Social responsibility

This page contains information about the various sections of social responsibility. The page also includes a Compass for social responsibility tool to help you review and develop the realisation of social responsibility at your event.

Compass for Social Responsibility at Events

Download Compass for Social Responsibility here(Link leads to external service)


Events are expected to be socially responsible

We have prepared a tool to help you review and develop social responsibility at your own event. The tool includes many measures at various levels that enable you to move in the right direction: you do not have to know or do everything at once. The key is the desire to improve and take action.

Implementation of social responsibility is important for customers, staff and partners alike, and focusing on it ensures a good and safe experience for everyone. At the same time, investing in social responsibility also builds the competitive advantage and brand of the event. Implementation of social responsibility is not difficult and does not consume plenty of time and resources; instead, you can go far with only a small investment.

Using the document

You can print the compass or download a PDF document to be completed and fill it in on your device. The end of each section also has an open section where you can record goals important for the event, matters to be considered and ideas for development.

The measures contained in the compass are also available in text format below.

Before the event

  • The event has a plan on social responsibility for observing availability, accessibility, non-discrimination, diversity and security.
  • The organisation has an equality plan, if possible, and the realisation of equality and non-discrimination is monitored.
  • The plans include at least the following perspectives: 
    •    guidelines for customer encounters that respect and observe visitors 
    •    well-being of staff
    •    consideration of the local community and residents of the area
    •    accessibility of facilities and routes
    •    experience of security and a safe space
    •    programme offering
    •    communication and marketing
  • The plan has been formulated by engaging, if possible, staff, visitors, local residents and experts on availability and non-discrimination, for example.

  • One or more responsible persons have been designated for the event relating to social responsibility 
  • Diversity has been taken into account in the hiring of different professional groups and selection of volunteers.
  • All staff members have an equal opportunity for development at work.
  • The organisation, as the employer, observes the law, treats employees equally and guarantees good working conditions.
  • The event organiser ensures sufficient induction as well as occupational health and safety.
  • Event organisers are encouraged to hire young people, older people, students and people who are difficult to employ or groups that are underrepresented at organisations or events, for instance.

  • Staff members (including partner operators, restaurant workers and security guards) have been trained on and are committed to ensuring a safe space and atmosphere for everyone, and to take note of the diverse needs of visitors.  Members of staff know how to meet visitors of different ages, genders, minorities, cultures and language groups with consideration and respect.
  • Staff have been trained to guide people with reduced mobility and functional impairments.

  • The planning of the event ensures that the spaces, venues and routes are accessible and safe. 
  • Elevated spaces are designed for people who use a wheelchair that also have room for people who accompany and escort them. We also recommend adding a charging station for electric wheelchairs and induction loops for the hearing-impaired.
  • If possible, organisers should cooperate with disability organisations or other specialists on the subject to ensure accessibility.

  • A safety and rescue plan has been drawn up for the event, which also observes people with functional impairments, such as the sight- and hearing-impaired, and ensures accessible exit routes.
  • A Code of Conduct or Safe Space Guidelines have been created for the event, which instructs staff, performers and visitors to act with respect to other people. (A link to this will be added)
  • All employees and event visitors know how and where they can express their concerns safely and at a low threshold.

  • Communication and marketing will express that the event is committed to social responsibility, and inform visitors and partners even before the event how availability, accessibility, non-discrimination, diversity and security have been taken into account in the event.
  • Plain language, multilingualism and visitors with a hearing or sight impairment are taken into account in the planning of communication and guidance. Different channels are used in a diversified manner in communication.
  • The communication material contains contact details for a person who can be contacted for further information about the availability and social responsibility of the event.

  • Diversity should be observed and promoted in the programme offering, which will also increase interest in the event among many kinds of visitor groups.
  • With the programme offering, you should actively work to avoid strengthening prejudices and stereotypes associated with minorities, for example.
  • In the planning and implementation of the programme offering, you should cooperate with different population groups, such as cultural and linguistic minorities, disability groups and sexual and gender minorities, if possible. 
  • The gender perspective and awareness of social norms are taken into account in all activities. For instance, at best performers or speakers represent the various genders, gender identities and groups of people equally. Gender-based language should be avoided: for example, instead of “Ladies and gentlemen”, you should rather say “Dear guests”.

  • Customer service can answer questions about the accessibility and responsibility of the event.
  • If possible, the event should provide people at a financial disadvantage with opportunities for participation, such as through staggered pricing of tickets or by offering free tickets. 
  • Entry for assistants and interpreters of people with reduced mobility and functional impairments is always free of charge.
  • Availability of ticket sales has been noted, and the event offers different options, such as telephone sales, online sales and accessible physical sales desks.

During the event

  • The event area can be reached in many different ways, such as by public transport, taxi, passenger car and bicycle. Accessible and free car parking spaces equipped with appropriate symbols are located near the entrance to the event area, if possible. The route from car parking spaces to the event area is free from obstructions.
  • Sign posts, furnishings and structures in the event area and its surroundings are placed by the side of the accessible route, so the risk of tripping, collision and falling has been prevented.
  • The info desk, ticket sales, and restaurant furniture such as tables have been designed with attention to accessibility. 
  • Both staff members and visitors can use gender-neutral and accessible toilet facilities and locker rooms.
  • Standing sections include a platform equipped with a ramp for customers who use a wheelchair or walker, and stands have accessible wheelchair spaces, if possible. The spaces should have a charging station for an electric wheelchair. The sight- and hearing-impaired have been reserved space and an induction loop in front of the stand. Those spaces that are available should offer room for people who escort and accompany them, as well as for guide and service dogs. Guide and service dogs need a quiet, supervised space if there is no room for them by the accessible place on the stand. 
  • The event area has also reserved a quiet and sensory-free space if possible.

