There was some positive hustle and bustle in Teknos premises in Finland in April, when Little Entrepreneurs audited the premises Rajamäki and Pitäjänmäki. Little Entrepreneurs is an entrepreneurial education program for primary school classes, in which the class can participate in. At the end of the program, children set up and run their own 2-4 person business.
Teknos has supported the Little Entrepreneurs for a few years in Finland, and this year we wanted include a sustainability angle to the cooperation. As we all know sustainability is today a strategic initiative in Teknos revised strategy.
“We wanted to encourage the children to think about how sustainability can affect a company's operations. At the same time, we wanted to stir up the sustainability discussion among our own staff. We were sure that the young generation might give us all fresh thoughts in this matter. Further, we also hoped that children would learn more about sustainability themselves”, says Communications Specialist Janike Mäkelä.
During the short audit, the children familiarized themselves with Teknos operations and the paint manufacturing process. After the introduction and instructions the children went off to audit the Teknos offices, laboratory, personnel restaurant and Gallus training center.
The tasks required a little bit of detective work and a sharp eye. Also courage was needed to answer some of the questions as not everything could be observed with the eyes – instead the children needed to ask the personnel. The audit focused on issues such as safety, well-being at work and environmental issues.
"What is a defibrillator?”, some little auditors asked. For others it was clear that a vegetarian meal is better for our planet and thus Teknos was given points for that there is a vegetable option available at the staff restaurant every day. In addition to answering the audit questionnaire, the children also learned how certain things - such as remote work - are linked to sustainability.
At the end of the day, the young entrepreneurs gave feedback and also a list of improvement suggestions for Teknos.
“Absolutely the best feedback we received was when asked if it had been a nice day - in addition to the children, both Teknos and the Little Entrepreneurs’ staff said it had been the nicest school / working day for a long time”, Janike laughs.
Teknos will of course go through the improvement ideas and make a list of “to do” actions.
“The children raised small issues related to both safety and the environment. Our aim is to tackle these issues. For example, we have planned to create recycling floor plans for our locations in Finland. This way it is easier for the personnel to know where to recycle everything. Also, we will go through if we need more fist aid instructions etc. in our premises. The disposable coffee cups is further something the children pointed out – and would need actions!
“Of course, we also report the results to the participating schools. In this way, the children know that their input has actually lead to actions and that their contribution has been valuable, ”Janike points out.
• Little Entrepreneurs is a part of Junior Achievement Organization. It is a free entrepreneurship is an education program children in the 4-6th grade, where children learn about entrepreneurship and set up their own small business in groups of 2 to 4 people.
• Includes 30,000 children and over 400 schools in Finland
• Teknos has collaborated with Little Entrepreneurs since 2017. Collaborating with Little Entrepreneurs is a part of Teknos CSR program and Future generations focus area.