ForTheDoers Blog

Societal work in the middle of a pandemic

Paula Varhe  ·  22 December 2020

Fortum has a long tradition of collaborating with local communities. The past year has been a new phase for our societal work as well as an exceptional time in the midst of a pandemic.

Playing in snow

Fortum has collaborated with local communities for a long time. Clean energy and sustainable solutions are at the core of our business. With profitable and stable operations, we also have the opportunity to participate in non-profit societal work and support NGOs, for example.

Support and business go hand in hand

During the past year, we have renewed our support principles. Based on them, we support topics that we know best and that have a clear connection to our business. Our mission is to drive the change for a cleaner world, and we want to support our partners in their work toward this goal. All our work is based on our values – curiosity, responsibility, integrity and respect. Curiosity in collaborating with organisations can mean coming up with solutions together, for example. Responsibility stands for acting in a responsible way and working for the good of the society. Integrity means transparency and respect refers to appreciating diversity, for example.

In practice, our support is realised through our Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, which covers collaboration initiatives and projects in all our operating countries. The programme focuses on climate (environment and water), material revolution (recycling and waste) and issues related to the wellbeing of people (youth, children and education). These focus areas are also heavily linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In Finland, we support The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, the Finnish Association of Mental Health, The Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People as well as the John Nurminen Foundation. In Norway, we collaborate with organisations such as Regnskogfondet and Sykehusklovnene, and with Maskrosbarn and Städa Sverige in Sweden. In addition to financial support and working together, we find it important to increase the organisations’ visibility in different channels and drive their own goals. As many people as possible should be made aware of the services and opportunities these organisations offer.

The pandemic challenged our point of view

The society is constantly changing, and we must be able to both work in the long term as well as react quickly to the changes happening around us. We had just renewed our programme in the spring when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During the pandemic, our support has been mainly focused on people, as the pandemic has increased the need for help and support services. At the beginning of the pandemic, we considered who would be in the most vulnerable position in addition to children and the young, and we concluded that supporting the elderly was also important to us in the current situation. This year, also the “Christmas contribution” Fortum usually gives out to support organisations has been directed to support our partners’ operations through our responsibility programme.

As the work continues, our impact grows

The year 2020 has been both a new phase in our societal work as well as an exceptional time in the middle of a pandemic. Our work continues both in Finland and in our other operating countries. We have updated our guidelines for support so that the applicants are aware of our focus areas. The work is managed and coordinated systematically. Together with the organisations we follow up on the progress and impact of the work.

Giving support includes both long-term work as well as constantly searching for new means to offer support and help. For example, we are looking into ways in which interested Fortum employees could participate in our partners’ operations on a voluntary basis. We want to implement our work internationally, so that successful concepts can be replicated in other countries, as well. This way, our impact accumulates and grows.

Read more about our Corporate Social Responsibility Programme.

Paula Varhe

Paula Varhe

Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility
paula [dot] varhe [at] fortum [dot] com

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