Personnel as Promoters of Sustainable Development and Responsibility – “Sustainable Wednesday Blog Series, Part 5”

Raidallinen kukkaruukku, josta kasvaa kolmilehtinen kasvi.

Universities of Applied Sciences are committed to the Rector’s Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene‘s programme for sustainable development and responsibility. The common goal of universities of applied sciences is to be sustainable, responsible and carbon neutral by 2030.

This blog series elaborates on how Humak takes into account the principles of sustainable development in the areas of education, RDI work as well as management and personnel competence from an ecological, social and cultural point of view. Additionally, the sustainable development program involves an annual calculation of our carbon footprint, through which Humak strives to reduce its own impact on the climate. In the blog series, we also present the basics of the calculation and the evolution of Humak’s carbon footprint. Blog posts will be published about once a week on Wednesdays until May 2022. The Sustainable Wednesday blog series continues with blog number five: Personnel as Promoters of Sustainable Development and Responsibility.

Part 1: Towards a More Sustainable and Responsible Humak

Part 2: Building a Carbon Neutral Humak

Part 3: RDI Work as a Builder of a Sustainable World

Part 4: Sustainable Development in Evolving Curricula

Sustainable Wednesday, Towards a carbon neutral Humak 2030.

Blog 5: ”Personnel as Promoters of Sustainable Development and Responsibility”  

The Sustainable Development and Responsibility Program has been jointly approved by universities of applied sciences. With regard to the management and personnel aspects related to the program, universities of applied sciences promise to act as economically, ecologically, culturally and socially responsible employers. The joint “Management and Competent Personnel” working group of the universities of applied sciences aims to promote the principles of sustainable development related to management and personnel competence by building more sustainable operating models and adding sustainable development as part of the personnel’s competence.

Competent personnel are able to work with environmental considerations in mind. In addition, they also have an impact outside their work in their daily lives and in their immediate circle.

Strategy-Driven Sustainable Development

Humak has made sustainability part of its strategy as a principle that is present in all its operations. The aim of the strategy is to create a more equal society by developing skills that unite people. We increase communality, accessibility and well-being, enabling a sustainable lifestyle for present and future generations.

Humak’s management is strongly committed to the Sustainable Development and Responsibility Program, which is a prerequisite for implementing sustainability and responsibility measures at Humak. During 2022, Humak will develop its own sustainability program, which will include personnel training and raising awareness of sustainability in one’s own work. In connection with the program, the level of competence for sustainable development and responsibility will also be defined, and in order to achieve it, staff will be provided with training. 

Aiming for Personnel Committed to Sustainable Development

Sustainability was one of the themes at Humak’s 2022 development days. Humak has already included the principles of sustainable development and responsibility in the induction day for new employees. The aim is also to promote sustainable development through a policy that enables extensive remote work and reduces travel. In addition, employees are offered bicycles as an employee benefit, which aims to increase the well-being and resilience of employees in addition to reducing their carbon footprint.

Two cyclists in city traffic.
Humak personnel are offered bicycles as an employee benefit. Photo: Pexels

Humak participates in the activities of the joint “Management and Competent Personnel” group of universities of applied sciences. In a webinar held in early April, the group presented a workbook for personnel to help communally recognize and develop areas, skills and actions related to sustainable development in their own organization. In the workbook, the areas related to personnel competence are linked to the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the working group presented a course provider with training on sustainable development that can be used to increase personnel competence.

Universities of applied sciences have an important role to play in promoting sustainable development and ecosocial education. Ecosocial civilization is the understanding of our rights and responsibilities based on our dependence on nature and other people. An ecosocially educated person strives to secure the conditions for a good life on Earth for present and future generations. In addition, they understand the limits of material consumption.

We must act as we teach. Promoting sustainable development requires work and concrete measures in everyday life. This can be done in conjunction with skilled personnel committed to the principles of sustainable development.

Text: Anna Mattila, Master of Health Science, Service Director, Humak University of Applied Sciences, 11.5.2022

Translation: Mari Ervasti