– We are so glad that we got to gather these inspiring leaders from different fields for a cross-border discussion, where they shared their personal views and insights on sustainable work. Innovative thinking happens when we cross borders and cooperate, said Triinu Varblane, Finnish project manager for Future Cleantech Solutions.
The speakers at the event agreed on the fact that there is still work to be done when it comes to equality and everyone has to participate.
– We are still living in a pandemic, but in terms of equality, the work remains the same. At the future workplaces, it is as important as ever to promote gender equality, said Tomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality of Finland.
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships at the European Commission stated that we are not utilizing the full potential of our society, unless we include girls and women in our leading positions. Promoting equality results in a better working environment.
Pandemic gives push towards a more sustainable working culture
According to Katarina Borstedt, Director of Growth at Northvolt, the awareness of sustainability issues has grown during the ongoing pandemic.
– It has become more important for people that the company they work for is contributing to a more sustainable world, she said.
Both Martin Ärlestig, EVP Production & CIO at Komatsu Forest and Hannu Mäntymaa, CEO at Wärtsilä Finland agreed that we need to work together and support each other to change the world.
– No one can do it alone. It requires new ways of thinking and collaboration, Mäntymaa pointed out.
Roleff Kråkström, CEO at Moomin Characters anticipated the future and estimated that the Nordics will have a poignant role in re-building the society post-crisis.
– Our societies are based on equality, inclusiveness and trust. The Nordic art and literature carry on these values, he described.
Resilience and emotional intelligence help cope
Building psychological safety and becoming more resilient helps us cope during crises, according to Annele Heikkilä, Competence Development Manager at Boliden Kokkola.
– Leaders act as role models; we show respect and utilize emotional intelligence at workplaces to create a psychologically safe environment. The fact that some people work remotely and others do not sets new demands on leadership, as we have to support everyone equally, she said.
Borstedt and Kråkström emphasized that younger generations bring new perspectives and digital savviness that companies should embrace.
Gender Equality Company of the year awarded for the first time
As grande finale of the event, the Vaasa-based IT company Oy Gambit Labs Ab was awarded as Gender Equality Company of 2021 in Ostrobothnia. Honorary awards were given to Citec Oy Ab, Devatus Oy, Fresh Servant Oy Ab, Andelslaget Närpes Grönsaker and VILPE Oy.
The competition jury consisted of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia/The Ostrobothnian Workgroup for Gender Equality, Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK, Jakobstad Region Development Company Concordia, Dynamo Närpes, Kristinestad näringslivscentral, Kust-Österbottens Företagare, Technology Center Merinova, Viexpo and Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce.
Future Cleantech Solutions is a project that promotes cleantech companies' opportunities for concrete business- and cooperation in a manner that strengthens their prospects of doing business on regional, national and international markets. The project is financed by the EU program Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, Region Västerbotten, Region Västernorrland, Technology Centre Merinova, Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK, City of Vaasa, Kokkola Region Development Company KOSEK, City of Kokkola, Municipality of Umeå, Municipality of Örnsköldsvik, Municipality of Skellefteå, Umeå Energi and Skellefteå Kraft.
Photo: Felix Rantschukoff