In the midst of climate change and environmental challenges, it is ever more important to ensure responsible consumption, raise awareness of climate change, and increase efficient use of renewables. During the past weeks, we have discussed how Vaisala’s solutions are entwined with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, in addition to our sustainable solutions, we are committed to sustainable consumption and production as well as to raising awareness of climate matters also in our own business practices.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7) are at the core of our environmental responsibility at work. Our ISO 14001 certified environmental management system helps us to identify the most significant environmental impacts in each office location and set environmental targets locally and for the entire company. We regularly assess our environmental impacts as part of our environmental management system and aim to continuously reduce the environmental impact of our product portfolio, business operations, and supply chain.
We design products with long life cycles, safe use, and easy end-of-life processing, enhancing responsible production and consumption. The environmental footprint generated by our products over their life cycle can be affected during the product design phase: our product development process includes environmentally friendly requirements – such as repairability, maintainability, and recyclability – as well as strict requirements concerning the materials and suppliers. This way we can ensure that our products are safe both for people and the environment. Updateability and modular design, combined with field services, further extend the product life cycles.
To raise awareness on climate change mitigation and impacts, we listen to our personnel in environmental matters and encourage them to make environmentally friendly choices. We have organized internal climate change panel discussions and opened a channel for suggestions related to climate actions. We also encourage sustainable lunches and commute, aiming to decrease indirect emissions. Overall, many of our office locations have voluntary green teams that promote measures necessary for achieving the environmental targets, and our head office in Vantaa celebrates its 10th year as a WWF certified Green Office in 2020.
One of our most impactful actions, however, is our commitment to renewable electricity. We firmly believe in a future in which societies are powered by renewable energy, and we strive continuously to improve the energy efficiency in our facilities. As a member of the RE100 initiative, we will use 100% renewable electricity in our facilities by the end of 2020.
Vaisala’s solutions help renewable energy operators produce sustainable energy efficiently which helps to increase the amount of renewable energy globally. We are strongly involved in the renewable energy industry through our customers, but we also see a clear benefit in advancing the use of renewable energy sources. We believe that the private sector needs to be the driver of change and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Therefore, renewable energy lies at the heart of our sustainable practices. Vaisala is a member of RE100, a global initiative encouraging the world’s most influential companies to make a 100% renewable electricity commitment within a clear timeframe.
Following the initiative, we have taken many actions to ensure 100% renewable electricity in our facilities by the end of 2020. At the moment, in May 2020, we are close to our target: 93% of the electricity we consume comes from renewable sources, mainly from wind power. We have been able to achieve this with a combination of self-produced energy and green electricity products purchased from local energy companies. Our manufacturing sites in Finland and the United States use solar panels to produce clean energy, and in 2019, we also started to purchase data center services powered by renewable energy.
“We are ambitious not only in our technological advances but also in creating a more sustainable business model for our industry. The 100% target has been an important milestone for us, and I am proud to say we will achieve the goal in 2020, as we set out to do in 2015. We have always been at the forefront of developing and committing to sustainable technologies and are happy to continue on that path," describes Kjell Forsén, President and CEO of Vaisala.
To achieve the remaining part of our 100% renewable electricity target, we will purchase unbundled renewable energy attribute certificates from the market. An energy attribute certificate is a market-based instrument that proves the renewable origin of produced energy. Each certificate provides a proof that 1 MWh of renewable energy has been produced in the same region. These certificates are needed to cover electricity consumption on those sites that cannot negotiate their own electricity contracts and therefore cannot directly choose to consume renewable electricity.
This is the seventh post in our article series about Vaisala’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Vaisala’s multifaceted business is brimming with stories, and in this article series, we illustrate with concrete examples, how our business is truly linked to the SDGs. Stay tuned for more information on how our solutions, practices, and mission Observations for a better world reflect the goals.
We aim to continuously improve the environmental impact of our product portfolio, business operations, and supply chain.
We have identified the most relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals for Vaisala. By integrating the goals to our strategy work, we can better assess our impacts on sustainable development and develop new business and sustainable business practices.