Geopark's member company Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop wanted to make the company's environmental work credibly more visible and began to build an environmental management system.
Geopark’s member company Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop wanted to make the company’s environmental work credibly more visible and began to build an environmental management system. The background was the company’s values, the development of its operations and competitiveness. Visibly responsible action is no longer an added value, but a necessity.
EcoCompass was chosen as the environmental management system (EMS), which, as an industry-independent system, was suitable for the company’s many functions, cafés, bakery and food factory. – The environmental management program will lead to growth in line with the company’s values. It also provides more ideas, explains Sirkku Ylikoski, Marketing Manager, who is leading the development of the Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop’s EMS.
– EcoCompass surprised with its concreteness, and the work turned out to be easier than expected, Ylikoski says delighted. – We were able to choose the entities to be developed based on our own goals and values. The list of things to be developed by the Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop includes e.g. waste and sorting, energy, responsible procurement, communication and advocacy, and biodiversity. – We chose things that we can react to and want to develop. For example, in rented premises, we cannot decide what kind of electricity we consume, but we can use equipment that consumes less electricity. Economy and environmental considerations go hand in hand.
There are a variety of ways to reduce waste, from menu design onwards. Biodiversity can be promoted e.g. by choosing meat from grazing livestock. Eco-labeled, local and organic products are preferred in purchases. – The work proceeds one product group at a time, at first e.g. dairy products could be considered.
– The goals and measures are concrete; they are easy to go through with the staff. We handle one section at a time, train the staff and share information with customers, Ylikoski lists. The system has three years to implement. However, it is never complete, it is a program of continuous improvement. – We set intermediate goals and after three years new goals again. Not everything in this industry can be made completely responsible, because we have hard price realities. However, we aim for as many of the products as possible to be local and organic.
The system clarifies the firm’s operations in many ways, and once built, it also saves time in the future. – Procurement has been harmonized and competed, and good new products have been found that are easy for staff to order. The waste management plan used to be a bit loose, but now it is clear – time and energy are saved.
Why should environmental management systems work be undertaken? – If you want to stay competitive, Ylikoski answers. She scanned the company’s target groups and identified aware customers. – Responsibility and organic are asked. Responsibility must be concretely verified. It requires work but is inspiring and rewarding. It is an opportunity for a company to develop its own operations and at the same time unequivocally and in an understandable way prove that it is involved in responsibility work. Responsibility is also part of the employer’s image. Today’s young people want to be involved in responsible business. We think of it as an investment in both development and marketing. It is up to us how much we can use it in communication.
– If Finland wants to invest in sustainable tourism, it is worth being the first ones to be involved, Ylikoski encourages. – In nature tourism, you cannot afford to opt out.
Photos: Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop