Susanna Huittinen: “Sustainability is also a desire to make a difference” – K Trainee’s thoughts on corporate responsibility
In our personal lives, acting responsibly means small things, like wearing a bicycle helmet, checking your fire detector works, and buying local vegetables when they are in season. From a corporate perspective, however, I think responsibility is much more than warning labels and safety vests. For companies, responsibility and sustainability are above all else a strong value-driven choice to be an active member of society. This also means choosing to take part in creating welfare in all areas where the company’s operations have an impact.
In a company like K Group, sustainability means placing the customer at the centre of operations, and offering the customer a wide selection of safe, high-quality products and services that are sustainably produced.
Because no company can operate separate from the rest of the society, for K Group acting sustainable also means actively engaging in public discussion and bringing to light areas for improvement. In K Group’s building and technical trade, for example, this means actively promoting improvements to construction productivity, focusing on product safety to ensure safe future living conditions, and working together with the WWF in the Fishpaths project. Those who can make a difference, should want to make a difference.
Those who bravely set an example not only encourage others but also have the best chances of establishing new sustainable ways of doing business. In a company that places sustainable business practices at the core of its strategy, new business models are seen as an opportunity to improve customer experience and build trust between the company and the customer. If a company’s strategy is not tied to sustainable business practices, responsible operations of the company will only touch the surface and sustainable business practices will be viewed as costs rather than as something that creates value for the company and especially for the customer. In best cases, sustainable business practices tied to corporate strategy lead to innovative business models and happy customers who keep coming back.
A company is made up of its employees, and each employee is an ambassador for the company. What we each do every day, matters. When you work for a company that has made a value-driven commitment to sustainability in its strategy, it is easy to take action, come up with ideas and implement them. In the end, everyday responsibility means turning off the office lights, greeting other people, auditing factories, ensuring product safety, choosing the vegetarian option at lunch, cycling to work and many other such small contributions.
K Trainee, Building and technical trade, K Group