Helsinki, 17 May 2023 - According to the latest Sustainability in Finland Survey conducted by FIBS, WBCSD’s Global Network Partner in Finland, sustainability is driving innovation and investment among companies in Finland, but unsustainable business practices still persist: 63 % of companies have made investments in sustainable development in the last three years and almost as many (59%) have made innovations. Yet only 16% have abandoned unsustainable business practices, and even fewer (13%) have removed unsustainable alternatives from their product or service portfolio.
The vast majority (64%) of companies surveyed continue to focus their sustainability efforts on reducing risks and ensuring that their business activities do not have a negative impact on the environment and society.
However, at the same time, up to 35% say they have already moved from minimizing the negative impacts of business to a more regenerative business approach, in which, in addition to managing impacts, the company’s actions create the capacity for social and environmental systems to recover and thrive.
“Regenerative business is only just emerging in management debates. This is why I believe that this positively surprising result sends a particular message about the willingness and ambition of companies to contribute to the well-being and resilience of society through their own actions. This is a good place to continue the debate on the principles, conditions and means of regenerative business,” says Helena Kekki, Director of FIBS.
The war in Ukraine and the pandemic reinforced companies’ commitment to sustainability
Contrary to expectations, the global political situation in 2022 – the war in Ukraine, the Corona pandemic and the energy crisis – has not weakened Finnish companies’ commitment to sustainability: 72% of companies surveyed said the crises had strengthened their commitment to sustainable and responsible business.
Indeed, Finnish companies are currently well placed to make an impact: corporate responsibility is strongly reflected in corporate strategy and the agenda of senior management, and its importance and benefits are recognized. But while a large number of companies are committed to international frameworks for sustainability, there is still much to be done in terms of the practices that support them.
The role of political influence in promoting sustainability is not yet recognized by companies
A surprisingly high number of people do not know their company’s position or approach to lobbying for sustainable development: as many as 57% do not know their company’s position on advocacy organizations promoting unsustainable policies and just over a third (36%) do not know what kind of political lobbying their company does.
“Regulation creates a stable, predictable and fair environment, which is essential for business investment, competition and success. At present, it appears that political influence promoting sustainable change, its possibilities and effects have been left behind in sustainability efforts. Companies should therefore be more supportive of policies and regulations that promote sustainable change, because they have more leverage in this area than has been realized so far,” Helena Kekki concludes.
The main challenges for companies in the future are a lack of skills and resources: only 6% of companies consider their skills to be sufficient in relation to their corporate responsibility objectives, and only one in ten consider their resources and measures to be sufficient in relation to their corporate responsibility objectives.
The Sustainability in Finland 2023 survey provides a comprehensive overview of the corporate responsibility practices, challenges and future prospects of large and medium-sized Finnish companies. 184 CEOs and corporate responsibility directors and managers from Finland’s 1,000 largest companies, as well as from the most important cooperatives and other operators, participated in the survey.
For more information, please reach out to Helena Kekki, Director, FIBS at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally posted on the FIBS website under the link: https://fibsry.fi/ajankohtaista/sustainability-in-finland-2023-survey-few-companies-have-abandoned-unsustainable-business-practices-yet-regenerative-business-is-already-bringing-results/