Fimea’s footprint – social, ecological and economic sustainability

People working at desks in an open-plan office.
© GettyImages/fizkesfizkes

In sustainability work, footprint refers to the direct impact that the organisation’s actions have on the environment, people and society. Fimea aims to reduce the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by its actions.

Social sustainability Footprint icon.

Hybrid work has placed more weight on ergonomics, brain ergonomics and practices related to the use of shared equipment when one part of the staff works at the office and the other part at home. That is why in 2022, Fimea agreed on practices to promote personnel’s brain ergonomics, collaboration and well-being. For example, all Fimea’s internal meetings begin on the hour and end ten minutes to the hour. This leaves everyone time to move to a possible next meeting both mentally and physically. In addition, instructions and tips were prepared for tasks that require concentration, meeting practices and the improvement of communications. A work community communication survey was also conducted in 2022, especially from the perspective of remote and hybrid work: as many as 84% of the respondents felt that remote and hybrid work have improved work community communication or that the communication has worked as before. 

As many as 84% of the respondents felt that remote and hybrid work have improved communication in the work community or that communication has worked as before.

Fimea actively wants to strengthen competence management. In addition to goal and development discussions, supervisors were coached and instructed to conduct continuous discussions at least in the form of monthly situation meetings. In addition to substance competence, competence development focuses on shared strategic competence, such as service-oriented expertise. The aim of the coaching management approach is not only to support working but also to enable personnel development and career planning. In addition, efforts were made to increase mobility and personnel rotation, which are to be integrated into systematic personnel development. 

The 2022 Government personnel survey VMBaro showed a slight increase in Fimea employees’ job satisfaction from the previous year. The results review of VMBaro was carried out through dialogue, for which both personnel and supervisors were coached.

Enabling multi-location work and employment in multiple municipalities is important for Fimea. Multi-location work and employment also enable hiring the most suitable applicant for the position regardless of the municipality. Fimea is happy to offer future experts a box seat to employment in a state agency in the form of a paid traineeship.

Ecological sustainability and financial sustainability

The State Treasury is currently working on producing a carbon footprint assessment on the central government together with company groups. As a result, this report does not separately address the carbon footprint of Fimea. However, our goal is to examine other possible indicators of our operations that could help us promote the reduction of climate emissions.

The most significant negative impacts on the environment due to Fimea are caused by premises and travel; the premises consume energy and travel produces emissions. Fimea has paid attention to the negative environmental impacts of travelling by following the government’s travel strategy, which emphasises environmental sustainability by reducing the amount of travel, favouring environmentally friendly travel methods and adding emission impacts to the assessment of total travel costs. Remote inspections have remained a permanent tool alongside on-site inspections. Like the entire inspection activity, the selection of remote inspection sites is based on a risk assessment.

Fimea aims to reduce the negative environmental impact of premises by being a pioneer in the implementation of the state premises strategy. Fimea has complied with the premises strategy by making the use of premises more efficient and by introducing facilities shared with the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the Regional State Administrative Agency. In 2022, Fimea operated in premises administered by Senate Properties, which is responsible for state premises, in Helsinki and Turku (Senate Properties Social Responsibility Report: Social responsibility). At the beginning of 2023, Fimea’s Kuopio premises moved to the main building of the former provincial government main building administered by Senate Properties, and in spring 2023, Fimea’s Tampere premises will also move to the Attila office building administered by Senate Properties. In the next few years, Fimea’s premises in Oulu will also move to the former provincial government building administered by Senate Properties.

In recent years, Fimea’s ecological footprint has been particularly affected by the digitalisation of case handling processes. The Mass digitisation of documents ordered to be archived project ended in September 2022, and at the same time, Fimea gave up its last remote archiving space in Helsinki. The project began in 2019 and a total of 1,430 shelf metres of documents were transferred to the National Archives. There, the archived material is digitised and stored only in digital form. Physical archive material is disposed of. The Mass Digitisation project has had a strategic link to the requirement of efficient use of premises. In addition to significantly reducing the negative environmental impacts caused by Fimea, it also produces economic savings. During the entire project, the net reduction in archiving space has been 3,393 shelve metres, as the project was linked to a paper archive arrangement project that was launched years ago. Once all remote archiving facilities have been relinquished, the savings on rental costs will be EUR 195,000 per year. Digitalisation of the case handling process also supports multi-locational work.

During the entire project, the net reduction in archive space has been 3,393 shelves and rent savings EUR 195,000 per year.

Fimea is a net-budgeted agency that receives funding mainly from the customer fees of pharmaceutical sector operators. In 2022, Fimea’s gross expenditure was EUR 35 million and its gross revenue was EUR 28.4 million. The difference between expenditure and revenue is covered by the state budget. In 2022, marketing authorisations for medicinal products, licence and audit fees for pharmaceutical operators and quality control fees under the separate statute accounted for approximately 86% of the agency’s total funding, disregarding the carryover of unused appropriation from the previous year. The remaining 13% was operations funded from the state budget, which include general governmental oversight of pharmaceuticals, the pharmacopoeia and assessment of pharmacotherapy process, and 1% was project funding received from the EU and the Ministry. A total of EUR 4,784,000 was granted to Fimea in the 2022 budget and supplementary budget. The financial statements and annual report for 2022 (in Finnish) provide a comprehensive picture of Fimea’s finances.

The performance of public procurements within the framework of the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts and Fimea's procurement rules are part of the financial sustainability. Fimea complies with the procurement strategy of central government by using Hansel’s framework arrangements as comprehensively as possible and by monitoring the procurement plan in accordance with the State Treasury’s guidelines. The national procurement strategy defines policies and goals for the economic, social and ecological sustainability of procurements. Hansel actively pays attention to the sustainability of procurement in framework contracts and has defined labels for financial sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability for joint procurement framework contract suppliers. When using framework agreements, Fimea selects suppliers that have earned the labels as far as possible.

Production of the sustainability report

This sustainability report has been prepared in accordance with the State Treasury’s guidelines. Fimea’s sustainability report focuses on describing how Fimea’s core operations contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (so-called handprint of activities, that is, the positive effects). The report will be published annually, and its content will be developed as Fimea’s sustainability work makes progress. In the future, in measuring impact, the aim is to utilise the evolving reporting of medicines data.