Working for a cleaner Baltic Sea

Cooperation agreement with the John Nurminen Foundation makes Orion a partner in the Clean Baltic Sea projects. The company has focused on the protection of waterways also in its own business.

Protecting the Baltic Sea is one of the main themes that Orion will be supporting over the next few years. Orion and the John Nurminen Foundation have agreed on cooperation in the Clean Baltic Sea projects for the years 2018–2019. Orion’s commitment to protecting the Baltic Sea is evident in its communication both outside the company and with its own personnel.

“Participating in the Clean Baltic Sea projects is very consistent with Orion’s own operations.

We have wanted to contribute more to the protection of the environment than just fulfilling the legal requirements, so now we have raised the level of our actions. Last year we managed to successfully complete a project to improve our waste water management,” explains Corporate Responsibility Officer Noora Paronen.

Orion has its own expertise and experience in the development of water resources management. The expert networks of the John Nurminen Foundation will also create an opportunity to share and strengthen knowledge among the parties in the network.

The significance and vulnerability of waterways is now widely understood these days. “Interest in and knowledge of these issues is constantly growing in companies, and among the authorities and consumers,” says Otto Järvinen, the company’s Environment, Health & Safety Officer, who in recent years has, among other things, been coordinating Orion’s waste water management project.

The status of the Baltic Sea concerns everyone in the surrounding area

Orion has, for years, been directing support to important targets. “Now it is the turn of the Baltic Sea. The tangible work of the John Nurminen Foundation has produced visible results in mitigating the largest environmental problem in the Baltic Sea. We want to be involved in doing effective work for the benefit of the Baltic Sea, and this is a natural subject for us, since we operate in all the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea,” says Timo Lappalainen, President and CEO of Orion.

The whole of Orion’s own manufacturing is located in Finland, and the company has a strong profile as a builder of well-being. Clean waterways and thriving nature are a source of well-being for Finns, and Finns also bear responsibility for their environment.

In a period of over 10 years, the John Nurminen Foundation has completed almost 20 projects which have, for example, reduced phosphorus in the Baltic Sea by an amount well over the annual wastewater emissions of the City of Helsinki. Eutrophication is still the largest and most visible problem in the Baltic Sea, which is visible as blooming blue-green algae and build-up of slime on shorelines, for example. More partners and support are needed for the projects, as there is still a lot of work to do.

The Foundation’s new projects aim to cut, among other things, the agricultural load and remove nutrients that have already ended up in the sea. In the entire catchment area of the Baltic Sea, the Foundation participates in the BEST project, which is partially funded by the EU and which aims to enhance industrial waste water treatment and to seek best practices for the prevention of the emission of harmful substances, such as pharmaceuticals.

All knowhow in use

Orion has just completed the renewal of Fermion’s API plant in Hanko, Finland. “The planning was implemented based on criteria which look far into the future. The selected technology was based on making the manufacturing as clean as possible,” says Järvinen.

Paronen states that Orion’s employees have also become aware of the impact of their own actions and daily choices. “The personnel has been encouraged to get involved straight away if they notice modes of operation which may not have been considered sufficiently from the perspective of occupational safety or the environment. Responsibility is much more than just pouring money into good causes – consistent action is needed across the board.”

“This work is based on long-term goals, and our aim is to give our contribution in guiding the industry towards a more responsible direction. That will benefit all of us,” Järvinen sums up.


Text: Johanna Paasikangas-Tella

Photo: Jukka Nurminen, photo credit: John Nurminen Foundation