NEWS Sustainability requires actions: Glasshouse Helsinki & Ilmarinen uniting forcesBy Jani Niipola on March 29, 2021Glasshouse Helsinki and Ilmarinen as the property owner are uniting forces to build a new type of concept store on Aleksanterinkatu in the center of Helsinki. Glasshouse Helsinki as an incubator and Ilmarinen as Finland’s largest private earnings-related pension insurance company are both planning to do great things for sustainability – also beyond the Aleksanterinkatu location.We talked to Liina Aulin, Ilmarinen’s Executive Vice President of Communications and Corporate Responsibility Ilmarinen about the company’s mission, sustainability and development of Helsinki.“Sustainability requires actions.” How did it all start? Glasshouse Helsinki had a previous project on Aleksanterinkatu in Ilmarinen’s premises in 2020. According to Liina Aulin and Letting Manager Ville Laurila the success of the previous collaboration, Lokal Kansallissali, inspired Ilmarinen to suggest taking on the current project.It was a step up – or a step over Aleksanterikatu – for Glasshouse Helsinki. The new location is historically imporant building that once hosted Finland’s first department store. “The situation was that the traditional department store had ceased operations at this building. There was a search for a new operator that would be modern and could bring new energy to the city center by also reacting to the change in customer behaviour”, says Liina Aulin. “Energy” and “lively city center” are not just buzzwords. For Ilmarinen it is important to focus on the continuous development of the Helsinki city center. “A city is in the state of constant change. The customer behaviour keeps evolving. We want to be engaged in these changes for the long haul.” Liina Aulin also notes that as a pension insurance company it is Ilmarinen’s responsibility to invest in long-term development. With e-commerce gaining popularity, the city center needs completely new type of services and Ilmarinen has been developing and investing in these in other locations before.Glasshouse Helsinki has a strong emphasis on sustainability. Naturally, this is a common agenda between the two companies. “Glasshouse Helsinki is reacting to the changes in customer behavior from the point of view of sustainability. For this location we are please to have found a partner that can take on the challenge”, Liina Aulin says.Sustainable investing is becoming more and more popular. By one United Nations’ definition the term ‘sustainable development’ means “satisfying the needs of the current world population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.It is safe to say that a large pension insurance company has an important role in sustainable development on the global scale. From Ilmarinen’s point of view the key is to invest in companies that find solutions instead of creating problems. Ilmarinen has set an ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality in investing the pension assets by 2035.When multiple companies start thinking this way, the global impact is greater and greater by every action.The key word is action and Ilmarinen is going beyond thinking and talking about sustainability. The project with Glasshouse Helsinki is one example of action. As Ilmarinen’s Executive Vice President of Communications and Corporate Responsibility Liina Aulin is just the right person to ask about the role of communications in the sustainability movement.