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Blog 17.01.2023

Business Finland’s role in advancing sustainability – Finnish solutions to global sustainability challenges

Business Finland's purpose is to advance the success of Finnish exports in new markets. According to Business Finland's strategy, the need for sustainable solutions creates new opportunities for Finnish companies. Global Initiatives Trainee Oona Kaunisto discusses how her teams support companies’ work in responding to global challenges. This blog is a part of a series of trainee blogs published during the fall.
Oona Kaunisto

Global Initiatives Trainee

In my master’s thesis I studied companies that strive to respond to the multifaceted challenges of sustainable development (so called wicked problems). I believe that those companies which will be successful in the future are the same that are at the forefront of making solutions needed in the coming decades. The underlying goal of Business Finland is to promote smart solutions and a prosperous society, and therefore I find it meaningful to work here.

I divide my work time between two smaller teams, both of which are similar by the fact that they strive to solve societal challenges in the target market with Finnish solutions. Finnish know-how can be used to fill a gap or need. Business Finland has an extensive network of local experts in different countries to help companies go to these markets. When needed, we also cooperate with Finnish ministries and local embassies. From trainee's point of view, this opens an interesting view to Finland’s presence in the international arena.

Addressing societal needs with Finnish solutions

International Business Innovations team is located between multiple countries to serve its purpose to induce large international projects. These projects respond to socioeconomic, developmental, and geopolitical needs in the target markets by utilizing the expertise of Finnish companies. One good example of such project would be reducing the digital divide by improving secure data networks. Another is enabling the green transition by promoting more sustainable extractive industries.

At the same time, the goal is to support the realization of the UN's sustainable development goals. But since all business activities have an impact on ESG matters, both risks and opportunities of the projects are considered in advance. Together with the team, I have been able to further develop an ESG tool for analysing the responsibility and impact of these projects.

Support for internationalization and entering developing markets

Developing Market Platform team, on the other hand, supports companies during the initial stages when they are entering new developing markets. In these markets, Finnish companies can respond to various solution needs, such as energy, circular economy, or healthcare,which often also requires new business models.

In a joint financial work with Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Business Finland, an ESG evaluation tool is used during the funding process to prepare in advance for environmental and social responsibility matters. Business Finland also supports companies locally with market knowledge, governance, local laws, and taxation. Within DevPlat team, we are currently considering whether Business Finland could help companies in assessing their responsibility and impact.

Professional development in flexible work culture

I think it's great that there is cooperation between Business Finland's teams. That's why I've also been able to help our delegation team host business delegation guests arriving in Finland. Recently, I have also been involved in the responsibility work in different service areas.

Business Finland is full of experts who are passionate about their work, so learning from them is the best part of the job. Furthermore, Business Finland has a work culture of self-management and flexibility. It essentially means that everyone's expertise is trusted, and colleagues are available to share theirs, if questions arise.

Getting to work with experts from different teams has very much enriched my internship, which in turn has supported my own professional development in sustainability management.

 Work for Business Finland