“It’s time to give back to the Baltic” – Orion provides funding of EUR 48,000 to the John Nurminen Foundation and #OURSEA campaign

This is Orion’s third year as a main sponsor of the John Nurminen Foundation. The Foundation’s new Baltic Sea campaigns will help minimise fertiliser emissions at ports and collect our fondest memories of the Baltic Sea.

“Early last summer, as I was boating on the eastern Baltic, I noticed how crystal clear the sea was. Going east of Kotka, the water seemed cleaner than before,” says Timo Lappalainen, CEO of Orion.

His observation was, in fact, correct: while the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has made it one of the most polluted sea areas in the world, there has been distinct improvement. There is still hope that we can save the Baltic.

“We owe the Baltic Sea an awful lot. It has provided us with food, a seaway to the world and a cultural and national identity. Now, the Baltic Sea is in a bad way, and it is time to give back,” says Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Secretary General of the John Nurminen Foundation.

The John Nurminen Foundation has been working and campaigning for the preservation of the Baltic Sea and its heritage since 1992, and Orion has been one of its main sponsors since 2018.


Orion joins #OURSEA campaign

In 2020, Orion will donate EUR 48,000 for the protection of the Baltic Sea. The funding will be directed to the John Nurminen Foundation and Moomin Characters #OURSEA campaign.

“Supporting the protection of the Baltic Sea is a natural choice for Orion as we have operations in all the counties around the Baltic, and we care deeply about the environment,” says Timo Lappalainen, CEO of Orion.

According to Arrakoski-Engardt, the #OURSEA campaign offers a wealth of information and facts not only about the Baltic Sea but also on what can be done to improve its state.

“This will make our efforts and those of all other environmental operators much easier, as it provides such a clear rationale on why we must act,” she says.


Funding for new Baltic projects: cut down fertiliser emissions at ports  

The #OURSEA campaign was launched to the general public at the Vene 20 Båt Helsinki International Boat show on 7 February. The goal of the campaign is to raise one million euros within the first year. This money will be used for funding the John Nurminen Foundation’s ongoing and future Baltic preservation projects. At the launch, the Foundation introduced two new initiatives.

“The first project is aimed at fertiliser handling at cargo ports and the water for cleaning the cargo containers that is washed out into the sea,” says Arrakoski-Engardt.

The problem is the powdery consistency of fertilisers. When the cargo containers are filled, small particles of the powder enter the air and eventually end up in the sea. Fertilisers also end up in the Baltic Sea when the cargo containers are washed with water.

“This is a major environmental burden on the Baltic Sea,” says Juha Nurminen, Chairman of the Board of the John Nurminen Foundation. This is a major problem that has so far been largely ignored.

While the Finnish ports nowadays handle fertilisers in an appropriate manner, it is important to share the best practices with all other Baltic port authorities.

“I believe that our expertise, cultural competence and language skills – plus our understanding of maritime issues make us the ideal partner, for example, in Russia. This is a matter that shipping companies are deeply involved with,” Nurminen says.


Reminiscing about the Baltic on Baltic Sea Day

The second new project of the John Nurminen Foundation is dedicated to preserving the Baltic Sea’s cultural heritage. During spring 2020, Finnish people’s memories of the Baltic Sea will be collected in the form of words, images and videos.

“This will give us an idea of how we see our Baltic Sea. Is it beautiful and lovely, or dark and scary, small or vast?” Arrakoski-Engardt says.

The memories will be compiled into a large exhibition, My Sea, which will be opened as part of the Baltic Sea Day celebrations on 27 August 2020.

“The project is facilitated by Åbo Akademi University, which will be carrying out research into Finnish people’s relationship with the sea. We have plenty of knowhow when it comes to seafaring and maritime business, and now we want to find out if there is anything unique in our relationship with the sea compared to other nations.”


The Baltic was Tove Jansson’s muse – the Moomins have now joined the campaign to save it 

The beautiful visual theme of the #OURSEA campaign has already won the hearts of many supporters, and no wonder, since the design is based on Tove Jansson’s much-loved Moomins.

“The theme conveys the idea that by donating money to the campaign, you are also supporting the protection of the sea and the wider story behind it. Everyone knows that Moominpappa loves the sea and that, for the Moomins, the sea is an exciting adventure and an opportunity,” says Arrakoski-Engardt.

“The Baltic was Tove’s muse and she conveyed the story of the Baltic by cultural means. When you combine this with our wide-reaching work on behalf of the Baltic, it is the perfect partnership.”

The Moomins Characters want to celebrate their anniversary by campaigning for the Baltic. This year sees the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood.

“We want to think we are like the Moomin’s in their courage and enthusiasm to cross boundaries. They will help us find completely new ways of working,” Juha Nurminen says.


Text: Sanna Jäppinen