Copyright by Kuvaaja/Photographer: Valtteri Hirvonen
Savonlinna Opera Festival has intensified work towards developing the event as circular cultural tourism. Their efforts were recognized with Finnish Eco Compassa (Ekokompassi) certificate by Finnish Nature Protection Association on the basis of recognizing, mitigating and monitoring its environmental footprint.
Eco Compass consists of ten criteria which need to be met. Condition for receiving the certificate is also that the recipients has active management plan for reducing its environmental footprint in concordance with Eco Compass recommendations.
According to sustainability coordinator Johanna Lahtinen from the Opera Festival they have ”On the basis of the ten criteria evaluated the current status and identified critical points in terms of environmental footprint of the festival. Our management plan contains actions to address these points in order to reduce the footprint.” Essential goals set in the action plan concentrate on reducing the carbon footprint, prioritizing local products and services.
”The economic impact of the Opera Festival on local economy in 2022 was c. 20 million euros which in the context of Savonlinna is significant. The one month long festival also has an environmental impact that has to be recognized and mitigated. The certificate is a recognition of the work we started and is an essential tool helping us to monitor our success”, comment the commercial director of the Opera Festival Mika Nevalainen.
An example of of sustainable solutions is that 85 per cent of energy for the event venue Saint Olav’s castle is produced from local renewable energy souces – mainly locally sourced wood chips. In costumes and staging recycling and repurposing of materials is prioritized and surplus material is donated to schools and kindergartens. All products and materials produced by the festival are based on sustainable solutions, e.g. use of eco-certified paper. The Opera Festival also reviews the environmental standards when selecting its partners and suppliers.
Savonlinna Opera Festival is among the few renowned large operafestival is Europe. The festival is organized in an unique venue of a mediaeval castle converted for summer into opera stage. The festival traces its origins to pioneering work of Finnish opera singer Aino Ackté in 1912-1917, but has been organized annually since 1967. For the season in July it gathers an audience of c. 60 000 in Savonlinna. Festival’s own productions are complemented with visit by the leading opera houses of Europe.
Savonlinna Opera Festival: https://www.operafestival.fi
Sustainability on Savonlinna Opera Festival: https://operafestival.fi/en/hyva-tietaa/sustainability/
Eco Compass: https://ekokompassi.fi/briefly-in-english/