Working at a green network
Piia Nurmi has been building a network of environmental know-how in Southwest Finland since spring 2010. The eGreenNet project has attracted a large number of players from the business world and the public sector, so the operating models to be created have a good chance to become part of the permanent development activities for the business operations in the province.
During the past decade, corporate responsibility has taken an important role as part of all business operations and developing thereof. Alongside financial and social responsibility, environmental responsibility is the third aspect of corporate responsibility. The environmental perspective should be part of all business operations, but products and services that promote environmental responsibility can also be taken as the foundation of all operations.
Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Turku University of Applied Sciences, the eGreenNet network of environmental know-how is headed up by Project Manager Piia Nurmi from Turku University of Applied Sciences. The large network of partners from Southwest Finland committed to the project looks for ways to promote business operations based on environmental know-how, develops networked co-operation between business players and provides advice and tools to local companies.
“Our basic idea is that environmental business is run in all fields, not just in companies that specialise in, for example, wind turbines or measurement equipment”, Piia Nurmi stresses.
Business organisations closely involved
Ms Nurmi gives examples of companies that have found new perspectives and cost savings to their own operations by developing their environmental know-how and awareness.
“Rakennepalvelu Jurva Rinne Ky that manufactures wooden boxes switched from oil heating to burning the wooden waste they generate. By burning the waste and, when required, pellets, the company achieves annual savings of as much as 30,000 euro with a small investment. Sybimar Oy in Uusikaupunki utilises the concept of closed circulation which produces energy and nutrition locally with low emissions. They make, for example, bio-diesel from fish entrails, and in the future the discharge water from the fish farm will be used as growth nutrient in greenhouses.”
It is valuable for the project to have a direct link to the business world e.g. through Varsinais-Suomen Yrittäjät, Turku Chamber of Commerce and the Turku office of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK. The business world has strong representation in the steering group of the project, which will make it easier to continue the project that will finish at the end of next year and to maintain the operating models created.
“We are currently preparing a publication which introduces various measures and environmental practices implemented in companies. Together with the local entrepreneur organisation Varsinais-Suomen Yrittäjät we are also planning a regional tour for presenting these practices.”
The business development concept prepared by eGreenNet supports the consultants that encourage the environmental business. The goal of the concept is to ensure the implementation of new, cost-efficient models in new lines of business. Using a light and inexpensive development tool companies can first explore the opportunities for environmental business, after which starting broader consultation will be easier.
From Tampere to Turku
Piia Nurmi was born in Tampere, but her lineage leading to Uusikaupunki encouraged her to begin studies in Turku School of Economics. After graduation she first worked as an assistant at the department of Economic Geography. She is still responsible for the corporate responsibility course at the department.
Since 2004, Piia Nurmi has worked in various research and development projects.
“In 2007, I was involved in starting a study module of sustainable development co-ordinated by the Futures Research Centre. Its multi-disciplinary projects focusing on sustainable development have attracted students from all faculties.”
People talk a lot about environmental business in both Tampere and Turku. Ms Nurmi thinks that the two cities have many similar characteristics, also in the development of environmental business. She sees, however, differences in the administrative bodies of the cities.
“In Turku sustainable development and environmental issues have been taken into consideration e.g. by signing the Aalborg declaration and commitment. The City Council aims to promote that e.g. through budgeting in which sustainable development is taken into account in investments and the steering of the city’s own organisation. Budgeting for sustainable development is absolutely great and a thing of the future”, Ms Nurmi commends.
Environmental technology is part of the future
Piia was interested in corporate responsibility and especially social responsibility already as a young girl. She has participated e.g. in the work of Amnesty International. Human rights questions and equality were later joined by environmental issues. She started work in the Turku University of Applied Sciences in 2010.
“I enjoy working here and hope that the results of this project will remain in use. In terms of the continuity of the project I think it’s particularly valuable that the University of Applied Sciences is preparing to start a degree programme in environmental technology within a few years.
The leisure time of Piia Nurmi and her husband is largely determined by the hobbies of the children, aged 14 and 12. The son plays football, the daughter basketball. The mother has a role in service troops.
“I get exercise on cycling trips, and the children sometimes join us. We live on the riverbank, so outdoor activities and jogging in that landscape are a pleasure.”
- Born in Tampere in 1973
- M.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.) from Turku School of Economics in 1999
- Works currently as a project manager in the eGreenNet project
- Lives in Turku, married with children aged 14 and 12.
Partners of eGreenNet project:
• Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Southwest Finland
• Varsinais-Suomen Yrittäjät ry
• Ukipolis Oy and the regions of Vakka-Suomi, Loimaa, Salo and Turunmaa
• Turku University of Applied Sciences
• University of Turku and Turku School of Economics
• Åbo Akademi University
• Novia University of Applied Sciences
• Turku Chamber of Commerce
• Turku Science Park
• Federation of Finnish Technology Industries
• Turku Region Development Centre
• Regional Council of Southwest Finland
• Turku office of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK
• Enterprise Europe Network
• Carbon neutral municipalities (HINKU)
• Co-operation companies in the networking phase of the project: Lindström, L&T, Manpower Inclusive and Gaia Consulting
• Other co-operation companies in the project
• Various networks, such as Turku Green KnowHow
• Wide stakeholder network locally and nationally