Company tensions in transformative change

18 January 2022 15:45 (GMT)
18 January 2022 17:15 (GMT)

The actions of private companies play a critical role in sustainability transitions. Companies both drive transformative change and maintain unsustainable systems. From an organizational perspective, transformative change manifests in paradoxical tensions between economic, environmental, and social targets. While policymakers can support the emergence of markets where sustainable actions are economically viable, sustainability goals are still often perceived to conflict with short-term profitable business, leading to the dominance of economic values in decision-making.

This initiative develops an understanding of companies as transformative actors. Our goal is to present dilemmas embedded in the practical reality of companies’ decision-makers, and invite participants to develop solutions and approaches for resolving them. We expect the results of the session to benefit various stakeholders (especially company representatives, policymakers, researchers) by building bridges between different perspectives and providing practical advice for developing companies’ roles in systemic sustainability transformations.

Ref: #18

Policy and governance for transformative change


Matti Pihlajamaa
Matti Pihlajamaa is a Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. He holds a D.Sc. (Tech.) degree in innovation management from Aalto University, Finland and an M.Soc.Sc. in economics from the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has ten years of experience in research on innovation policy and innovation management. Lately, his research has focused on sustainable innovation, public procurement of innovation, and transformative and mission-oriented innovation policies.
Mika Nieminen
Dr Mika Nieminen works as principal scientist and research team leader of Responsibility and Ethics of Innovations team at the VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland ltd. His key areas of interest are research and innovation organizations, policy and systems. Nieminen has published extensively, including books, articles, edited volumes and research reports. He has served as journal editor, conference organizer and member of various boards. He has also participated in policy and organization evaluations and development. His current research interests cover especially systemic innovations and transformations, development of impact assessment methods, as well as responsibility and sustainability related questions.
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Pietari Pikkuaho
Pietari Pikkuaho is a research scientist at VTT, working on the themes of responsibility, sustainability and ethics of technology and innovations. He majored in political science and graduated with a masters degree from Turku University in 2020. He is currently working on sustainable innovation policy under the COSU project at VTT funded by Business Finland, as well as the ethics of AI and AI governance, under the ETAIROS project on ethical use of AI. His other areas include citizen engagement, participation and social media.
Susanna Horn
Susanna Horn, DSc (Econ), MSc (SRM). Senior research scientist in the Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production at the Finnish Environment Institute. She is currently working in projects related to circular economy and life cycle approaches related to textiles, plastics, digital devices and digitalisation, metals, as well as ecodesign, innovation and data questions. Her main expertise is in the strategic use of life cycle methods. Prior to working in SYKE, she has worked in the metals and mining sector in sustainability and innovation positions, as well as in the university sector as a researcher and lecturer. PhD in business-related application of LCA methodologies (corporate environmental management), Master’s degrees in Economics (JYU) and Sustainable Resource Management (TUM).
Hanna Salo
Hanna Salo is a researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute and a doctoral researcher in environmental sciences at the University of Helsinki. She received her MSc degree from the University of Turku in 2019 majoring in geography. Her research and expertise consider enhancing the means of public governance to steer systemic sustainability transitions, supporting company efforts in the transitions and evaluation of sustainable development and circular economy policies. For the last four years, her work has also considered national and EU-level product policies, sustainability indicators and sustainable innovations. In addition to the research activities, she has organised and coordinated stakeholder cooperation and events with policymakers, companies, researchers, and experts in multidisciplinary and multinational projects.