Criteria for the operational commitments

Organisations, companies and private persons can make operational commitments to sustainable development, provide ideas for the implementation of sustainable development, and challenge other operators to take part in the effort. A target-oriented and measurable operational commitment constitutes an effective tool for example for developing a company's or corporation's own operations.

An operational commitment contains objectives, indicators and schedule for the commitment. These are set by the commitment holders themselves. The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, its general secretariat, and an expert panel monitor and support the commitments and their progress.

Six criteria for the operational commitments:

1. The commitment must support the vision "A prosperous Finland with global responsibility for sustainability and the carrying capacity of nature".

In 2050, every person in Finland will be a valuable member of society. Finland will be a welfare society that lays the foundation for sustainability and provides its citizens, communities and companies with the conditions they need to operate sustainably. The carrying capacity of nature is not exceeded and natural resources are used in a sustainable manner. Finland will promote peace, equality and justice, and offer practical and sustainable solutions to the world’s problems.

2. The commitment must promote one or more of the shared objectives of Society's Commitment.

3. The commitment must comply with the principles of sustainable development.

4. The commitment must be concrete.

It is not enough that we promise to "promote" something. We must also tell how this is to be done and in what time frame. The promotion may sometimes require amendments to the legislation. If so, this must be mentioned as a concrete measure and the schedule for carrying out this work must be given.

Concrete action also includes safeguarding policy coherence. By making a commitment, the actor (e.g. a ministry) accepts the vision and objectives of Society’s Commitment as the long-term framework for target-setting in its strategy work and policy outlines. This reinforces social policy coherence as a whole and leads to cross-sectoral synergies.

5. The commitment must be capable of being measured and monitored.

Indicators for measuring the progress made in the commitment must be stated when the commitment is given (in the database). Initial and target values, timetables and steps to be taken to meet the objectives of the commitment must also be stated.

The indicators measuring the progress of commitments (process indicators) may vary a great deal between the actors, depending on the type of commitment they have made. The indicators measure the success of the commitment. Based on the indicators, summaries are compiled on the progress made in the commitment; these will be published on the campaign website of the commitment process and discussed at the meetings of the National Commission on Sustainable Development. The national network of indicator experts has prepared the upper-level impact indicators, which are presented in the Findicator web service (findicator.fi).

6. The commitment must create something new.

The purpose of Society’s Commitment is to establish new practices and models of action, innovations, solutions and cooperation. The operational commitments are the leverage that should lead to greater changes in the structures and systems.