“In the Finnish Commerce Federation, responsibility is rooted in the strategy. We want to work for well-functioning commerce and a competitive Finland, and we see responsibility as an important part of our work and basic task. The increasing requirements and consumer expectations regarding responsibility also accelerate the work for sustainable development,” says Managing Director Mari Kiviniemi in describing the background of the federation’s responsibility work.
Half a year’s work on the federation’s responsibility project resulted in the creation of a target picture for responsibility in commerce, where the main goal is sustainably competitive commerce. In addition, primary indicators for verifying the level of responsibility and monitoring the achievement of the goals were chosen.
“We want to take a more comprehensive and systematic approach to gathering information about responsibility and responsibility work in the commerce sector. The generated data can be used, for example, to support better decision-making and development work,” says Pia Pere-Vanhanen, Director, Communications and Sustainability, who leads the project at the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The work on the tools took place in workshops organised last spring, in which a diverse group of experts from companies and the federation participated. In addition to the workshops, the project involved delving into existing research and statistical data. Gaia Consulting acted as a partner and the Responsibility Committee of the Finnish Commerce Federation with its business representatives served as a strong sparring group in the project work carried out in the spring.
Clarifying responsibility goals and steps of verification
The sustainably competitive commerce target picture is divided into three traditional key areas – economic, environmental and social responsibility. The sector’s goal is to be a builder of economic prosperity and a sustainable economy, a promoter of an environmentally responsible economy and an expert and developer of social responsibility. In the project, sub-targets and primary indicators for verification were set for each of the three main goals.
In the area of economic responsibility, commerce wants to be a creator of jobs, livelihood and prosperity and a securer of Finland’s competitive strength and vitality. In the area of environmental responsibility, the focus is on climate action, carbon neutrality and consideration of the planet’s resources, including the circular economy and biodiversity. In the area of social responsibility, commerce wants to connect work and workers, create a responsible working life and develop competence. In addition, commerce wants to act as a forward-looking, innovative operator that listens to the customer, encourages sustainable consumption and sees the opportunities of responsibility.
Using the primary responsibility indicators defined in the responsibility project, the commerce sector gathers relevant content and key figures related to responsibility. Quantitative and qualitative content, measures and data sources related to responsibility that can be monitored and verified are used in defining the indicators.
Development work continues, strengthening bridges of cooperation
The emphasis on responsibility and sustainable development has long been part of the Finnish Commerce Federation’s activities in working life issues, industrial policy, research and communications. For example, the federation invests in the development of a good working life by providing training and publishing topical guides, among other measures. A low-carbon roadmap has been prepared for the commerce sector through extensive cooperation, and companies’ diverse responsibility case studies are regularly published at Kauppa.fi. The next survey charting consumers’ attitudes towards responsibility will be published on 21 September in connection with the Kestävä kauppa (Sustainable commerce) responsibility event.
Clarifying the responsibility goals and determining the primary indicators for commerce is the first step in the federation’s responsibility project, and the work continues. The Finnish Commerce Federation will further refine the chosen indicators during the upcoming autumn period. The annual clock related to the publication of the indicators will be finalised, and the publications will commence in 2023. In the future, the accuracy of the target picture will be monitored regularly in connection with strategy work, and the indicators will be developed based on the latest information.
“It is important for us to support companies representing the diverse commerce sector in their responsibility work and develop the operating environment to enable commerce to be sustainably competitive and succeed in the sustainable development goals. We see great opportunities for cooperation in promoting responsibility and sustainable development. Strengthening cooperation with stakeholders will be an important part of our responsibility work in the future as well,” Pere-Vanhanen says.
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 50 511 3189, mari.kiviniemi(at)kauppa.fi
Pia Pere-Vanhanen, Director, Communications and Sustainability, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 40 867 1708, pia.pere-vanhanen(at)kauppa.fi
The Kestävä kauppa – vauhdittajina tutkimus ja vastuulliset teot (Sustainable commerce – driven by research and responsible actions) event organised by the Finnish Commerce Federation and Aalto University School of Business on 21 September 2022 will focus on responsibility work in the commerce sector. More information and registration at https://kauppa.fi/tapahtumat/x-kestava-kauppa-vauhdittajina-tutkimus-ja-vastuulliset-teot/
The Finnish Commerce Federation is the voice of commerce, the largest industry in society. We connect the entire industry from retail and wholesale trade to digital commerce. We negotiate trade employment agreements and industrial policy solutions. We work to ensure that commerce and services in Finland thrive and succeed in tough international competition. www.kauppa.fi