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News 13.12.2022

Making Finland a superpower in sustainable development – a new sustainability guide helps commerce SMEs in their sustainability work

Pictured from the left Mika Niemi, Zeynep Falay von Flittner, Lucia Llerena, Aija Kalander and Venni Metsäranta.

According to Business Finland’s company survey, 96% of Business Finland’s SME customers see business benefits from integrating sustainability into their business. However, as many as 81% of the respondent companies did not know how to implement sustainability. Business Finland’s Experience Commerce program has addressed this challenge by publishing an industry-specific sustainability playbook for digital commerce SMEs. The aim is to help companies improve their knowledge of the different levels of sustainability and integrate them into the development of their strategy and competitiveness.

Sustainability is a prerequisite for competitiveness and growth

Business Finland aims to make Finland a superpower in sustainability. Finland has good opportunities to be a forerunner in smart business models based on life-cycle thinking and in new solutions that increase the carbon handprint.

The demand for responsible and sustainable solutions creates new and fast-growing market opportunities and enables sustainable economic growth in the long term. This is why sustainable development is now at the core of Business Finland’s strategy. We support business innovations that are in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Companies need to adapt their operations to the planet’s limited natural resources and nature’s sustainability. The regulatory framework for sustainability and consumers’ demands are constantly increasing. Companies that do not react to the change will eventually face a counter-reaction from banks, investors, employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

SMEs play an important role in addressing sustainability challenges

All companies regardless of their size and industry must create innovative solutions if we want to respond constructively to sustainability challenges.

SMEs have certain advantages over larger players that enable positive change. SMES can often adapt their business strategies to changing consumption trends more easily. Smaller companies usually know their customers well and can agilely experiment with different kinds of approaches with their customers.

SMEs can add a lot of insight and inspiration to innovation ecosystems, which are very promising in terms of creating a competitive advantage. Finland and the world need brave companies that show leadership in promoting what they know is right.

Sustainability Playbook for Digital Commerce SMEs

In principle, the change in consumer values should favor Finnish consumer businesses, but do the companies know how to integrate sustainability into their strategy and future development and communicate this to their customers? Where should the work begin? How should it be done in concrete terms? To address this need, Business Finland’s Experience Commerce Finland program has been working on a practical guide for a year. Sustainability Playbook for Digital Commerce SMEs has now been published on the program’s website.

The playbook is aimed at digital commerce SMEs. It is a curated collection of contents, tools and business examples from the perspective of the value chain, strategy, and marketing in consumer trade. In addition to the program team, the content has been produced and commented on by sustainability experts and researchers, digital commerce companies, and stakeholders.

The playbook’s content:

  • an introduction to sustainability from different perspectives
  • ideas and tools that help companies put sustainability into practice in their business
  • links to materials, tools, and service providers that support the development work of companies
  • case studies of companies
  • a separate workbook to help business teams make concrete development decisions

We have done our best to select the most important aspects of sustainability from the point of view of digital commerce companies. Knowledge is constantly increasing, and we naturally encourage companies to continuously deepen their know-how and cooperate with experts in their field.

A webinar recording of the launch event on 16 November 2022 and the Sustainability Playbook guide videos are available via this link

A link to the guide and playbook

Business Finland is a Finnish public organization that provides innovation funding and internationalization services. It also promotes Finland as a travel and investment destination. The Experience Commerce Finland program enhances the international growth of companies selling their products and services direct to consumers (D2C).