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Tuoteturvallisuusosaston päällikkö Eeva Punta

Environmental responsibility and social sustainability important in business – new safety services for industrial clients

Just under a year ago, Sweco expanded its range of product, chemical and environmental safety services when 17 experts from Linnunmaa joined the group. Industry requires an increasingly holistic approach to responsible safety management.

The founder of Linnunmaa and head of Sweco’s product safety department, Eeva Punta, is in charge of the consultancy and legal services for industrial clients in product, chemical and food safety. She has spent her entire career working with safety matters.

“Before founding Linnunmaa, I worked in the forestry sector for 17 years in various roles connected to quality, the environment and communications. After that, I was an entrepreneur and held administrative roles for 15 years. I often end up working in projects requiring extensive business experience and an understanding of a client’s industry”, says Punta.

From the beginning of December, all the industrial product safety and environmental services will be run from Joensuu, while Punta will start managing the environmental consulting services for industry. “Help for industry in matters pertaining to the environment, chemicals, food and legal affairs can all be found in Joensuu.”

A mixture of skills in engineering, law and science

Sweco’s role as Finland’s leading expert in increasing safety is ever stronger now that it employs – in addition to engineers – lawyers and scientists who are needed in projects. Together, they provide the clients with more comprehensive expertise.

“In chemical safety projects, we consultants need help from chemical engineers and process design professionals, and this is one of Sweco’s strengths. Together, we can find the best solutions”, Punta says with satisfaction.

Synergy benefits can also be utilised in environmental consulting. “Sweco employs several biologists who can conduct the nature surveys and write the reports required by consultation projects flexibly within the same company.”

The merger with Sweco has opened the door for Linnunmaa to join increasingly large international projects. “Sweco has offices in many countries, and our colleagues elsewhere can provide local support to our clients’ export projects,’ says Punta. She herself has already visited Sweden, Denmark and Belgium, among others. ‘We have been treated equally well everywhere we have been.”

All projects promote either circular economy or sustainable development

Typical projects for Punta’s team entail managing environmental permit applications, safety data sheets and REACH registration processes, which are connected to chemical safety.

“I am particularly fascinated by the due diligence processes, which require extensive knowledge from lawyers, scientists and engineers”, Punta says. ‘Together, we evaluate an entity’s sustainability when it comes to the environment, safety, workplace health and safety and social responsibility.”

Punta cannot recall a single industrial safety consultation project that was not connected to circular economy or sustainable development. In addition to that, the area of food safety is becoming increasingly important.

“We help our clients construct food safety systems that comply with international standards. In order to achieve the necessary changes, staff must be trained and operating models updated.”

The implementation of biocide legislation advanced through cooperation

Currently, one of the most interesting topics is the application of biocide legislation. “EU legislation is still relatively new, and the administrative procedures have not yet become uniformly established. That is why we must invent new approaches for each biocide project and seek suitable operating methods together with our clients and the authorities”, says Punta excitedly.

You also hear a lot of talk about the impact of social sustainability and acceptability on a company’s value. “These also apply to the environmental and safety aspects of an operation, and they must be achieved, one way or another, in order for a business to become successful”, Punta explains.

The new and ambitious European Commission is also emphasising the importance of operating responsibly. “If Europe is to be led in the direction preferred by the Commission, someone must help businesses implement the decisions regarding safety, health and the climate. The demand for our services will only increase.”

“Sweco is a forerunner in the field of overall safety in built environments, and our extensive knowledge base is there to be utilised by our partners. Product safety will enhance our ability to promote an increasingly safe industrial sector, society and living environments”, says Sanna-Maria Järvensivu, Head of Safety Department at Sweco.