Helsinki, 25 May 2021: FIBS, the Finnish Global Network partner of WBCSD, celebrated its 20th anniversary on 18 May 2021. With more than 360 members, FIBS is the largest corporate responsibility network in northern Europe. From the beginning, FIBS has been fostering strong collaboration between businesses, public sector and civil society when solving complex societal and environmental challenges.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebration was fully virtual, gathering almost 300 members and stakeholders in a seminar broadcast from world-renowned Finlandia-house in Helsinki.
WBCSD President and CEO Peter Bakker gave the closing keynote to the event on how business in Finland, in the Nordics and beyond can lead the transformations the world need. He presented Vision 2050: Time to Transform, a framework providing the business community with comprehensive guidance on how it can lead the transformations needed if we are to realize a shared vision of a world in which more than nine billion people can live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.
Opening words were delivered by the chair of the board of FIBS Anne Larilahti, after which the President and CEO of OP Financial Group Timo Ritakallio explained the fast changes in the role of sustainability for the financial sector. The exponential growth in ESG-driven investments has been accompanied by increasing regulation,crucial changes that were not to be expected 10 years ago.
Finland's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen was also present and highlighted the importance and business implications of climate change and nature loss. She did also thank the pioneering cooperation of FIBS and the ministry raising the issues around biodiversity on the business agenda already in 2014.
The former FIBS chairs Sirpa Juutinen (PwC) and Minna Aila (Neste) and the current chairman of the board Anne Larilahti (Finnair) summarized in their speeches the colorful history of FIBS and the key developments in the field of sustainability and corporate responsibility in Finnish companies during the last two decades. They also envisioned the future of corporate responsibility in a panel discussion.
CEO of Skanska Tuomas Särkilahti explained in detail the important role the construction industry plays in decreasing carbon emissions and promoting diversity and inclusion in its employment practices. It was clear that transparency, societal goal-driven metrics and collaboration across all sectors are key factors in sustainable business activities.
FIBS (Finnish Business & Society) history in a nutshell
- 2000 – Network established by 13 pioneers of responsible business in Finland. The ultimate goal of the network was to promote corporate responsibility and sustainable development through active dialogue among companies, public sector and civil society.
- 2002 – Registered association formed by 38 companies. The main activities were seminars, breakfast events and publication of a magazine. Focus on diversity management and renewing employment practices.
- 2006 – First Executive Director recruited
- 2008 – 100+ members, 7 events / year
- 2014 – 255 members, 36 events / year, 1,800 participants. Multiple content areas covered, including natural capital, D&I, human rights, climate change and CR reporting. Large scale annual survey Sustainability in Finland started. FIBS becomes WBCSD's Global Partner Network.
- 2020 – FIBS is the largest CR network in the Nordic countries and the leading organizer of sustainability events in Finland: 356 members, 70 events / year, 4,300 participants. Events and other member services co-produced with 14 FIBS Partner companies. Two membership categories: FIBS Basic (300 members) and FIBS Pro (56 members). Business integration of CR and transformation high on the agenda, as well as strategic collaboration with WBCSD.
- More information about FIBS here