Sustainable Growth and Business – Sustainability is the new black

Sustainability is the new black

What is sustainable growth and how can it be systematically promoted? What are the benefits of a sustainable development growth strategy? How does the path of sustainable growth take you to international arenas? How to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by using e.g. impact investment, assessment of socio-economic value in practice? These questions were discussed on a morning coffee session at KPMG House in November.


Status in Sweden in smart and sustainable city solutions

The morning started with an overview from Sweden and Stockholm by KPMG Partner Stefan Lundström. We learned how Sweden is implementing smart and sustainable strategies and actions in cities, using networks on national level to spread the word. Cities in Sweden, as everywhere, have the strength and power to proceed with digital, sustainable and climate friendly actions engaging citizens as well. As the national authority, Regeringskansliet” aligns “Smart cities use information and communication technologies to improve the quality, performance and interactivity of municipal services, reduce costs and resource consumption and improve contact between citizens and authorities.” Many of the examples from Sweden are also in a pilot or implementing phase in Finland too, like the mobility solutions with electrical vehicles and automatic buses in public transportation.

In 2016, The Swedish Government introduced five innovations partnership program. One of them is called Smart Cities, which is a working group consisting of representatives from the business sector, the public sector and universities aims at identifying challenges and opportunities related to Smart Cities. Also the Swedish Government provides funding to municipalities and innovation agencies for encouraging the development of Smart Cities.

Metropolitan area works actively with Smart&SUS

Morning continued with examples from the Finnish public and private sector. Helsinki Business Hub CEO Marja-Liisa Niinikoski presented sustainability being the new black in HBH’soperations, as being high on the investors list. Sustainable globalization, urbanization, digitalization, consumerism and usage of the environment are themes breaking through in different conversations with the forerunner customers and investors. Did you know that foreign owned companies in Finland are approximately 1% of all enterprises, and employ 16% of all the workforce paying taxes for 27% and invest in private sector R&D for 34%?

Sustainable topics are also in concern in Lassila&Tikanoja. Development Director Jaakko Pajunen told us about L&T’s use of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which are implemented in the company’s strategy, as well as used in implementing responsibility issues, brand and reputation. Responsible consumerism and climate change are taken into account when developing circular economy solutions and responsible use of materials. All work aims for sustainable industry and cities.

The last presentation of the morning coffee session was held by Advisor, PhD Riikka Sievänen from KPMG. The presentation put together international sustainability goals and shed light on how different actors such as cities, communes and companies can contribute to sustainable development. Common goals can be found from the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tools for contributing to the SDGs include Green Bonds and Social Impact Bonds. On the reporting side, Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and the use of True Value methodology are useful to when explaining the contribution to the SDGs. Riikka also challenged the audience by asking what will be the next actions of the audience towards the SDGs. 

The morning coffee session was closed by the audience who shared their thoughts on their next actions on SDGs. This initiated further discussions and innovative ideas on sustainability, resulting to the thought of continuing morning coffee sessions on the topics of smart cities &sustainability. 

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