Riikka Joukio, Kesko’s new EVP of Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs, solves climate issues at work

Riikka Joukio joined Kesko’s Group Management Board on 12 April as she began work as the Executive Vice President in charge of corporate responsibility and public affairs. Before joining Kesko, she worked at Metsä Group, most recently as Senior Vice President, Climate and Circular Economy.

After the first three weeks on the job, Riikka Joukio sees climate change and carbon neutrality as the most important responsibility and sustainability themes also for K Group.

“Climate change is the biggest long-term challenge for humankind. As a big operator, K Group has a duty to reduce emissions from its own operations and to promote the reduction of emissions across the value chain. We aim for carbon neutrality by 2025 and zero emissions by 2030. It is important that we also encourage our suppliers, the whole supply chain, and our customers to take measures to reduce emissions,” says Joukio.

In addition to climate change, other important themes include circular economy and biodiversity.

“These are issues K Group must find new solutions for and communicate those to customers. Our task is to enable sustainable lifestyles for our customers when it comes to food, mobility and housing,” says Joukio.

In the area of social responsibility, Joukio’s focus is especially on responsible purchasing chains and the growing importance of diversity.

“K Group has long committed to great work towards responsible purchasing chains – this work is never finished and we must keep at it. For me, people issues such as diversity and a culture of inclusion are also crucial and will become increasingly important going forward.”

Joukio sees a strong connection between corporate responsibility and her other focus area, public affairs: “I think K Group can offer solutions for many issues affecting the whole society, such as climate, mobility and the electrification of society. When it comes to public affairs, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open, and follow and participate in ongoing conversations.”

Kesko has been recognised in international responsibility and sustainability assessments, and has been ranked as the world’s most sustainable grocery trade company multiple times, and Joukio wants to continue on this path.

What does Riikka Joukio do to counterbalance the challenges she faces at work?

“This time of year, I like to get my hands dirty in the garden and forest. In the winter, I focus more on crafts. I enjoy culture in various forms and I’m very active physically. During the pandemic, I’ve gotten into virtual online exercise sessions, and hope I can continue those also in the future. I also enjoy writing columns, for example.”

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