Arnon - Organizational wellbeing enables environmentally-friendly solutions

Organizational wellbeing enables environmentally-friendly solutions

To bring about real and lasting change, climate change mitigation must be good for business. So says Executive Director for Sustainable Development at Technology Industries of Finland, Helena Soimakallio.

While the importance of mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and managing consumerism is recognized, the business landscape has not yet adapted. Enterprises cannot, however, live by responsible business alone.

According to Helena Soimakallio, tackling climate change must be good business – and it is.

– In the best case, low-carbon measures will achieve a triple win. Industrial automation and improving energy efficiency are great examples of how one measure can improve productivity, save costs, and reduce emissions from, for example, energy use, Soimakallio notes.

Towards carbon neutrality

In the summer of 2020, Technology Industries of Finland published a low-carbon roadmap, intended to play its part in Finland meeting its 2035 carbon-neutral targets, as well as those of the EU by 2050. Finnish technology companies have also made their own commitments in this area, leading to the roadmap being rolled out faster than expected.

– Granted, a lot of Finnish companies have not yet changed their operations in any way and do not even have a change plan yet. The apparent inactivity is because changes in technologies, solutions, and business models that curb climate emissions take place in investment cycles, not linearly’, Soimakallio explains.

– Every business follows its own path, with reductions in emissions usually following on from a response to the need for the next upgrade, expansion or investment in production technology, for example. Depending on the lifecycle of the technology in question, this might take a year, five years or even decades.

“Tackling climate change is good business.”

Competitiveness as a prerequisite for development

Organizational and environmental wellbeing go hand in hand.

– Only economically viable businesses can innovate and invest, which makes it important to take care of their ability to compete, Soimakallio stresses.

Energy efficiency, material efficiency, and incorporating services into a product or solution can lead to increased wellbeing without ramping up environmental concerns.

– I’m not immune to environmental anxiety myself. I constantly feel the frustration of progress not happening quickly enough. But as a qualified engineer, I typically trust that we have both the desire and ability to develop technological solutions. The messages coming from society at large are the fuel that awakens businesses, customers, and decision-makers alike. We need both the right amount of concern to promote action and the knowledge that we are all part of the solution.

Helena Soimakallio’s long career spans the energy industry and the real estate and construction sectors. She is the Executive Director for Sustainable Development and a member of the executive group at Technology Industries of Finland (Teknologiateollisuus ry) and the Managing Director of the Finnish Association of Consulting Firms (SKOL).



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