Towards a clean sea – The Baltic Sea region is our home

Eutrophication is one of the most significant environmental issues related to the Baltic Sea. Orion seeks to improve the well-being of the sea in many ways, starting from its production.

Our cooperation with the John Nurminen Foundation is important in this respect, along with the foundation’s BEST project to improve industrial wastewater treatment. Watch the video to see how Orion processes its high-risk wastewater. 

Being committed to improving the state of the Baltic Sea is natural and meaningful for Orion. The company has operations in all the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. In addition, unpolluted nature is particularly important for Orion as a source of well-being for Finns.

The protection of the Baltic Sea is intertwined with Orion’s operations in many ways: as part of process development, environmental solutions for daily life, employees’ day-to-day work, communication, and cooperation with partners.

“Our environmental efforts have exceeded statutory requirements for a long time. With increased understanding and information and improved analytical methods, we keep raising the bar,” says Noora Paronen, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Orion.

Orion separates its wastewater based on risks

With climate change, the significance of natural waterways for natural diversity is increasingly clear.

“The vulnerability of natural waterways is understood more extensively than before. Nowadays, the authorities, companies and ordinary people alike are deeply interested in and aware of environmental issues, which lays an excellent foundation for common efforts for the good of nature,” says EHS Specialist Otto Järvinen, who has coordinated Orion’s work to further develop its wastewater management. EHS stands for “Environment, Health and Safety”.

Orion has been working systematically over the long term to minimise the environmental effects arising from its wastewater.

“Although it’s estimated that only 2% of pharmaceutical residues globally are generated during production, they are an important factor in the form of high-concentration emissions. The pharmaceutical industry must manage these effectively,” Järvinen emphasises.

Today, Orion’s wastewater process is based on a separate drainage system. High-risk wastewater is separated from other wastewater and directed to be processed separately in tanks. The excess water is evaporated, and the remainder is burned. This enables the complete destruction (100%) of pharmaceutical residues in risk-assessed wastewater.

Orion’s operations are guided by environmental protection across the production chain, from product development and production to the end of product life cycles. Increasing public awareness and providing guidance for partners and patients is particularly important towards the end of product life cycles.


Effective cooperation for the good of the environment

In 2020, Orion will be the John Nurminen Foundation’s main partner for the third consecutive year.

“Nutrient overload has caused eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. The water is murky, and blue-green algae is increasingly common, as are dead zones. However, the John Nurminen Foundation’s work has produced visible results in mitigating environmental issues related to the Baltic Sea, and we are participating in this work very willingly,” says Timo Lappalainen, President and CEO of Orion.

The John Nurminen Foundation has completed around 20 projects over the past decade. These projects have decreased the phosphorus content of wastewater emissions from Helsinki, in addition to removing nutrients from the sea, to name just two examples. The new gypsum projects reduce phosphorus loading from agriculture.

The BEST project covers the entire catchment area of the Baltic Sea. Funded by the EU, the project aims to improve industrial wastewater treatment, in addition to seeking best practices for preventing harmful substances, such as pharmaceutical residues.

“Cooperation – that is, sharing information, skills and tools and finding solutions together – is the way to permanent results. The BEST project and our cooperation with the John Nurminen Foundation are excellent examples of this,” says Lappalainen.