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Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle shared insights on sustainability and strategy

Best practices in sustainability and strategy were discussed at the Strategy Circle after work with speakers from Aalto University School of Business, Amazon Web Services and Kemira. The Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle brings together strategy professionals, business leaders and academics to learn and exchange ideas about the most relevant topics in strategy.
Audience in smaller tables listening to senior university lecturer Leena Lankoski
Senior university lecturer Leena Lankoski introducing three perspectives on sustainability and strategy. Photo: Mary-Ann Alfthan

The second Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle event was held on 8 March 2023. At the afterwork, the latest insights and best practices regarding sustainability and strategy were discussed. The event was moderated by Professor Jens Schmidt from the Aalto University School of Science.

The speakers included Leena Lankoski, Senior University Lecturer in Sustainability in Business at Aalto University School of Business, Panu Kärävä, Sustainability Customer Delivery Architect at Amazon, and Johanna Pynnä, Head of Corporate Strategy at Kemira.

Leena Lankoski from Aalto School of Business considered sustainability from three perspectives: in relation to competitive strategy, corporate strategy, and corporate purpose. Lankoski described how analyzing solely business outcomes is not an adequate approach – sustainability outcomes need to be considered as well. Lankoski emphasized that sustainability affects both costs and revenues and thus a case-specific analysis is required to identify which ones of these impacts will materialize and whether the impacts are negative or positive.

Panu Kärävä from Amazon highlighted that businesses need to advance from building a separate sustainability strategy to embedding sustainability in their business strategy. Science-based targets and emissions reports acted as a differentiator in the market ten years ago but now reporting and setting up sustainability objectives has become a standard. Kärävä encouraged companies to look for a competitive advantage in combining various data sources from sustainability data to consumer behavior and labor market data.

Johanna Pynnä shared Kemira’s best practices on sustainability and strategy. Like Kärävä, Pynnä highlighted sustainability being a key driver for the future: the biggest impact the UN sustainability development goals in 2019 had was not on the environment but on the mindset of the people. If companies want to be on the successful side, Pynnä challenged, they need to start thinking how sustainability drives the actual business forward. How does sustainability affect your handprint, e.g., your customer, as well as the footprint, e.g., operations and processes?

Three speakers and a facilitator in a group photo
Speakers of the event: Panu Kärävä, Leena Lankoski ja Johanna Pynnä. Professor Jens Schmidt (in the middle) from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management facilitated the event. Photo: Henna Pursiainen

During the lively discussion, regulatory needs on sustainability, partnership and change management models were mentioned.

Predictable, possibly more outcome-focused regulation was seen as key driver for sustainability. The importance of building partnership models that increase sector-specific collaboration in an ecosystem manner was mentioned.

Change management was perceived as challenging, yet also opening up opportunities for value- and needs-based approaches in businesses as well as for service industry in general.

Strategy Circle gathers people with similar interest from different fields

“I participated in the event because sustainability is directly linked to my own work and our company strategy. I joined because I wanted to get out of my silo and hear what others think, learn from their insights, and hear also best practices from market runners in coal-intensive market”, says Tiia Pirttimaa, Aalto alumna and Business Development Manager from Caverion.

If you are interested in attending or want more info, subscribe to the mailing list.

Participants discussing the topic of the event.
Participants discussing sustainability and strategy at the Strategy Circle after work event 8.3.2023. Photo: Henna Pursiainen

Strategy Circle After Work: AI and competitive advantage

The theme of the bext event is artificial intelligence (AI) and competitive advantage.

Check out the upcoming event on 16 May, 2023

The events are hosted by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management in cooperation with Aalto Strategy Alumni.

The Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle brings together international and local strategy professionals, academics, and business leaders to learn and exchange ideas on the most relevant topics in strategy.

Get to know the Aalto Strategy Circle

Audience in smaller tables listening to senior university lecturer Leena Lankoski

Aalto Strategy Circle After Work: artificial intelligence and competitive advantage

The Aalto Strategy Circle brings together strategy professionals and business leaders to learn and exchange ideas about the most relevant current topics in strategy through interactive sessions involving international academics and local professionals.

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Professor Jens Schmidt opening the first Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle. Audience in the front.

Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle shared best practices in mergers and acquisitions

The Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle brings together strategy professionals and business leaders to learn and exchange ideas about the most relevant current topics in strategy.

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