We take account of the principles of sustainable development in research and development and in our internal operations. Our reporting on corporate responsibility follows GRI-3 guidelines. We describe examples of corporate responsibility in both our annual report and the VTT Review, and publish selected GRI metrics on the VTT website (www.vtt.fi).
The focus areas of VTT's research – bioeconomy, low-carbon energy, digitalisation, cleantech, resource-efficient production, and health and well-being solutions – target a better living environment and a sustainable economy. Our spearhead and innovation programmes realise the goals of our research focus areas. Our research activity produces a steady stream of totally new, sustainable solutions to the major challenges facing society. According to studies, the utilisation rate of our research results is extremely high, which means that VTT has a highly important impact in promoting sustainable development. Our research results and experts are also widely called upon as a basis for public decision-making on the journey to a society founded on sustainable development.
Responsibility for our own personnel
VTT is an attractive place to work with a highly rated employer brand , particularly among students and professionals in the fields of science and technology. VTT was number eight on the list of favourite employers among students and came second in the equivalent list for working professionals in 2015.
In terms of employee well-being, the focus remains on proactive work aimed at its promotion. VTT's incorporation led to cooperation with a new pension insurance company, with the aim of improving staff well-being and organisational productivity. A Presto evaluation of VTT's processes, supervisory work and operating culture – which gave a snapshot of occupational well-being and quality of working life – was performed at various levels of the organisation. The strengthening of trust and VTT's feedback culture, and the rationalisation of processes, were highlighted as focus areas.
Competence and competence development are crucial to VTT and successful business activities. In an expert organisation with experienced staff, training and coaching need to be supplemented with various on-the-job learning methods. VTT offers several such approaches. In addition, on-the-job learning and knowledge-sharing were supported by continuing VTT's mentoring programme, which involved 38 pairs.
Leadership coaching, coaching info and manager day courses were among the techniques used to train supervisors in line with VTT's development path.
VTT Professional Project Manager and internal Project Management ABC training number among VTT's tools for enhancing project management competencies. At the end of the year, 128 VTT employees had become 'IPMA-certified'. In addition, certified project managers shared their experiences at the PM Forum event. Training was also arranged to develop sales competencies, with use being made of an online self-study course.
Calculated using the Zero Accidents forum method, the frequency of accidents in the parent company was lower than last year, at 0.51 per million working hours. The accident frequency rate throughout VTT Group was 0.95, which was slightly higher than last year. Only two accidents in the parent company, and two in the subsidiaries, led to absences from work. However, because one of the accidents in the parent company was serious (56 days of sick leave), the same category has been assigned to last year's accidents overall (21 days of sick leave per single accident). On the other hand, the seriousness of accidents reduced markedly compared to the previous year. In addition, one accident that occurred during commuting – a fall on stairs – led to a long, 139-day period of sick leave.
We drafted and implemented an operational plan for the storage management of chemicals, the maintenance of information on them, and the marking of chemical containers. User training, which was conducted throughout the organisation, began right at the beginning of 2015. More than 2,000 VTT employees participated in the eSafety online course. This course was mandatory for all employees.
We completed the 2015 projects for the 2015–2017 three-year plan in line with our occupational health and safety development plans. These projects involved the development of our occupation safety culture, occupational safety in common workspaces, tidiness and order, as well as strengthening the supervisory chain as QEHS ambassadors. Supervisors diligently engaged in occupational health and safety tours throughout our organisations.
Responsibility for the environment
VTT has ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality management systems in place, certified by DNV GL Business Assurance Finland Oy Ab.
VTT drew up an energy audit report for the Energy Agency, complete with site inspections of electricity consumption, in line with the Energy Efficiency Act. We consumed markedly more electricity in 2015 than in previous years. Half of this growth can be attributed to the fact that the Centre for Metrology and Accreditation merged with VTT in early 2015. There was also the increase in electricity consumption due to the start-up of the new Bioruukki research centre. Another explanation lies in the number of annual operating hours clocked up in intensive experimental environments; these hours are tied to certain research projects.
Travel continued to decline. Under 29 million flight kilometres accumulated. However, there was a slight rise in carbon dioxide emissions generated by flights. This increase may be due to the shorter distances travelled rather than a reduction in the number of journeys. Our continued success in reducing domestic travel was highly significant from the perspective of CO2 emissions. Slightly less use was made of personal cars, rental cars and VTT's cars than in the previous year.
The amount of paper purchased fell by almost 17%, totalling just over 8,410 reams. The previous fall in the number of printouts gave way to a rise of just over one percent from last year's minimal level. Due to moves between premises, significantly more white paper (55% more than in 2014) was disposed of as confidential waste than in previous years. Eco products account for over a quarter of purchase volumes of office equipment and almost 38% of unit volumes. Purchase volumes grew by 6.5 percentage points and unit volumes by 1.2 percentage points compared to the previous year.
Water monitoring of pumping wells – in accordance with the decontamination decision made by the Uusimaa T&E Centre – was begun due to soil decontamination following the Otaniemi oil spill. The measurement results were under the specified limits for all substances analysed.