We are closely involved in the lives of our customers – both students, athletes, leisure travelers and companies. We strive to ensure the implementation of the principles of sustainable development in everyday life through our operations and products. With our own choices, we want to help our customers lead a more sustainable life.

Varala Sports Institute is a UNESCO educational institution whose activities support the goals of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. We have also been granted the special task of promoting health by the Olympic Committee nationwide.

“We strive to bring about positive changes and set an example in building a more sustainable world. Agenda 2030 goals guide our activities and help us make choices in line with sustainable development every day.”

Riku Granat

CEO, Varala Sports Institute

Varala’s Sustainability Programme

Varala's sustainability programme

Varala’s Sutainability Programme has been drawn up taking into account the contents of the sustainability programme of the Finnish Sports Institute Network.

Located in Tampere, Varala is Finland’s first sports institute and, as part of 12 sports institutes, a sports operator influencing the community. We are a living room for exercise and well-being that brings people together, regardless of their background, and is easily accessible to everyday commuters in the neighborhood and travelers from further afield. Our cultural responsibility is to cherish traditions and enable physical experiences in the future as well.​

We strive to consider sustainable solutions and the circular economy in our investments, and to promote sustainable development by making purchases from producers in nearby areas. We have a lowering effect on the emissions we cause, for example by favoring public transport and raising awareness of the effects of commuting. Proof of environmental responsibility is the Ekokompassi certificate, which Varala received in the end of the year 2023.

Towards more sustainable tourism

Varala has taken steps towards more sustainable future. We look after the environment and take care of the surrounding nature with everyday acts.

Varala’s steps:

  • The central location in Tampere enables sustainable modes of transport. We encourage our customers and personnel to come to Varala by foot, bike or public transportation.
  • We received Welcome Cyclist -badge (more information below) in 2023.
  • Most sports facilities are lit with energy-efficient LED lights.
  • We have increased the share vegetarian ingredients and options in our menus.
  • We strive to reduce the food waste by selling the leftover food in ResQ App
  • We have improved the recycling options. There is a recycling station in hall of almost every building where the customers can recycle different kinds of waste (biowaste, bottles and cans, mixed waste).
  • We raise awareness of environmental issues among our personnel with annual training sessions and by telling about our work in the field of responsibility regularly in personnel events.
  • We have reduced inventory of multiple chemicals, cleaners, sanitizers, and deodorizers by using Aktiivivesi since 2018 (turns tap water into a safe, effective cleaner and sanitizer without the hazardous odors, fumes or toxic residues that come with traditional cleaning chemicals).
  • We have reduced the time we heat the sauna for our customers.



For us, environmental responsibility means
concrete actions in our own operations. We
are committed to saving natural resources
and increasing the positive impact on the
environment. As a proof of this, we have
been awarded the EcoCompass Certificate.

Welcome Cyclist

The Welcome Cyclist -program is designed to make life easier for bike travellers looking for useful services. Bike-friendly companies, such as Varala, welcome bike travellers even when muddy, providing them with safe bike storage, pumps and basic tools, a charging point, and information about routes, services and bike services in the area. You can identify bike-friendly businesses on the go using the Welcome Cyclist -badge that we have at our reception desk.

Sustainable Travel Finland label (in process)

In order for the tourism industry to respond to the changing demand and continue to grow, the development must be sustainable. To help the tourism industry in Finland to adopt sustainable practices, Visit Finland has developed the Sustainable Travel Finland -programme, designed for tourism companies and destinations in Finland.

Varala is in the process for applying the Sustainable Travel Finland label.

Sign the pledge

Nature has taken care of us for millions of years and now it’s time for us to take care of it in return. By taking the Sustainable Finland Pledge you make a promise to respect and treasure the Finnish nature, its inhabitants and culture during your visit.