Our student ambassadors have carefully curated lists of professionals who have made a significant impact on sustainability in their industry.
From Finnish CEOs to entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka, the professionals hand-picked on this list come from a variety of professions and countries.
We continue adding people on the lists that deserve to be noticed for the good they have done for nature.
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Women CEOs in Finland Who Have Impacted their Company’s Sustainability Practices
This list contains the most sustainable women CEOs in Finland who have led and transformed the company to become more sustainable. They have:
- introduced sustainability into their company practises
- made a significant impact on the industry they are working in
In 2017, Anna Lehtola became CEO and associate at Lovia, a Finnish brand turning leftover materials into designer accessories.
Anna is building Lovia’s business model so that it can grow internationally without compromising Lovia’s ethics and mission, which is to create a modern circularity model, in which waste will become a thing of the past. Thus, the full product life cycle is both sustainable and profitable.
Anna has previously shown interest in sustainable branding and eco-fashion, as she founded the second-hand online shop SECCO and organised the Fashion Revolution Week in the United States.
Annikka Hurme has been Valio’s CEO since October 2014.
As CEO, she is interested in leading Valio towards sustainability. She is not only responsible for setting sustainability targets for the company, but also sharing information about her company’s sustainability targets on her personal social media.
Valio is reporting annually its targets regarding climate issues and aims to have carbon-neutral dairy by 2035.
“…We will continue the work to improve the wellbeing of the environment, animals and people. We believe there is a place for sustainably produced Finnish dairy products also in the future,” says Valio’s CEO Annikka Hurme.
Salla Valkonen is the CEO and co-founder of Halla Halla, Finland’s first sustainable swimwear brand.
The idea for the brand was first discovered when the founders were backpacking and surfing in Asia and experienced firsthand the problem of ocean pollution.
The duo also has a passion for ethically made clothing; they wanted to create something that emphasised their sustainable values, which led to the use of fishing nets and other plastic waste recovered from the oceans in the women’s swimwear. Simultaneously, Valkonen wants to raise awareness about ocean pollution and inspire people to recycle in order to fight climate change.
Elina has been the CEO of the Finnish children’s clothes brand Reima since August 2012.
Elina is personally keen on the textile industry’s sustainability: during her leadership, Reima has become more sustainable by implementing circular-economy models. As a CEO Elina focuses on innovation and encourages people to decrease their carbon footprint.
Reima is using recycled materials and has a partnership with a second-hand shop, to which parents can give used clothes and thus decrease their carbon footprint.
She has pushed Reima towards more sustainable decisions and they want to be the most sustainable brand in their industry. Therefore, they have set out an ambitious goal to be carbon neutral in their own operations by 2023.
Leena Laitinen has been the CEO of Alko since October 2014 and has transformed the company’s strategy towards more sustainable and responsible action.
The company is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035 and is planning new innovations with regards to product packaging.
Leena highlights corporate responsibility in many interviews – not only responsibility towards people’s alcohol consumption but also a responsibility towards nature. They aim to be more transparent in every operation and have launched new sustainability stamps on their product category. Alko’s target is that 40% of the product category will have a sustainability stamp by the end of 2020.
As Alko is a huge national alcohol provider they have an impact on manufacturers too. Their target is to decrease water and energy use on the manufacturing level. They want all their decisions to be better for nature.
Nina Kopola became the Director-General at Business Finland Oy in June 2019. Before that, she had made a career in another company being for a long time the only woman CEO in Finnish public companies.
Business Finland is a Finnish government organization, which provides funding for Finnish innovations.
Nina focuses on sustainable growth, as she believes that it needs continuous renewal and courage to search for new opportunities. The company aims to be carbon neutral by 2035 and is funding companies’ sustainable growth. Nina believes that you can be responsible and still have a successful business.
Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko has been the CEO of Marimekko since April 2016.
Marimekko designs long-lasting and functional furniture, textiles, clothes, and tableware.
They are increasing the amount of sustainable cotton in products, the share of other more sustainable raw materials in products and packaging, and contributing to a circular economy with related projects and services.
During Tiina’s years as CEO, Marimekko has started to use more sustainable materials and to focus more on sustainable innovation.
In April 2018, Elisa Markula became the President and CEO of Tikkurila, a Finnish manufacturer of paints and lacquers.
As CEO, Elisa has the overall responsibility for the company’s sustainability performance. During Elisa’s leadership, Tikkurila has made sustainability promises that include quality, sustainability, and safety as guiding principles in all their operations, specifically in raw material selection and in product development.
The goal is to continuously reduce the company’s environmental impact by investing in the development and promotion of waterborne and low-emission paints. On her personal Twitter account, Elisa shares Tikkurila’s sustainability promises and product innovations that mitigate climate change.
After first working as the Chief Operating Officer at Jungle Juice Bar, Elli was nominated as CEO in January 2020.
Jungle Juice Bar is Finland’s first juice and smoothie bar, and as a pioneer in the industry, the company has started to use straws, cups, and lids made of biodegradable PLA plastic.
PLA plastic also has the smallest carbon footprint compared to all other types of plastic used in the food industry.
During Elli’s leadership, Jungle Juice Bar has focused on continuous waste reduction as one of its most important sustainability actions.
All of the locations in Finland now use ResQ Club, which has led to a reduction in food waste.
Suvi Haimi is the CEO and co-founder of Sulapac. Sulapac produces Sulapac® products that are made from wood-based materials that biodegrade fully without leaving microplastics behind.
This innovative material is a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic in cosmetics, jewellery and food packaging. The idea for Sulapac came from the mission of saving the planet from plastic waste.
Sustainability is a core value for Sulapac, which means that Sulapac does not compromise on sustainability, and this principle is applied throughout the entire value chain.
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