Meet the Board: Aquarelle painting gave the experienced Investment Strategist Pertti Lassila a new sense for nature

Pertti Lassila has 25 years of experience in investment activities. Each year, Lassila becomes more and more interested in environmental matters. On the Governing Board, he acts as an expert in responsible investment. His interest in nature also manifests itself through art – Lassila tells us why aquarelle painting is particularly suitable for depicting nature.

Pertti Lassila, you are the most recent newcomer to the Governing Board of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation. Why did you decide to join the Board?

“I started at the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation in late 2020. The Foundation carries out very significant work in matters that are important to me so I was very grateful to accept the Board membership. Furthermore, in the Foundation’s activities, I can combine my professional expertise and my passion for nature and the environment, which grows deeper every year.”

You work as an Investment Strategist at Keva, Finland’s largest pension insurance company. How have you been able to use your expertise in the Governing Board of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation?

“I have 25 years of expertise in the financial sector, the last 15 years in long-term pension investment. In principle, the Foundation’s timespan is eternal so my investment philosophy and experience serve the Foundation’s needs well.”

Lately, public discussion about responsible investment has increased. Why is an understanding of investing important also in the environmental sector?

“As a rule, I think investing and a good control of finances are important civic skills. In the environmental sector, understanding the investor’s point of view is particularly important when applying for funding. How do I market the idea so that I get investors involved – and make sure they stay so?

Investors have already started to understand that ensuring responsibility is to the greatest extent part of risk management, without necessarily jeopardising revenue. Responsible investment methods are still quite inadequate and their development requires a lot of multidisciplinary expertise. In ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) matters, there are innumerable shades of grey.

The fight against climate change and for biodiversity requires each and everyone’s input, from both the private and the public sector, for decades to come. The constantly lurking climate anxiety can be fought with ─ in addition to your own choices ─ by trying to shift the focus to the opportunities offered.”

What makes the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation special?

“I find it great to see what a pioneer the Foundation has been in climate and environmental matters ─ I warmly recommend reading the Foundation’s history! Its operations are very professional and open-minded: a good example of this is the brilliant Puistokatu 4 project. In addition, the Foundation’s administration and committees have an enormous amount of expertise from various fields of science.”

You are also an aquarelle painter focusing especially on nature and animals. How would you like to depict nature?

“For me, nature is the primary and endless source of inspiration and painting has kind of given me a new sense ─ nowadays I observe nature with a completely different level of intensity and sensitivity than I did before. Aquarelle painting offers an opportunity of spontaneous interpretation, which is well suited to depicting nature. Even familiar sceneries are in a constant change as light and seasons change. International exhibitions and networking have been very rewarding and in the aquarelle scene, you really do not need to preach about environmental issues. Respecting nature is in an aquarelle painter’s DNA!”

Pertti Lassila: Unari V (2020)

Get to know the other board members

Niina Bergring
Simo Honkanen
Timo Kairesalo
Johanna Kentala-Lehtonen
Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala
Pertti Lassila
Jari Niemelä
Niko Soininen
Ilari E. Sääksjärvi
Tuula Varis