Tackling the environment in Finland

Aug 08 | 2022

Sustainability should be important to us all. Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to minimise the effect of their actions on the environment. By now most companies, and individuals, have got the message.

Niemi Electra Some will help to protect the environment because they know it’s the right thing to do.  Others might only do so because they are pushed by their customers.  A reducing number will make changes to the ways in which they operate purely because it saves them money.  Whichever category your company fits into, Niemi Services Ltd in Finland represents a shining example of what can be achieved.

Niemi Services Ltd is a family-owned business founded some 40 years ago.  It has eight offices around Finland and a treasured reputation for high quality.  Heidi Koivisto is the company’s communications and marketing manager. She explained that sustainability has been important to the company from the start but, in recent years, it’s taken on a greater urgency. “The road towards sustainability started in 2008, but has been ramped up since 2014,” she explained.

Recycling and reusing
Heidi KoivistoThat was when Niemi invested in its first recycling station. This separates and recycles a wide range of materials and goods so that nothing goes to landfill.  It provides a chargeable service to customers, both commercial and private.  The service first separates the items such as furniture and other household items not required by customers, and materials, reusing what it can, and recycling what it cannot for energy. Some items, such as clothes, are recycled free of charge. Over time the proportion of reuse has increased. “Now we have less and less to energy,” said Heidi.  Today, Niemi has recycling centres at all its sites.

The journey towards net zero
2014 was also the time when the company decided to become fossil free and ordered 15 biogas vehicles.  In 2019 it made the switch to using renewable diesel made from waste oil and grease from restaurants.   Now 25% of the 160-strong fleet uses biogas produced in Finland with the rest running on renewable diesel. The first all-electric vehicles arrived in 2020. “We will be net zero by 2030,” explained Heidi.

Does being sustainable cost more? ...

Top: Niemi's electric truck, with roof-mounted solar panels.
Bottom: Heidi Koivisto.

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