Leading the Way in Sustainability


FTA is proud to announce that FTA Board Member, Lea Rankinen, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and CSR from the SOK Corporation was listed by the Nordic Business Forum as one of the top 20 Responsible Leaders in Northern Europe. Learn more about her personal contributions to the CSR field and what it takes to be real changemaker in the following interview.

This ranking praises your collaboration with Finnwatch and Andy Hall to address instances of forced labour. It was an unprecedented commitment from a company. What conclusions can you draw from that experience?

There were many new steps during this process but the most relevant from a strategic point of view is that it took us to a totally new level and proved how important open, transparent communication and proactive stakeholder work really are.

How have you managed to embed sustainability within your company’s policies and values? How have FTA and BSCI contributed to your work?

Our company has a long history in social responsibility as it’s owned by consumers. Our values are embedded in the belief that caring for people and the environment is important. This direction has provided me the right framework to create new principles and a strategy to gain momentum and become a forerunner in sustainability. FTA and its sustainability initiative, BSCI, have been key for us to improve human rights in global supply chains. In addition to auditing activities, collaborative action such as trainings, advocacy and multi-stakeholder projects, all of which FTA can offer us, is required to further promote social compliance.

What are the main challenges in your job?

To keep focused, despite the growing expectations that fall under the umbrella of sustainability. To get things done, we need focus on most relevant issues. The possibility to make a big impact, learn new things and inspire people are key motivators for me.

What makes a CSR manager a changemaker? What advice would you offer to others seeking to bring about change?

The expectations for CSR professionals have changed a lot. A good changemaker has extensive experience in the sustainability field, but more importantly good communications and networking skills and courage are necessary. Create a vision and believe in it. Be patient, listen and take hold of your network.

Where do you see the future of CSR and CSR managers?

CSR managers are going to play a key role in the future as I believe sustainability is the new normal of management. I would like to see more collaborative, impactful, fast-moving initiatives and innovative ways for companies to measure and prove their positive impact on business. And last, but not least, the most relevant question for the future is how can companies measure and prove that their business is sustainable.

Read more about Ms Rankinen and her role as a representative for the SOK Corporation as the official 2017 Members’ Award winner at the FTA annual conference.



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