Kesko and five other Finnish companies have been included on the Global 100 list of the most sustainable companies in the world, announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
There are no shortcuts in the mitigation of climate change: it is absolutely necessary for us to set ambitious targets to rapidly cut our emissions. The change must take place simultaneously at all levels: action is required from individuals, companies and society. We will find solutions, as long as our search is based on facts and figures, but there is no room for populism in our search for true solutions to climate issues.
K Group has committed to the goals of international climate summits, and we have set ambitious emission targets for our operations and supply chain. We are the first Finnish company to set emission targets that are approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. We actively reduce our emissions by using renewable energy, improving energy efficiency at our stores and with the optimisation of logistics, among other things.
More than 75% of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU and in Finland originate from power production. The situation is very similar in all industrialised economies globally. When seeking solutions for mitigating climate change, we must find emission-free solutions especially in power production.
As a major company, K Group’s significance for energy consumption in Finland is actually surprisingly high. Since 2017, all of the electricity purchased and used by Kesko has been 100% renewable. This change resulted in 1% of all energy used in Finland becoming renewable in one go.
We are also investing significantly in building solar power plants. There are currently over 30 solar power plants on the rooftops of K-stores across Finland, and more are being built. We are the largest producer and user of solar power in Finland.
As the carbon footprint of Finns represents only a fraction of the global footprint, there is no way we can affect the direction of global development with our numbers. As a highly developed Nordic country we cannot brag about our carbon footprint being particularly low per capita either. Yet there is something we have done well: we are one of the very few countries which has actually been able to reduce its emissions. We are also committed to significantly reducing our emission load in the future.
This is largely because as a society we have already started to work on mitigating climate change. Many other countries will follow in our footsteps, and this is why the place where various products are made is important for the climate: from an environmental perspective, many products should be manufactured in Finland, where environmental standards are quite strict.
There are many reasons why we should retain our forerunner´s position, but personally I’m proud that there is a strong desire in Finland to mitigate climate change. Even though we are not a big nation, we can still serve as an example to others.
As consumers, we play a central role in mitigating climate change, since 68% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Finland originate from household consumption. Globally, the corresponding rate is 72%.
Consumers’ daily actions for mitigating climate change are based on individual choices, and no single factor causing environmental load is necessarily any worse than another. The key is to look at the total carbon footprint of an individual.
According to the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, 75% of the carbon footprint of an average Finn comes from housing, transport and travel, and food. In K Group's strategy, which is currently being updated, we have chosen to focus on three core businesses: the grocery trade, the building and technical trade and the car trade, where Finns spend approximately 70% of their income. These are also the areas where most of the carbon footprint of an average Finn is created. Our business means we have an important role as the provider of sustainable solutions.
We are aware of our responsibility, and as the most sustainable trading sector company in the world we want to help both consumers and our business customers make choices that are increasingly sustainable.
Naturally, we Finns cannot mitigate climate change alone, as global action is required. We are heading in the right direction in Finland, and the work continues, as we are already highly committed to significantly further reducing our emission load as a nation. Now is the time for action.