Corporate responsibility at Finnvera
All of Finnvera's operations are based on corporate social responsibility: through its operations, Finnvera creates benefits for the economy by providing financing for Finnish enterprises on their path of growth, competitiveness and internationalisation. For Finnvera, the core of corporate responsibility is adherence to laws, international agreements and responsible modes of operation in contacts with all clients and stakeholders.
Finnvera's impact on society
In terms of corporate responsibility, Finnvera's greatest impacts are produced through financing, which rests on the foundation of responsible project assessment and controlled risk-taking. Especially projects to be carried out abroad are assessed carefully with regard not only to their financial possibilities for success but also to their environmental and social impacts. For export projects, we do the assessment of impacts largely ourselves. However, for projects implemented in Finland and in countries with advanced legislative environments, we trust the assessments done by the authorities and the permits they have granted. In addition, each project is assessed to determine whether it is appropriate for a public actor to participate in financing the project.
Aside from Finnish laws and the regulations of the financial sector, the field is heavily internationally regulated. The European Union has laid down State aid rules for the financing of SMEs, and export financing is regulated, for instance, by the OECD Export Credits Arrangement and the recommendations issued by the World Bank. These are useful when projects are assessed in countries where the country's own legislation has shortcomings with respect to environmental or social criteria.
One of Finnvera's key strategic and ownership policy goals is to apply means of financing to promote the use of clean, renewable sources of energy in order to mitigate climate change. Thanks to their sector, enterprises engaged in bioeconomy and cleantech are therefore among the principal areas in terms of financing. Irrespective of the sector, as a provider of loans and guarantees, Finnvera must always investigate whether the project planned has the prerequisites for economic profitability.
The Chief Executive Officer's review of corporate responsibility today and tomorrow
The year 2014 was still marked by the shadow of the financial crisis that started six years earlier. Finland's GDP fell for the fourth year in a row, and the reluctance of banks to finance companies led to a situation where Finnvera's authorisation to grant financing had to be raised by increasing Finnvera's role on the Finnish financial market.
In addition, the Russian crisis and the consequent sanctions were reflected in Finnvera's operations. Finnvera complies with the sanctions approved by the EU and assesses its possibilities to participate in projects carried out in Russia case by case, according to the normal criteria. Apart from direct effects, the indirect effects of this situation on the Finnish economy are significant: The decline of Russia's economy and the weaker exchange rate of the rouble have hindered the business of many Finnish companies and have affected their willingness to invest.
Among the greatest success stories for Finnish society in 2014 was the survival of business at Turku Shipyard. Unfortunately, some Finnish companies have not fared equally well. For Finnvera, the most visible example is Talvivaara, which is currently still seeking a new owner. Our projects are implemented in various environments, and some risks are inevitably realised as losses.
Within Finnvera, the biggest event of the year was the implementation of the reorganisation in autumn 2014. The new organisational structure strives to meet the goals of the strategy that was updated in 2013. The focus is on enterprises aiming at growth and internationalisation and on the quality and efficiency of customer service. Another objective of the reform is the automation and digitisation of routine operations within the next few years.
A challenge for the future is how to find the appropriate balance between private and public financing; the ultimate role of the State is to supplement the financial markets. As regulation increases in the private sector, the requirements concerning Finnvera and its services will remain high.
With closer cooperation within Team Finland, we must also find more efficient ways of working together and saving resources. The move to joint premises in 2016 is one solution to this. Cooperation with sister organisations will be increasingly important in the future, and I hope that all Finnvera employees feel that they are playing on the same Team Finland.
Principles of corporate responsibility and management
Finnvera's Board of Directors has approved the following principles for corporate responsibility:
- For Finnvera, corporate responsibility means adherence to responsible modes of operation in contacts with all stakeholders.
- Finnvera carries out its mission and strategy in accordance with the laws, regulations and industrial and ownership policy goals guiding the companys operations.
- Finnvera's corporate responsibility rests on the foundation of the company's values and good governance. In practice, it is manifested as financial, social and environmental responsibility.
- The daily tools for acting responsibly at Finnvera include theme-specific policies and guidelines and a certified operating system that is kept up to date.
At Finnvera, implementation of corporate responsibility is monitored by the Management Group. Ultimate responsibility for this is vested in the Board of Directors and the CEO.
Owing to the nature of the company's operations, compliance with ethical guidelines is particularly important. Finnvera applies, among others, the following guidelines:
- Principles of good conduct, based on discharging a public administration task
- Guidelines on disqualification and insider information, which concern financing activities
- Obligation to maintain confidentiality
- With respect to export financing, e.g. anti-bribery guidelines.
All new employees and new members of the administrative bodies are familiarised with the guidelines. From the perspective of corporate responsibility, Finnvera's operations are also steered, among others, by the credit and guarantee policy, personnel policy outlines, guidelines and procedures for procurement, and the ISO 9001 quality and steering system.