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State-owner’s sustainability programme addresses key challenges of company portfolio

Government Communications Department
Publication date 18.6.2024 9.10 | Published in English on 18.6.2024 at 15.41
Press release

Sustainability work in government ownership steering emphasises climate and nature work, human rights, diversity, sustainability in remuneration and companies’ responsibility for their value chains. These are the main objectives of the new state-owner’s sustainability programme, which identifies the sustainability themes most critical to the State's company portfolio and sets portfolio-level objectives and indicators for them. The implementation of the programme will require dialogue with companies and a variety of risk assessments.

A new operating practice was introduced in connection with the publication of the most recent Government Resolution on Ownership Policy: going forward, the Ownership Steering Department will draw up a state-owner’s sustainability programme on a regular basis. The programme defines the State’s sustainability objectives and indicators for monitoring the effectiveness of its sustainability work and ownership steering.

In its Resolution on Ownership Policy, the State has traditionally communicated its expectations to companies with regard to sustainable business activities. The new sustainability programme is a tool for monitoring these expectations and putting them into practice.

“The State has traditionally been very ambitious in its expectations for sustainability, and this is something we can expect as a major state owner. It is also good to understand that sustainable business makes economic sense: it boosts the competitiveness of companies and increases shareholder value,” says Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Anders Adlercreutz

“At the same time, we want to develop our role as a sustainable owner and take a more focused and systematic approach to our work, and the new sustainability programme addresses this need,” Minister Adlercreutz says.

Programme based on Government Resolution on Ownership Policy

The Government Resolution on State Ownership Policy specifies the State’s expectations for sustainability in areas such as climate and nature work and emphasises the responsibility of companies for the environmental and human rights impacts of their value chains. The sustainability programme is based on the ownership policy guidelines and has six main priorities:

  • Climate friendliness and the green transition
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainability of value chains and fulfilment of the due diligence obligation
  • Respect for human rights throughout the value chain
  • Sustainability as an employer and diversity
  • Sustainability in remuneration

“These six priorities have a wide-ranging impact on companies’ competitiveness and shareholder value. They also represent significant opportunities and risks for the company portfolio. With this in mind, the state will now be especially focusing on monitoring and promoting the programme’s priorities,” says Ministerial Adviser Katariina Sillander, who is responsible for developing sustainability at the Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Objectives, indicators and measures are set for each priority at the company portfolio level, and their progress will be reported on every spring as part of the Government Annual Report.

“Indicators we monitor at the portfolio level include the development of companies’ total emissions and the diversity of their boards of directors. In the future, we will also be paying attention to whether companies have committed to science-based emission reduction targets, carried out risk and impact assessments from the perspective of biodiversity and put in place processes related to respect for human rights at the required level,” Sillander says. 

Aiming for a clearer picture of sustainability in the company portfolio

In the future, ownership steering will also carry out thematic sustainability risk assessments related to aspects such as biodiversity and human rights. 

“For the State as an owner, it is important to have a clear picture of the situation with regard to the most critical sustainability issues in corporate ownership and to monitor how the ownership policy guidelines are progressing at companies. It is equally important to continue to hold regular discussions with companies on sustainability – especially in terms of how sustainability affects companies’ success and what observations the State has made when analysing the companies,” says Katariina Sillander.

Inquiries: Katariina Sillander, Ministerial Adviser, Ownership Steering Department, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 50 569 0902; requests for interviews with Minister Adlercreutz: Crista Grönroos, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 441 4257, firstname.lastname(at)