  • The safety plan ensures unobstructed routes and also observes people with functional impairments, such as the sight- and hearing-impaired. The event offers induction loops, safety bulletins include text, and info screens are used in addition to public announcements.
  • During the event, the organiser reacts to any violations of the guidelines for a safe space or the Code of Conduct.

  • The event offers dates and times or programme contents providing free entry for everyone, if possible.
  • Any loud sound level, blinking lights, smoke or intense smells in performances of the repertoire are indicated beforehand.
  • Theatrical performances, concerts, films or other performances provide speech-to-text interpretation, interpretation to the sign language, descriptive interpretation and monolingual subtitling.

  • Communication and guidance are provided in multiple channels and in plain language, multiple languages and implemented with a view to visual and auditory availability, i.e. the needs of the sight-and hearing-impaired.
  • It is advisable to use symbolic figures in sign posts which should be easy to read at both standing and sitting height.
  • Contents of announcements are also offered in text, such as on screens, Announcements are made in different languages.
  • Communication and guidance describe accessible and available spaces and routes, such as toilet facilities, spaces on the stands and walkways.
  • Communication advises staff members, performers and visitors to act in a way that pays attention to other people, and indicates the contact details of those responsible for event’s social responsibility, availability and security. Communication and the event space actively emphasise that everyone is welcome and that any discrimination, harassment or racism is prohibited.

  • Customer service can answer questions about accessibility and responsibility.
  • Staff are familiar with accessibility solutions of the event area and spaces as well as services promoting the availability of the event, and can describe these.
  • Staff members are aware of any induction loops in the stand or other similar hearing aids, and can offer a customer the best possible place in terms of the hearing environment if necessary.
  • Menus at restaurants and cafés contain clear markings on beverages and special diets.
  • Restaurants and cafés provide a diverse offering of different meals, including vegetable options. People with lactose intolerance, cow’s milk allergy and the celiac disease are taken into account.

After the event

  • Thank the volunteers for their time and effort. 
  • Send certificates of employment to staff members in due time. In the best case scenario, promote the employment of both employees and volunteers in the event industry by means of networking, referrals and contacts, for example.
  • Comply with provisions on use of data and privacy protection regarding event visitors, employees and partners alike even after the event.

  • Collect feedback on the efficiency and effects of the arrangements from event participants, partners, local residents and employees. You should collect some feedback even during the event.
  • Measure and assess the realisation of responsibility plans and any objectives being monitored during the event by different methods.

  • Use the feedback collected to write a summary and discuss it with the people in charge. The summary indicates successes, targets for development and proposed measures relating to these. Start resolving targets for development well ahead of the next event, and by utilising the views of customers, staff members and partners.
  • Share lessons learned, proposals for measures and tried and true practices with other events and the City, so these matters can be better observed in the future.

Read more about the keywords of social responsibility

“How do you create an event, operating culture or work environment in which everyone can
participate and where everyone can flourish as themselves?”

Inclusion means engagement and participation. Inclusive activity takes not of the diversity of people; no one is discriminated against, marginalized or excluded. An inclusive event, meaning one that includes everyone, enables all participants to experience that they are valued, their needs are observed, and that every one of them is an esteemed part of the community (such as a work community or event).

In an inclusive activity, experiences and services are equally available for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, culture, physical characteristics, special needs or socioeconomic standing.

“How do you ensure that every customer and employee is treated and observed in an equal and non-discriminatory manner?”

Equality means equal rights, obligations and opportunities of women, men and other gender identities and expressions to participate in social activity and to express themselves free from stereotypes and expectations set by society.

Non-discrimination means that all people are equal regardless of their characteristics, starting points and background, and everyone must be treated fairly.

“How is diversity observed at the event, such as in the recruitment of employees and the
selection of performers?”

The concept of diversity is not limited to gender, skin colour or ethnic background. It is important to pay attention to different age groups, religious backgrounds, people’s physical and mental special needs, sexual and gender minorities (HLBTIQ+) and different educational backgrounds, for instance.

Diversity is a strength and a resource for the operation and competence of the organisation and for growing the size of customer groups.

“How do you ensure that the event is available for everyone and that everyone can enjoy the
event in the best way possible?”

Availability covers social, physical, financial and digital accessibility.

You can look at availability from different perspectives: attitude-related availability, availability by means of various senses, intellectual availability, availability of information, cultural availability, financial availability, and availability of decision-making.

“How is the accessibility of the event environment planned and maintained?”

Accessibility means consideration of people’s diversity in the design, implementation and maintenance of the built environment. Accessible environments together with available services, usable instruments and understandable information enable the realisation of equal participation.

The City of Helsinki requires that all people have the opportunity to participate in events in the most accessible manner possible.

“How do you contribute to everyone feeling safe and what do you do when something
surprising or unpleasant happens?”

“In Helsinki, safety always means safety for all people who visit events and those who work on them.” (Helsinki tourism and events action programme)

The sense of safety comes from people’s trust that their own and other persons’ health and well-being are not compromised. Events should create a safe space and atmosphere for both customers and employees. A safe space means a space that is free from discrimination, racism, sexism, harassment and comments on a person’s body, among other things.