Managing the carbon footprint of cleaning




Arkea Oy, which is responsible for cleaning services at the Kupittaa campus area, investigated in cooperation with Turku University of Applied Sciences the carbon footprint of ICT-city’s cleaning. The study was conducted as a part of the CarbonWise project

The study started with benchmarking, carried out by students at Turku University of Applied Sciences. It was used to obtain information about sustainability communication in the cleaning industry. At the same time Arkea’s corporate sustainability communications were discussed and practices were compared to other companies in the industry. In the report, Arkea’s sustainability work was revealed to be quite exemplary, although many competitors communicated their own actions more frequently than Arkea.

Students followed the workday of cleaners and observed the environmental aspects of their work. The findings were dismantled in a joint workshop, where Arkea’s cleaners and experts, led by representatives of the University of Applied Sciences, considered the environmental impacts of the cleaning work and devised ways to reduce them. The main development target was the washing and drying of cleaning cloths and mops, which consume a large part of the water and energy used for cleaning.

The cooperation with Turku University of Applied Sciences provided Arkea with valuable information on the carbon footprint of cleaning and the factors affecting it. During the project, the students and experts of the University of Applied Sciences made a calculation model, which makes it easy to calculate the carbon footprint of laundry, as well as assess the impact that various choices and actions might have on it.

The collaboration with the students was fruitful, and Arkea received a new, fresh perspective and ideas from the students on the sustainability issues of the cleaning service.

During 2021, Arkea has created a carbon footprint calculation model for all three of its industries and calculated the carbon footprint of its pilot sites.


Sanna Paloposki

The author is an environmental expert at Arkea Oy.