Meet the Board: Niina Bergring invests in the future of the earth

Niina Bergring is a retirement investor and an expert in sustainable investments. She joined the governing board of the Nessling Foundation in January 2017. She now explains what makes investing sustainable, why she considers herself an eternal optimist and how she remembers to make sustainable choices.

The article was first published in June, 2017. Our article series introduces the members of the governing board of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation. 

First of all, what does the governing board of the Nessling Foundation do?

“The board realises the will of the founder by the best means possible. Naturally, the foundation wouldn’t exist without some level of assets, and the board oversees the management of those assets in line with the purposes of the foundation. As the foundation does not have actual owners, the board has quite a vast responsibility. The foundation was established for an indefinite amount of time, and therefore, we must aim to continue the activities forever.”

What is your role in the governing board?

“My role is based on my 20 years of experience in the financial sector. I manage everything related to financial administration. In other words, I don’t represent the extensive scientific expertise also present at the Nessling Foundation.”

You are know as an expert of sustainable investments. Why is expertise in sustainable investments particularly important for the Nessling Foundation?

“In terms of the well-being of ecosystems and people, we must make sensible investment decisions that support the health of the entire planet in the long term. Sustainable investing means allocating capital sustainably, instead of shortsightedly or small-mindedly. As there are many factors to consider, sustainable investing is extremely difficult.

Sustainable investing is a growing trend, which is splendid. The financial sector is increasingly learning to consider the scientific side of environmental protection. Nessling Foundation has acted as a pioneer in increasing this awareness in Finland.”

When can an investment be considered sustainable?

“Generally speaking, you could say that an investment is sustainable when it at least doesn’t do a great deal of harm. The field of sustainable investing is still in its infancy, and we haven’t accumulated enough data to compare the sustainability of different companies. This task gets even harder if those companies operate in different sectors. You can be sustainable in many different ways. Sustainability starts with the value system, and there are many types of value systems. “

Promoting environmental protection can be frustrating. Where do you find the strength to continue this work in the long term?

“Just yesterday, I was watching a documentary on Swedish women who fought for and won their right to vote in 1919. I though about what an admirable effort it was; there was a clear injustice that they wanted to make right, and even though they were ridiculed and hated, they never gave up. They knew they were doing the right thing. Now, they are celebrated as heroes. 

Environmental protection has similar qualities. There are people who see that something’s not right, even if others don’t understand it. They believe in their cause and it helps them keep going. 

These days, it also feels like we’ve crossed some sort of a threshold when it comes to promoting sustainability. So many regular citizens have truly started to understand how important this is. The environmental movement can no longer be stopped, and that gives me my optimism.”

Closing words: what advice would you give people to make more sustainable choices for the environment?

“My favourite philosopher Baruch Spinoza said: “The greatest happiness in the world is to make others happy”. I always try to act accordingly.”

Get to know the other board members

Niina Bergring
Simo Honkanen
Timo Kairesalo
Johanna Kentala-Lehtonen
Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala
Pertti Lassila
Jari Niemelä
Tuula Varis