Meet the Board: Simo Honkanen believes fuels represent both the problem and the solution in environmental protection

The work of Simo Honkanen, SVP of Sustainability and Public Affairs at Neste, includes monitoring the field of environmental protection and research. Honkanen has also been a member of the Nessling Foundation’s governing board since the beginning of the year. Honkanen now explains how energy companies, fuels and environmental protection go hand in hand.

The article was first published in February 2018. Our article series introduces the members of the governing board of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation.

Simo Honkanen, how did you end up in the governing board of the Nessling Foundation?

“My work has various points of contact with the operations of the foundation. My work involves monitoring the same topics around which the foundation’s activities are focused: How to offer a better environment for the next generations? What is the role of the industry in this change? The foundation is a significant Finnish operator in environmental protection and offers an important perspective into the research of the field. I was very glad when the foundation contacted me and was pleased to join the governing board.”

What is your role in the governing board?

“I am involved in the usual activities of the board, in other words making decisions on operational policies, for example. Corporations and various public operators, such as foundations and the scientific community, work increasingly together when aiming to make their operations as impactful as possible. I hope that I can do my part in promoting the impact of the foundation’s operations by introducing the perspective of an international industrial company in the board’s work. In addition to cities and the scientific community, sustainable businesses now play a major role in environmental protection.”

What does your work at Neste entail?

“Neste is the largest company producing renewable fuels out of waste and residue raw materials in the world. I am in charge of sustainability and public affairs in the company. My work includes monitoring the requirements and expectations set for us and other companies in the industry by consumers and legislators. I also analyse the impact of energy companies and other multinational companies on solving climate-related and environmental problems. Moreover, I discuss these topics with various organizations and interest groups.”

Final, burning question: how do fuels and solving environmental problems fit together?

“Reconsidering your habits and choices is vitally important. At a global scale, we also need other, more extensive solutions. Sustainable businesses play a crucial role in their development.

We need climate solutions now. Traffic is a particularly major climate challenge and we need various solutions for reducing traffic emissions quickly. The share of electricity as a source of energy for traffic will increase in the future, particularly in urban and passenger car traffic. At the same time, electric solutions are not as viable for heavy traffic, and there are no new energy solutions on the horizon for air traffic. That is why we need renewable fuels that offer a quick and effective solution.

Biofuels made of residue raw materials and animal fat waste are one of our solutions. They represent a cost-effective circular economy and can be used to cut back CO2 emissions in traffic by up to 90%.”

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