Climate monitoring in and for Finnish municipalities

Kausal Watch does climate monitoring and accountability build-in

Published on: 12/07/2021
Last update: 14/07/2021

Kausal Watch started in Helsinki municipality, Finland, when a platform for overview over climate progress was developed in 2019. One year later it grew to become a open source company with its data-driven platform. The main users are Finnish municipalities yet an open source community and the citizens also play their part in the further developments.

Kausal Watch

Kausal Watch is a monitoring tool to create an overview for climate action. It started in Helsinki, and it is now used in several municipalities in Finland. The company behind has chosen to make it open source to foster co-creating. Kausal addresses the municipalities’ challenges since it is based on the know-how of a former climate change expert in the Helsinki municipality, CEO Sonja-Maria Ignatius. Even though Helsinki has an ambitious climate plan, they needed the tools to monitor and manage it. Sonja saw a way.

Before Kausal Watch, the civil servants in Helsinki monitored their climate actions and goals through emails and spreadsheets. In a municipality of 90 departments, 38.000 employees, and many consultants attached, this was becoming unsustainable. Sonja therefore brought together a team of experts and built a digital platform to track Helsinki’s climate performance, based on open data. After one year of agile development, in 2019, the team presented the Helsinki Climate Watch.


Open source for a larger community

Since other cities showed interested in this data-driven climate platform, Kausal Watch was born as company. By April 2020, the platform was ready for other cities to use.

The Kausal platform is continuously developed in the open. The open source model means that it is also open for the larger developer community. “To get a maximum positive impact and make the good practices available as wide as possible, open source was considered the best way”, Sonja writes in an email. They have decided for the license AGPL v3, which requires anyone who has added to the code to publicly publish the modifications.

When users in the municipalities ask for a new feature, it is financed by those municipalities themselves. The development period is fast. Sonja says that the setup of the system takes just a few days, and depending on how many people the city wants to involve in the content creation, they are ready to publish within two to three months.


Dialogues on climate

The Kausal Watch web platform gives the municipality a place for all climate actions, goals, measuring points, and contact persons in a real-time, data-driven, and user-friendly solution. Kausal Watch provides transparency and lets citizens know how far their city is from its climate targets. Citizens can also hold their municipality accountable for any lack of progress.

The platform works for internal and external communication, creating a dialogue between citizens, companies, civil servants, and decision makers. All of them can track climate actions and prospects. When Helsinki Climate Watch was launched in 2019, a citizen activist group has formed. They tracked the content and reached out to the contact persons to ask how they could help support climate actions. Kausal has released a new service called Kausal Paths for making scenarios and calculating the impact of different emission reduction measures, to complement the monitoring platform.

Kausal is a management platform and an active network where cities and other actors share information and failures and encourage each other to take more effective action.

As the team behind Kausal Watch describes it in a blog post on Medium: “Don’t be shy about including citizens and about climate issues when emissions need to be reduced quickly.”

As the team behind Kausal Watch describes it in a blog post on Medium:

Don’t be shy about including citizens and about climate issues when emissions need to be reduced quickly.



Final take-aways

  • Kausal Watch offers a data-driven web solution for municipalities to monitor their climate goals and actions.
  • The solution is licensed with the open source AGPL v3, which requires developers to give new releases back to the solutions repository.
  • The open solution also gives citizens the possibility to hold their municipalities accountable for actions and goals.


Demo of Kausal