05 May 2014

We should talk about sustainability

We have decided to open a new channel for dialogue and exchanging views on sustainability at our web site – and we are very pleased that a broad range of prominent people from the business world, politics, various organizations, and society generally have agreed to take part and tell us their views on corporate sustainability.

The subject is an important one, and one that needs to be discussed, especially given all the different perspectives that can be found on the subject. We all have our own ideas of what we mean when we refer to the ‘sustainability’ of a company’s operations. What should we expect of companies? What can we expect of them? How can companies ensure that they maintain their long-term financial performance and strengthen their competitiveness?

Companies exist to make a profit. Business today is mostly based, at least to some extent, internationally. Operations are becoming more diverse and more complicated, and the expectations and demands that people place on them vary. Value chains are getting longer and longer, and companies need to be able to manage the impact that their activities have throughout the entirety of their value chain. The era of peaceful, closed home markets is over.

To secure their financial performance, companies need a strong foundation and a mass of seamlessly integrated tiny details that are fine-tuned by their teams and people carrying out a myriad of different roles within their organizations.

Their customers and the public at large are the ones who evaluate what they do and how sustainable they are, ultimately. I believe that we all want to work for companies that act in the right way, set good goals, and produce products and services that customers want to buy and offer true added value. This is what creates the type of success and prosperity that radiates out beyond a company’s immediate activities. It feels good to work for, and with, companies like this, and can even make you feel proud too.

Successful companies, the winners that stand out from the rest, are often those with the best team spirit and a strong sense of direction, that people feel a part of, not just inside a company but outside it as well. Many companies understand that it is becoming more and more important in today’s complex world to understand the views of those around them. Doing so is essential to findings new ways of going forward against a background of constant change. It is also important that those outside a company know what those on the inside are thinking.

Doing the right things and knowing what is important are fundamental for companies. This is not always easy, but discussing things across a broad range of subjects with people and organizations representing different standpoints from your own definitely helps.

Welcome to our blog page! Our writers are set to offer you a broad spectrum of ideas around the theme of corporate sustainability. We hope that you will find the debate interesting. The floor is open to everyone – you can take part by commenting on the blogs you find here, for example.

PS: Our recently published Sustainability Report gives you an overview of what we understand by corporate sustainability and the work we did in the area last year.

Simo Honkanen, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Public Affairs, Neste
Simo Honkanen
(born 1958)

Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Public Affairs and Communications
M.Sc. (Econ.)
Member of the Executive Committee since 2009.