Wartsila rises to the 2050 sustainability challenge

Wärtsilä rises to the 2050 sustainability challenge

To secure the prosperity of people and the planet now and in the future, partnerships and joint efforts are key. Recently, as part of Finland’s Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, Wärtsilä joined the ResponSea initiative alongside other Finnish Marine Industry (FMI) members to drive sustainable development across the sector.

Text: Henry Loveless Photo: Wärtsilä

To pave the way for a low-carbon and sustainable future, efforts are being taken by governments, companies and citizens across the world to enhance sustainable development and ensure the planet’s survival.

With the United Nations calling for action with its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Finland invites actors from different sectors to join efforts to promote sustainable development through its Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development (Sitoumus 2050 in Finnish). Through an online service, organisations, companies and individuals are able to make their own operational commitments. These commitments are then accepted, published and monitored by the Commission for Sustainable Development.

The ResponSea initiative

In 2018, member companies of the Finnish Marine Industries (FMI) discussed how best to protect the world’s oceans and seas, while ensuring their own businesses and ventures will develop sustainably and profitably.

“One theme discussed was that the FMI wants its member organisations to develop more environmentally sound solutions by which we can help improve the ocean’s current state,” says Sari Luhanka, Global Media Relations Manager at Wärtsilä and the company’s representative in the ResponSea working group at FMI.

The result was the ResponSea initiative, with the intention to bring maritime companies together to create a sustainable marine industry. As a part of ResponSea, the FMI’s members are working on developing the sustainability of their products and are using their network to influence and bring real change in the industry.

“With the ResponSea Initiative, the Finnish Marine Industry and its member companies are joining hands and encouraged to give their own commitments for sustainable development within the entire marine network,” says Luhanka.

Goals for a sustainable future

Contributing to this and as part of its own goal of building a sustainable society, Wärtsilä decided to join the ResponSea initiative with its own operational commitment. Wärtsilä’s targets include the creation of a Smart Technology Hub (STH) in Vaasa, cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its gas engines by 15% between 2015 and 2020 and reducing energy consumption by at least 7% in terms of absolute consumption (GWh) by 2025, compared to energy consumption in 2015.

“With these targets, Wärtsilä contributes to the Finnish Marine Industries' sustainability themes of reducing the environmental impact of marine transportation, and enhancing the circular economy and lifecycle efficiency,” explains Luhanka.

“We decided to respond to the ResponSea challenge with a commitment that covers emission reduction in both our own and our customers' operations, as well as enabling more agile product development, seeking new, smarter and more sustainable practices,” says Alina Pathan, Manager in the Corporate Relations and Sustainability Team at Wärtsilä.

The upcoming Smart Technology Hub will be the latest step in the company's Smart Marine and Smart Energy Visions that will see collaboration and co-creation with different stakeholders to develop innovative and practical solutions for real-world problems. With the Smart Technology Hub, Wärtsilä's customers and suppliers can work in tandem with universities and start-ups in the sector, exchanging knowledge and helping foster disruptive thinking.

“Whether we are talking about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, the ResponSea initiative or Wärtsilä’s own activities, the key for sustainable development is working together and seeking for partnerships and new solutions,” says Pathan.

The ResponSea initiative has been recognised by the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office as an exemplary operational commitment, which enables different parties to commit themselves to the Finnish national sustainable development goals with concrete and creative commitments.

Wärtsilä will be reporting on the progress of the targets annually on the www.sitoumus2050.fi site, its own website and in its Annual Report.

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