A Tale of Two Days

Two intensive days packed with various activities pushed all teams over their limits, and brought everyone closer together.

 The Sustainability Master Class (organised by University of Helsinki, in cooperation with Outotec) reached the first climax at its two-day Boot Camp. Here, the teams had opportunities to advance on their projects, and the mentors gave valuable assistance to all participants. When teams arrived to the event, the challenges had only been examined on theoretical approaches, after leaving the Boot Camp, teams have already come up with practical solutions (solution 1.0) for their problems.

The event started with individual self-evaluating and team building. Each participant got a chance to re-assess themselves and their motivation: what they are good at, what they are looking for from the class, what they are planning to achieve, what inspire them in life, etc.

After that, teams took part in the Marshmallow Challenge. In 12 minutes, every team had to build a freestanding structure that could hold a piece of marshmallow as high as possible. They received 10 spaghetti sticks and 1 metre of white tape for the “construction”.

There were a lot of discussions and analyses how to do the task. Every one really worked hard together in their own team to solve the puzzle. In the end, after much screaming and laughter, team Kai Tuo Zhe won the contest when their tower could raise the marshmallow to the height of 67cm. But truly, all teams won, for each became more attached as a team.

The winning team of the Marshmallow Challenge

Assisted by Helsinki Think Company, all teams went through two days loaded with tasks, exercises, and activities. From defining problems to finding solutions, from getting and giving feedback to performing the pitches, every one could feel the streams of energy and ideas flowing through themselves as well as their teammates. Stressful, tired, and laborious, perhaps, but the outcomes are so rewarding. Big thanks to Jarkko and Meeri, who facilitated the working process so well and so cleverly and so aggressively that we must say, we love to hate you! (No, we don’t hate you. Probably.)

Other extensively helpful assistance came from the class’ mentors. They spared their precious time for joining the event. Using excellent knowledge and tremendous experiences, they helped every team excessively in solving the challenges. Without their guidance, the teams perhaps couldn’t go that far with the projects. Thank you, mentors! We promise that we will use you exhaustively until the end!

Problems were presented through characters. In this case, Fidel the Fox was separated from her puppies.

It is so amazing that when you work with each other, when you share the happiness and the difficulties, when you go through good and bad times together, when you split a croissant 50/50 because all have ran out, from acquaintances you become friends.

Of course real friends then forced you to swim in the cold lake after hot sauna. Sauna was definitely the best treatment to release tensions and tiredness. It’s also a chance to socialise and get to know other participants better. If two and a half hours of warm steam, cold water, and tasty drinks weren’t enough, social butterflies could mingle more in the hotel’s lounge. And many did just that. And it was delightful.

Thanks everyone for your lovely companies! Cheers!

Bui Nghiem Dac Vinh

Journey Towards New Business Models in Mining

Can mining industry ever be truly sustainable? As a part of the Sustainability Master Class, the team Systemico is convinced that by entwining future production with utilization of reclaimed sources is the way forward. Through the incentivization across the supply/value chain and an emphasis on ethical and sustainability encouraging traceability of minerals and minimizing the potential for harm, we believe in a better tomorrow.

At this very moment about 50% of all of the copper is in fact already recycled when their primary use has come to an end.

As such, we have two very distinct visions for the future. Firstly, increased re-use of reclaimed materials. At this very moment about 50% of all of the copper is in fact already recycled when their primary use has come to an end. This particular is prospect based on the idea of involving the mining industry actors in the whole cycle of a metal, from the extraction to reclamation. Essentially, it can be thought that environmental harm by mining is justified by economic opportunities it brings in form of employment and sharing proceeds from mining activities in form of taxes or royalties. In primary extraction we are thinking about exploring models based on offering mining as a service where incentives are made to minimize the environmental impact of operation. From there on traceability of the material could be used to see the “mass balance” in the whole system where materials are ending up to and to increase the share of materials recycled.

Secondly, and looking even further into future, if most of the activities in mining are automated, there will be less positive externalities created by the mining industry for the national or local economies. In a case where a conventional mining site of thousands of workers may be made more secure and reliable through use of technology, the need for manpower is considerably diminished. How could this change the approach governments look at mining industry given that the metaphorical (and occasionally real tailing related) spillovers are lessened?

Automated gold concentrator at Kittilä mine. (Photo by Outotec)

The mining industry can become sustainable. In order to achieve the change we just need to think outside the box – actually far outside, and also, minimize the potential negative repercussions. We believe that by developing disruptive new business models a company can create significant competitive advantage in this situation by emphasizing on the sustainable and safer business practices related to mining.

We believe that any such disruptive business model needs to cover the whole cycle of materials, from primary mineral extraction to recycling. Will it be difficult to achieve? No doubt. Can we really do something if we dream big enough? Absolutely. Is this out of the box? So far out that you are a ball.
Written by,
Systemico: Kalle Aerikkala, Ville Ding, Viivi Haimi, Kaisa Manninen, Pekka Mäkinen & Minna Nevalainen
Continue reading “Journey Towards New Business Models in Mining”

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

Applying for Sustainability Master Class is Open

The University of Helsinki and Outotec will launch in December 2016 a challenge-based Sustainability Master Class program for students, young researchers and professionals who are interested in new approaches to innovation as well as learning by doing and co-creation as tools for building a vision and concrete solutions for a sustainable future.

In the coming decades, increasing urbanization and the growth of the middle-class will put a strain on natural resources and environment. There will be a growing demand for metals and minerals, and this makes it crucial to optimize resource usage and build a circular economy as well as decouple wealth and ecological footprint. The achieve this, collaboration between different stakeholders is essential.


The multidisciplinary Sustainability Master Class will discuss and tackle issues such as social impacts and social license to operate in the mining industry, the integration of sustainability into business decisions, disruptive business models as well as technology transfer and leapfrogging. During the four month long program multidisciplinary teams will explore, analyze and challenge the topics and create new solutions to specific problems (re)defined as part of the process. The University’s entrepreneurial community Helsinki Think Company and Demos Helsinki will take part in facilitating the process, and a group of mentors and hand-picked experts will support the teams in their work from start to finish.

40 participants will be chosen for the program through open call. The participants get to know the subject with the help of experts and build new procedures in the field of sustainability. The program contains joint meetings, workshops, science camp and 2-day bootcamp. The program is challenge based and solutions are built upon co-creation and experimentations. Master Class is held in English and it is worth three ECTS credits.

Search for participants is open now, and it closes on Friday, the 4th of December. I have attached a PDF document, where you can find the official call for applications and more information about the program. More information about the program can be found from our website.

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