Neste x Responsible Care – 30 years of collaboration for a more sustainable chemical industry
After 30 years, Neste is still a proud member of the Responsible Care® program as one of the early joiners in Finland. Thanks to the program Neste could widen its sustainability concept and implement new metrics and targets into everyday business, says Kai Larnimaa, the Head of Group Environmental Compliance at Neste.
Responsible Care®, a global chemical industry voluntary initiative, commits companies, national chemical industry associations and their partners to drive continuous improvement and achieve excellence in environmental, health, safety, and security performance. The initiative was launched in Canada in 1985.
In Finland, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland launched the program in 1992, and Neste joined the new environmental, sustainability and safety program already then. After 30 years, Neste is still a proud member of the Responsible Care® program as one of the early joiners. Today, also Neste Singapore is a signatory of the program since it joined Singapore Chemical Industry in 2019.
Sustainability has been one of our key focus areas for decades already
Kai Larnimaa, the Head of Group Environmental Compliance at Neste, highlights the continuous, committed, and goal-oriented mindset on sustainability at Neste that was already visible decades ago.
“I was already working at Neste when the Responsible Care program was launched. Neste was one of the big corporations that joined the program right away and committed to it one hundred percent. Participating in the program was a huge thing for Neste since, on one hand, our company had already a very long and motivated history of environmental management, as sustainability was called in those days, but on the other hand, the chemical industry had suffered many incidents related to safety and environmental issues, especially in the 80s,” Larninaa states.
As said, Neste’s sustainability work has long traditions – even longer than 30 years old. Already, in 1969, Neste’s environmental department was established with a full time Environmental Manager position. However, the Responsible Care program impacted in the 90s to build the company Neste is today.
“Thanks to the Responsible Care program, we could widen our sustainability concept and implement new metrics and targets into our everyday business. Because of the program, we also started external sustainability reporting which led us to win the best European environmental reporting award in 1998. Around that time, companies were evaluated from an external perspective for the first time, which was an important step,” Larnimaa tells.
Today, Neste is considered one of the most sustainable companies globally by many modern metrics, like the Global 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. But what has changed since the Responsible Care program started is that nowadays we have our comprehensive sustainability vision instead of focusing only on environmental or safety-related issues.
“Thanks to our successful activities on especially local environment and safety-related issues in the 90s and at the beginning of 2000s, we can now focus deeply on global concerns related to climate change as well as human rights and biodiversity, for instance. We are systematically widening the perspective of our sustainability work,” Larnimaai concludes.
Challenge accepted – the anniversary year’s official targets are taken into account in Neste's materiality assessment
The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland´s central themes of the globally influencing sustainability program are sustainable use of natural resources, sustainability and safety of production and products, well-being of the work community, and open interaction and co-operation. During the anniversary year, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland aims to develop the program through various networks and interactive activities involving the member companies from more than 60 countries around the world.
One of the activities encourages companies to evaluate their current work and targets on sustainability. At Neste, we implemented a self-assessment by using a global tool provided by the Responsible Care program and in addition, we decided to combine the Responsible Care analysis model with our bi-annual sustainability materiality assessment conducted this year.