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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Networking and sustainability buzz



Kirjoittanut: Kamil Wójcik - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.

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In this essay, I will follow up on the Sustainable Business team meeting with Maija Lumme.

Networking is another buzzword, but now I started to get a better idea of how to utilize it. In this essay, I will go over our meeting with Maija Lumme from Eetti ry. What we learned and how our community is benefiting from it.

In 2019 Proakatemia announced “paragon of new entrepreneurship”, but just now it’s being defined as the board (Jory) is just finishing the new strategy. To create the vision is one thing, but to take it into action is another. Even more difficult can be to measure effectiveness.

One of the three pillars of Proakatemia’s strategy is sustainability (two others are continuous learning and networking & community), it can be approached from various angles. It’s a huge topic, but corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been around since the 1990s’ and has now taken a wider approach, general corporate responsibility is something that in recent years has been gaining more and more attention. It means that the company voluntarily considers such economic, social and environmental aspects that guarantee the company’s sustainable development. Sustainable development means development that supports good living opportunities for present and future generations (Finland’s UN Federation).

Now board (Jory) has defined sustainability as a strategic point and we are going to integrate it into the core of our studies and team activities. Time for action.

We need to set clear goals for teampreneurs in the community, which are understanding what responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship is. That must start with sparking the curiosity about the topic, its opportunities, how systems thinking works and possibly even change the management style of the company.

Along with these, we need to be able to develop metrics that will allow us to measure whether we are developing in these areas as well as does our competitive advantage has gone up?

We decided to spar our ideas with Maija Lumme from Eetti ry who is a Sustainability Specialist with experience in the field of developing tools to evaluate corporate sustainability work, support companies in their sustainability work and reporting, human rights and environmental due diligence, deep knowledge of Fairtrade and other sustainability certifications.

Maija recently shared an article on her LinkedIn “5 rules of thumb for identifying greenwashing” (https://yle.fi/aihe/a/20-10002401) and commented that we need more transparency, less vague promises of responsibility, recognition of the negative impacts of our own actions in terms of climate, environment and human rights. Actions should be concrete, measurable and ambitious followed up by accurate reporting and transparent about mistakes.

These are important to keep in mind when we are thinking about Proakatemia’s corporate social responsibility and team companies.

We discussed with Maija, that a good starting point for team companies would be to create a map of risks/impact assessment. The project team could take 1h to just think about all possible risks related to human resources, production, and even the use of electronics. The reality is that the internet is full of tools that are good enough to start with. We are taking this idea forward with Sustainable Business Team.

At Proakatemia it’s crucial to go from words to actions. In reality, companies that don’t pay attention to sustainability won’t survive as they will lose their competitive advantage as well as it will be simply illegal or at best in the grey zone. It’s easier said than done, but if the knowledge isn’t there yet, it’s important to create motivation to learn more about sustainability. The very start is to even think about where our companies have an impact and what are the risks. It’s important to start from somewhere. UN’s development goals are a good base, even if they might feel overwhelming. There are 17 goals divided into 10 sections each. Which makes 170. That is huge and not many can really focus on all of them at once. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to take these aspects into consideration and integrate them into each Proakatemia team’s strategy with a plan on how teampreneurs will follow up on them and show the results.

Just recently, the board of Proakatemia decided on 3 action points regarding sustainability starting the next fall. These are the following:

Guidelines will be created for the janitor team, that way we will be able to guarantee the right standards and avoid products in our kitchen that are questionable. For example, non-certified cheapest coffee etc. Fairtrade and local is the way to go.

New workshops and learning cells were introduced at Proakatemia to spark more curiosity about the subject and lower the “entry-level” for those who are not familiar with the topic. For example, falls Alumni week will be fully about sustainability.

Integrate sustainability into “projectors” our quarterly event to talk more about not only how much money teams make, but also ethics and responsibility in these.

I cannot wait to see how these will be put into practice and how teams are going to develop these ideas forward.

 

Lumme M. Sustainability Specialist. 2022. Zoom meeting March 8, 2022. Sustainable Business Team. Tampere.

Suomen YK-liitto. ‘Kestävä kehitys’. Accessed 20 March 2022. https://www.ykliitto.fi/yk-teemat/kestava-kehitys.

United Nations. ‘The 17 Goals’. Read on 10.04.2022.  https://sdgs.un.org/goals

 

Dynamic and entrepreneurial developer of new ideas. Focus on coaching and sustainable development.

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