Breaded responsibility

Severi Niiranen as a guest

What do Finnish Wiener schnitzel and the strategies of many companies have in common? There is something mandatory in both. In Finnish Wiener schnitzel it is anchovies and for companies it is responsibility. Anchovies are never eaten, but is responsibility swallowed as such? Guest blogger, our product manager Severi, tells how we eat the whole plate empty from the nourishing food circle of responsibility.

- Tapio


The consumer has the responsibility to consume responsibly

Sustainability, responsibility, environmental friendliness, carbon neutrality, refunds, compensations, certificates, standards, footprints, handprints... How can you as a customer make the right choices when these buzzwords are used without knowing the meaning of the words? If you bother to ask the company's responsibility officer for more detailed information about what their responsibility means in practice, the answer will be the name of a certificate and the matter should be clear. Responsibility is shared between companies, customers, politicians and certificates.

Consumers certainly have a responsibility to consume responsibly, but companies have the same responsibility as well.
On the other hand, it is also good to remember that companies do not make a single decision. Decisions are made by people within the company. This leads to the fact that every consumer – you and me – must make the right choices in the position where we happen to be at any given time.

Let's develop sustainably

In 2015, the UN presented the Agenda 2030 action program for sustainable development, which contains 17 main goals and their sub-goals, which everyone should achieve together by 2030. It seems that responsibility and sustainable development are often confused. We may have a small thought jam that the developing world automatically causes frost to the environment, e.g. in the form of emissions and the expansion of human habitat. In other words, development would not be responsible in a certain way. However, sustainable development means that the development of the world is not limited, but to avoid the exploitation of other people and nature. It seems funny that this even needs to be discussed. Wouldn't it make sense to do what you do as well as possible and without clearing the forests and using questionable labor?

Somehow I drifted into thinking that isn't the point of that agenda that we can live and develop business as normal, but at the same time thinking about what makes sense? If there are options in the horizontal cup that people will still be hyggeing here in 50 years or that no one will be hyggeing or doing anything else here in 50 years, then it would seem like the right option to choose the first one. We should just know how to see those reasonable options.


How can you identify a company investing in sustainable development?

I recently made a thesis for the university of applied sciences and in it I divided companies into three categories from the perspective of responsibility:

1. Companies that operate genuinely in accordance with sustainable development.
2. Companies that continue to operate in the old model without striving for more sustainable operations.
3. Companies that continue to operate in the old model, but try to find things in their operations that can be communicated from a responsible perspective

Companies in the first category have the risk that the ideology of sustainable development takes too much precedence over the profitability of the business, so that the company eventually withers away. Even the most responsible company in the world cannot make a huge difference if its operations do not continue. In the second category, the company's operations are unlikely to change unless the managers or owners change, the law forces them to act differently, or that operating profit and responsibility go hand in hand. In other words, consumers would really vote with their wallets.

It is sometimes really difficult for us to distinguish the companies in the third category from the companies in the first category without a deeper understanding of the industry and its normal operating methods. Minimizing waste is one of my favorite acts of responsibility. Tell me a company in the manufacturing industry that has not tried to minimize waste in the past? Of course, it is responsible not to waste raw material, but I claim that every sensible company minimizes waste for cost reasons as well. Even that waste has been paid for, if it has reached the factory.

In this show, how do you start doing acts of responsibility and telling about them?

As a furniture company, it started to seem like a reasonable option that practical actions would be essentially related to our products. The contradictory thing is that, from a basic point of view, every new product is a damn invention. If you want to consume responsibly, you should only buy used. However, is it business activity in accordance with sustainable development to throw the gloves on the counter and state that nothing is being produced anymore? Or would it be possible to have a greater positive impact if you tried to be an example to others? Let's preferably find out what can be done to make even the new products more environmentally friendly.

"Someone, damn it, will make that new product anyway. If it is not us, then who will and will they do it with sustainable development in mind?"

If you start to suspect that this is yet another millennial boy who is ranting about responsibility for the joy of ranting, take a closer look at what we do and how we think.
We can be challenged in these matters, because in the worst case we might just learn something new.

Read more about our responsibility


Another company that does one act of responsibility and praises itself because of it?

After all, we do all kinds of things that can be written about from a responsibility perspective. In addition to ourselves, we have a positive impact on employment through the manufacturer and retailer network. We know all our manufacturers and know in which factories our products are made. We use a lot of wood in our products, which is a significantly more environmentally friendly raw material compared to metal. We invest in the fact that the products have some meaning and that they are not just things that are bought for the joy of buying. I'm just not sure if these messages should be under the responsibility heading? On the other hand, the customer may think that the company is not doing anything responsible if these issues are not specifically told to him as acts of responsibility. Because of this, some companies may be drifting into communicating their responsibility irresponsibly. Funny situation.

Instead of being responsible, could we talk about things by their real names? And above all - do we even understand what we are talking about then?

- Severi