Category Archives: Sustainability in Non-Enviromentally Focused Work Places

Sustainability in Marimekko : Work life visit

Our path to understanding sustainability in work life brought us to a company visit to Marimekko. Marimekko is a Finnish design company founded in 1951. They are known for their prints and colours, lasting and timeless design and strong women. Sustainability is a major issue in clothing industry relating to for example the water and pesticide use in farming cotton, the working conditions of the farmers and workers in the factories along the supply chain and ending in how we treat the clothing we bought. During our visit, the sustainability manager of Marimekko Anna-Leena Teppo gave us a good picture of how Marimekko is dealing with these issues.

Marimekko is a value-based company and they find respect for the environment and people necessary for everything they do. In recent year Marimekko has for example started using renewable biogas in their printing mill in Helsinki, tightened their monitoring over their supply chain. In 2013 they became a member of Better Cotton Initiative. Marimekko still uses cotton in lot of their products, but they are looking into other possibilities such as wood-based fabrics. For Marimekko quality cannot be overlooked – cotton is still a good alternative when it comes to the lasting, feel and versatility of the fabric.

For Marimekko it is important to bring forth the life of the clothing after it leaves the shop. That is why Marimekko does timeless design – Marimekkos clothing is made to last the tides of fashion as well as the strain of using the clothes. As stated before it is important for Marimekko to choose the best materials and sustainability is a part of it as well. Marimerkko has animal welfare policies for all animal-based materials and they are willing to re-evaluate materials used, as was the case with angora after the public scandal concerning the cruel production conditions found in some factories in China.

As with every company, Marimekko still has ways to go to find the golden line to being fully sustainable and still a working company following current economic guidelines. However much is already done and more is to come. You can read more about sustainability in Marimekko by visiting their website: The new sustainability strategy is to be finalised in the coming weeks, so remember to keep track on Marimekko!

Corporate responsibility practices in the textile sector

Showcasing sustainability, an English version of Vastuun kantajat, a collection of sustainability stories from twelve Finnish textile and fashion companies, was published at the end of November last year. The Finnish original was published in a breakfast seminar in Helsinki in June 2015. The book is published by the Finnish Textile & Fashion, the federation of Finnish textile and clothing companies, and stories are collected, written and edited by CSR consultant Sari Kuvaja.

The twelve cases come from the following companies: Agtuvi Ky, Dafecor Oy, Finlayson Oy, Joutsen Finland, L-Fashion Group, Marimekko Oyj, Nanso, Oy Fiblon Ab, Pure Waste Textiles, Reima Oy, Suominen Oyj, VM-Carpet Oy.

This publication looks at corporate responsibility from the perspectives of management, product design and reusing. Apart from issues related to responsible supply chains, the publication discusses themes which have drawn less attention in the public: engaging employees, lojality in subcontractor relations as well as attempts to reduce material spoilage in the production processes.”

(Sari Kuvaja, Showcasing sustainability)

Full publication: Finnish Textile & Fashion: Showcasing Sustainability

From Certificates to Action – Sustainability in Non-Environmentally Focused Work Places

In the wake of climate change, sustainability has risen to popularity. It is noted that nowadays company descriptions and marketing focus on the topic, offices apply for certificates and cities engage in sustainable values.

How does this affect the reality of working life? Is sustainability visible in the day-to-day of employees in different fields? How is sustainability defined? Do we need sustainability managers in the workplace?

Our panelists are representatives of the public, private and third sector. Our discussion focus is sustainability in workplaces, which are not in the fields of “cleantech” or environmental protection.


Petri Heinonen, Supply-Chains Manager at UPM-Kymmene Oyj

Janne Hukkinen, PhD., Professor of environmental policy, Faculty of Social Sciences/Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences/Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

Kati Ihamäki, Director Corporate Sustainability at Finnair

Juha Ketolainen, Assistant Director at CIMO

Risto Kousa, Chief of International Affairs at STTK, Finnish Confederation of Professionals (the largest trade union confederation of salaried employees in Finland)

Auli Korhonen, Industry Policy Advisor, Corporate Social Responsibility at SAK, The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions

For more information, please contact:
Daria Pritup, 040 536 52 52,

Location: Tiedekulma, Aleksanterinkatu 7

Date and time: March 16th, 2016 at 10 am

Facebook event page

The panel discussion video recording is available on UniTube.

Sustainable Development Goals

Voices around the world are demanding leadership on poverty, inequality and climate change. To turn these demands into actions, world leaders gathered on 25 September 2015 at the United Nations in New York to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty. Everywhere. Permanently.

The concept of the SDGs was born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universally applicable goals that balances the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, social, and economic.

The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

The MDGs established measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives.

The MDGs drove progress in several important areas:

  • Income poverty
  • Access to improved sources of water
  • Primary school enrollment
  • Child mortality

With the job unfinished for millions of people—we need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school. Now we must shift the world onto a sustainable path. The SDGs aim to do just that, with 2030 as the target date.

This new development agenda applies to all countries, promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, creates better jobs and tackles the environmental challenges of our time—particularly climate change. Later this year world leaders are expected to reach a global agreement on climate change at the Paris Climate Conference.

The Sustainable Development Goals must finish the job that the Millennium Development Goals started, and leave no one behind.

Green Office – Making Offices More Sustainable

Living is one of the main causes for CO2 emissons. Heating, lighting, waste concern also offices and work places. World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has created Green Offices -program that helps offices in becoming more sustainable. You sign a contract, create an environmnetal management system (EMG) with the help of WWF, develop sustainable practices and report to WWF. Companies participating get the WWF Green Offices -logo for their use and help in developing sustainable practices that often also cut costs and improve satisfaction in work life. In Finland already 447 offices and 168 organizations are part of the Green Offices -network.

As WWF says:

“With its help, workplaces are able to reduce their ecological footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. And also save money.”

Check out more here:

Strategic business models and governance for sustainable solutions

A collaboration project between VTT, Aalto, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Tampere University of Technology, and Tekes on the topic of working life sustainability.

“The transition towards sustainable products, services and production will require significant shifts in the design, manufacture and use of products and services. StraSus project explores how networked companies should improve their sustainability-based decisions as a part of their product and service development processes. The project creates new ways which support the sustainable value creation and its measurement and validation in the networked business from the perspective of involved stakeholders, and over different life cycle phases of product-service systems.” Read more on their website.