using the videoconference system or Skype for Business, which equates to approximately 7,000 hours of meetings during the year. The actual figure was considerably higher, because not all meetings were included in the statistics, such as smaller online meetings with only two participants.

In recent years, Alma Media has also significantly reduced the number of pages printed. This, too, resulted from changed operating methods: the number of printing devices in the different units was reduced from slightly under 500 printers to 140 devices currently. At the same time, Alma Media employees have begun to permanently switch to documents provided in digital format only. Therefore, the number of pages printed has decreased by 40 per cent to 3.2 million pages per year currently.

The Sustainable Media corporate responsibility programme aims to increasingly integrate ecological considerations into ICT purchases. The environmental study indicated that ICT equipment and infrastructure have significant environmental impacts. Careful analysis and mitigation of these impacts is of great importance as digital media consumption increases. 

The average carbon dioxide emissions of the Group’s leased car fleet are also monitored on a regular basis. The target, which was to reduce average emissions by eight per cent from 2013 to 2016, was already achieved in 2014. In 2015, the average CO2 emissions of the Group’s motor vehicles were 136 g of CO2 equivalent per kilometer (2014: 135 g). Alma Media will set a new target in spring 2016 for the reduction of average emissions from the company’s car fleet.

Increased awareness through open communication about environmental responsibility

Alma Media is actively involved in industry-wide environmental initiatives, such as the Shape study of the Federation of the Finnish Media Industry and VTT Technical Research Centre, which investigates media consumption from the perspective of its environmental impacts. On the international stage, Alma Media promoted the handling of environmental matters related to print and digital media by commissioning research activities and communicating about them.

Since 2012, Alma Media has participated in the City of Helsinki Climate Partners network aimed at promoting co-operation to reduce climate emissions and boost the competitiveness of the participating companies. Alma Media continued its active participation in the network in 2015.

Climate change mitigation targets

View spreadsheet – Targets for climate change prev

Environmental key indicators

View spreadsheet – Environmental key indicators

*Carbon dioxide equivalent is a measure used to compare the total climate effect, or Global Warming Potential, of emissions from greenhouses gases produced by human activity. The carbon dioxide equivalent is calculated by converting the global warming potential of other greenhouse gases to that of carbon dioxide.

Annual Review 2014

Financial Statements 2014

More information