Mitigating climate change is the greatest challenge of our time.

– We see the transformation to carbon neutral business as a huge opportunity for many kinds of companies. It affects all the industries, only the depth and speed of the changes varies, says Jyri Häkämies. – For example, Finland is currently one of the best cleantech innovation countries in the world.

Focus on greenhouse gas reduction

EK’s role in the process is to influence the regulation of the operating environment, taxation, R&D investments, training, and international activities.

– Businesses are ready for the carbon neutral economy, but they need a stable and predictable operating environment to succeed. We need economic growth to deal with climate change. Reducing the economy weakens the chances of combating climate change with new technology, Häkämies states.

That’s why EK has shifted their thinking from negative to positive – from the traditional carbon footprint to carbon handprint, the positive climate impact that a product can create.

Don’t get it wrong – EK also minimizes their carbon footprint for example by offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of flying, favoring public transport and even the use of bicycles in the city area, and invested in energy savings when renovating the Eteläranta 10 property.

– It may be a cliche, but we want companies to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Companies innovate and invent new solutions. Market forces need to be harnessed to make this change. Of course, regulation is necessary to level the playing field, whether it is related to heating, traffic, emission reductions or the increasing use of renewable fuels.

Climate change affects everything

To the surprise of many, EK is a pioneer in international business organizations in the fight against climate change.

– Earlier we were thought to act as a brake, now we get a lot of positive feedback and suggestions for cooperation. At the European level, we are at the forefront, says Häkämies. – Climate change now affects my work every day. Combating climate change affects our views on everything, may it be news from Finland or other parts of the globe, positive or worrying.

On a personal level, Häkämies has also made choices that reduce the negative effects on the climate. Like many others, he drives a hybrid, mainly heats his home with an air source heat pump and flies only when it is necessary.

– There must be situation awareness of where we are and what the challenge is. Only then will it be possible to consider ways of addressing the challenge, Häkämies sums up.