Responsibility is a core activity for more and more businesses

17.07.2018

Progressive businesses seek to solve global challenges. SuomiAreena panel discussion will explore the criteria for sustainable business.

More and more businesses have corporate responsibility at the core of their business activities. These businesses’ activities are not only economically sustainable but also socially and ecologically sustainable. Well-functioning and innovative solutions can be found, for example, in the packaging material and renewable energy sectors.

‘More and more Finnish businesses have taken up the challenges of sustainable development as a starting point for their business activities and have set out to develop solutions that will change the world. These innovative people are an example to me’, says Aalto University Professor Minna Halme.  

The criteria for sustainable business will be discussed at the SuomiAreena in Pori on 17 July. The participants in the panel discussion, entitled ‘The responsible one always wins – these businesses will change the world’, are Sulapac CEO and Co-founder Suvi Haimi, Lune Group CEO Heli Kurjanen, Neste Sustainability Specialist Pia Fagerström and Nordnet Equity Strategist Jukka Oksaharju.

Citizens place the responsibility with the state and consumers

Many Finns consider the promotion of sustainable business to be primarily the state’s responsibility. This was shown in the results of a survey carried out by Fibs ry, the New Global research project from Aalto University, and Nordnet.

38% of survey respondents believe that the state has the primary responsibility, and that it should put in place legislation that promotes corporate responsibility. 36% believed that consumers have the main responsibility, and that they should make responsible purchasing decisions. 18% of respondents, on the other hand, considered that large companies have the main responsibility. Only 6% believed that shareholders have the primary responsibility, and only 1% pointed to small businesses or start-ups.

‘Consumer choices are significant, but businesses clearly have greater opportunities than individual citizens to influence the environmental impacts of production and the responsible operation of supply chains’, professor Minna Halme points out. ‘For example, consumers’ knowledge and influence are limited when making choices on electrical and electronic products or accommodation and transport. We therefore need businesses that boldly set out to challenge the established operating models.’

From the business perspective, the process of scaling up sustainable business depends significantly on the regulatory environment.

‘The scaling up of sustainable business requires partnerships and legislation that facilitates new technologies. Legislation should support the circular economy, which includes the chemical recycling of plastics. This can be used to produce a raw material that can replace crude oil. At the moment only around 20% of plastic can be recycled mechanically’, explains Neste Sustainability Specialist Pia Fagerström.

‘The responsible one always wins – these businesses will change the world’ panel discussion (the event is in Finnish) will take place on the Eetunaukio stage at the SuomiAreena in Pori on 17 July from 11:30 to 12:30. The event is being jointly organised by Fibs ry, the New Global research project from Aalto University, and Nordnet.