Sustainability at Future Workplaces in Focus

Sustainability at future workplaces from different perspectives was on the agenda when the Future Sustainable Workplaces webinar, organized by the project Future Cleantech Solutions as part of the EnergyVaasa Talks series, invited people around the world to take part in the insights shared by Finnish and Swedish leaders and decision-makers. The event was moderated by Annakarin Nyberg.

– We are so glad that we got to gather these inspiring leaders from different fields for a cross-border discussion, where they shared their personal views and insights on sustainable work. Innovative thinking happens when we cross borders and cooperate, said Triinu Varblane, Finnish project manager for Future Cleantech Solutions.

The speakers at the event agreed on the fact that there is still work to be done when it comes to equality and everyone has to participate.

– We are still living in a pandemic, but in terms of equality, the work remains the same. At the future workplaces, it is as important as ever to promote gender equality, said Tomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality of Finland.

Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships at the European Commission stated that we are not utilizing the full potential of our society, unless we include girls and women in our leading positions. Promoting equality results in a better working environment.

Pandemic Gives Push Towards a More Sustainable Working Culture

According to Katarina Borstedt, Director of Growth at Northvolt, the awareness of sustainability issues has grown during the ongoing pandemic.

– It has become more important for people that the company they work for is contributing to a more sustainable world, she said.

Both Martin Ärlestig, EVP Production & CIO at Komatsu Forest and Hannu Mäntymaa, CEO at Wärtsilä Finland agreed that we need to work together and support each other to change the world.

– No one can do it alone. It requires new ways of thinking and collaboration, Mäntymaa pointed out.

Roleff Kråkström, CEO at Moomin Characters anticipated the future and estimated that the Nordics will have a poignant role in re-building the society post-crisis.

– Our societies are based on equality, inclusiveness and trust. The Nordic art and literature carry on these values, he described.

Resilience and Emotional Intelligence Help Cope

Building psychological safety and becoming more resilient helps us cope during crises, according to Annele Heikkilä, Competence Development Manager at Boliden Kokkola.

– Leaders act as role models; we show respect and utilize emotional intelligence at workplaces to create a psychologically safe environment. The fact that some people work remotely and others do not sets new demands on leadership, as we have to support everyone equally, she said.

Borstedt and Kråkström emphasized that younger generations bring new perspectives and digital savviness that companies should embrace.

Gender Equality Company of the Year Awarded for the First Time

As grande finale of the event, the Vaasa-based IT company Oy Gambit Labs Ab was awarded as Gender Equality Company of 2021 in Ostrobothnia. Honorary awards were given to Citec Oy Ab, Devatus Oy, Fresh Servant Oy Ab, Andelslaget Närpes Grönsaker and VILPE Oy.

The competition jury consisted of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia/The Ostrobothnian Workgroup for Gender Equality, Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK, Jakobstad Region Development Company Concordia, Dynamo Närpes, Kristinestad näringslivscentral, Kust-Österbottens Företagare, Technology Center Merinova, Viexpo and Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce.

Text: Terhi Teräväinen, VASEK
Picture: Felix Rantschukoff

Future Cleantech Solutions is an Interreg Botnia-Atlantica project that promotes cleantech companies' opportunities for concrete business- and cooperation in a manner that strengthens their prospects of doing business on regional, national and international markets. The project is funded by Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, Region Västerbotten, Region Västernorrland, Municipality of Umeå, Municipality of Skellefteå, Municipality of Örnsköldsvik, City of Vaasa, City of Kokkola, Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK, Technology Center Merinova, KOSEK, Umeå Energi and Skellefteå Kraft, and is carried out by Kompetensspridning in Umeå AB, Skellefteå Science City, Örnsköldsvik Municipality, Teknologicenter Oy Merinova Ab, Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK and Development Company of Kokkola Region (KOSEK).


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