The Versatility of Sustainability

The Sustainability Master Class, organised by the University of Helsinki, is well connected with Outotec’s sustainability mission and the sustainability-related challenges, with which Outotec’s value chain is faced.

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly powerful and complex driver in the metals and mining sector. In addition to environmental impacts, or resource-use related issues of the sector, there are also social, human-related impacts, far more difficult to define and to measure. It is becoming increasingly important for companies to start proactively integrating these issues in their strategies, risk management, technological development, human resources, supply chain management and many other functions.

Cooperating with the University of Helsinki will give Outotec a great advantage both of getting access to different branches of science simultaneously and thus a truly interdisciplinary approach, but also to young students and their out-of-the-box thinking. A combination of fresh thinking, interdisciplinarity and scientific robustness will indeed foster a field of new innovation in sustainability in our business environment.


I think content-wise, we have managed to capture some large trends, as well as opportunities and risks of the sector. These form three (strongly interlinked) challenges, for which the participants would try to find solutions.

The first challenge relates to the social license to operate, including social impacts of metals and mining, but heavily linked with the environmental impacts.

The second challenge, covering technology leapfrogging, is an interesting concept in context of the metals and mining sector. It allows the adoption of cleaner, state-of-the art technology, where prior technology has not been adopted yet, thus leaping over resource-intensive, dirtier technologies.

Given my own background, I firmly believe, that both of these above mentioned challenges, if dealt with responsibly and strategically, will be sources of competitive advantage. This leads to the third challenge, which comprises of the business case for sustainability – or strategic sustainability, as I call it sometimes. Instead of seeing sustainability as a mere cost factor, or compliance issue, we should start seeing it as a competitive edge. Saving earth’s natural resources means that we are saving energy and raw materials, leading directly to cost savings – and to more profitable business.

Developing solutions, with reduced risks for the surrounding society will have a direct business impact as well, since the continuity of operations is more certain and penalty payments might not occur. Being able to meet the tightening environmental/social legislation is something that some of the customers already require.

Also investors are setting certain requirements and this has an impact on the stock price. I guess this is the ultimate sign of sustainability becoming a business issue – investors are quick and agile in finding ways to improve the return on their investments. Even though with a very rational, mathematical and profit-focused approach, the enthusiasm of investors in sustainability is clearly a sign of the markets appreciating responsible and sustainable activities. In fact, I don’t mind under which label sustainable actions are being compartmentalized – environmental improvements, social acceptance, or financial gains – as long as these lead to concrete actions reducing the strain we have been causing so far.

Working with these issues with the participants will be an action for cross-pollinating ideas, awareness and know-how between Outotec, University of Helsinki and all participants from amazingly different backgrounds. I was happy to see a list of so many participants, with extremely proficient qualifications.  I am sure we will be able to generate some great and sustainable solutions to our challenges!

By Susanna Horn
Life Cycle Model Development Manager, Outotec
Sustainability Master Class Mentor

Welcome to Sustainability Master Class!

This year we have started a new collaboration between University of Helsinki and Outotec in form of Sustainability Master Class. We received some 50 really outstanding applications for the program and the group of participants that will take part in it is an interesting mix of young experts with very different backgrounds: everything from corporate environmental management and world politics to mechanical engineering and hydrobiology.

We look forward meeting you all at the Meet & Greet on Monday Dec 12! All the participants can be found from the list below. Don’t forget to check out the mentors too!


This year’s participants are:

  • MSc (Recycling Technology) Annukka Aaltonen, Senior Process Metallurgist, Outotec
  • MSc (Mechanical Engineering) Kalle Aerikkala, Senior Manager, Outotec
  • BSc (International Business) Nabin Aryal, University of Jyväskylä
  • PhD (Biotechnology/Biochemistry) Jane Etegeneng Besong epse Ndika, University of Helsinki
  • BBA (Corporate Environmental Management) Nghiem Dac Vinh Bui
  • MA(hons) (International Relations), M.Sc. (Media and Communications) Ville Ding, University of Helsinki
  • MSc (Corporate Environmental Management and Environmental Impact Assessment) Diki Dukpa, Consultant, Watrec Oy
  • BSc (Metallurgical Engineer) German Fernandez, Process Specialist, Outotec
  • LLM Pirke Fustinoni, Senior Legal Counsel, Outotec
  • BSocSc (Political History) Anna Haakana, University of Helsinki
  • BSocSc (World Politics) Viivi Haimi, Evaluation & Monitoring Volunteer, Green Living Movement Zambia
  • MSc (Environmental Economics) Kirsi Hakalahti, Project Manager, Eaton Power Quality
  • BSc (Geography) Anu Häkkinen, University of Helsinki
  • MSocSc (Development Studies) Anna Ikonen, Assistant/Operator, Opset
  • BSc (International Business) Shariful Islam, University of Jyväskylä
  • MSocSc (Contemporary History) Jaakko Joki, Regional Manager, Economic Information Office TAT
  • MScTech (Water management and Sustainable Global Technologies) Emmi Karjalainen, Environmental Engineer, Skanska
  • MScTech (Applied Mathematics) Tommi Kauppinen, Doctoral Student, Aalto University
  • BSc (Environmental Business) Jenni Kemppainen, University of Jyväskylä
  • BA (English Language) Christopher Knight, Translator, Bank of Finland
  • BSc (Metal Materials) Milla Korhonen, Master’s Thesis Worker, Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK
  • LLM (Corporate Governance) Sanchi Maheshwari, Coordinator, Hanken School of Economics
  • MScTech (Environmental Technology) Kaisa Manninen, Doctoral Student, Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • BSc (Environmental Economics) Panu Maula, Communications Manager, Startup Catapult
  • MSc (Economic Geology) Otso Mäkimattila, Geologist, Finnish Consulting Group
  • BSc (Biological and Environmental Sciences) Pekka Mäkinen, Research Assistant, Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation
  • MSc (Chemical Engineering) Minna Nevalainen, Doctoral Student, Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • BSc (Corporate Environmental Management) Lotta Nieminen, University of Jyväskylä
  • BSc (Environmental Engineering) Noora Oikarinen, Master’s Thesis Worker, Neste
  • MSocSc (International Relations) Taru Pakkanen, Planning Assistant, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL
  • MBA (Business Administration) Mikko Pietilä, CFO, Parkkisähkö Oy
  • BBA (Corporate Environmental Management) Jenni Poutanen, Supply Chain Process Specialist, Neste
  • AA (Liberal Arts and Sciences) Jack Räisänen, Novia University of Applied Sciences
  • BSc (Supply Chain Management) Tuomas Sainio, Spare Parts Specialist, Outotec
  • MSc (Hydrobiology) Elina Salo, Environmental Inspector, Municipality of Kirkkonummi
  • BBA (Human Resources and Management) Emmi Sarttila, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
  • BSc (Geology) Juha Sihto, Cabin Steward, Tallink Silja
  • BE (Supply Chain Management) Francesca Skolc, University of Jyväskylä
  • MScTech (Energy and Biorefining Technology) Suvi Suojanen, Research Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Student (Environmental Economics) Kenneth Söderling, University of Helsinki
  • BBA, BSc (Business/Managerial Economics) Zoltan Toth, IT System Manager, Fortum
  • BSc (Metallurgical and Materials Engineering) Tekin Uyan, Aalto University
  • MSc (Green Chemical Technology) Paula Vehmaanperä, Doctoral Student, Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • MSc (Innovation Management) Kirsikka Vänttinen, Consultant Trainee, Miltton
  • MSc (Inorganic Chemistry) Junhua Xu, PhD Student, University of Helsinki