Paula Erkkilä, CEO of the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce.

Sustainability drives success

Major changes have happened in Finnish companies’ sustainability actions in the last few years. Today, sustainability work is overall more strategic, goal-oriented, and organised.

Finland is not only the number one when it comes to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but our country also has the world’s most ambitious climate target – the goal is to be carbon neutral by 2035. Companies and other actors are expected to increasingly strive for sustainability, and these expectations are taken seriously. A growing number of companies have started to see sustainability as an investment rather than an expense. The way has been paved for those with a visionary mission to save the planet.

According to research, companies that invest in sustainability are up to 5–15 years ahead of their competitors. Sustainable business is not driven just by regulation, but also more and more by employees, customers, and investors. It could be said that corporate responsibility starts where legislation ends. Responsible companies are expected to exceed the minimum requirements set by legislators.

Companies have started to see sustainability
as an investment rather than an expense

Sustainable business operations are also reflected in companies’ success – sustainability and profit seem to go hand in hand. This is why striving for sustainability even when no one is looking is essential. In fact, sustainability does not only open great business opportunities, but it is also a necessity for future growth. Sustainable companies gain competitive advantage by solving global challenges, for instance.

The higher goals are set, the bigger impact a company’s products and services can have on its industry and even on the whole society. Great things can be achieved by investing in, for example, the circular economy and increasing value added.

If companies take economic, social, and environmental aspects into account in their decision-making and operations, they can leave future generations with as many opportunities as they themselves have had, maybe even more.

In Ostrobothnia, we have a large group of pioneering companies. For them, corporate responsibility is a competitive advantage. You can read more about these wonderful companies in this publication – welcome to get to know our region!

Paula Erkkilä

Editor-in-chief, CEO, Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce