How businesses should prepare for the low carbon future? - Interview with Jukka Ryhänen
Jukka Ryhänen is the founder of Combient Pure as well as the CEO of Combient in Finland. In this blog post Jukka shares valuable insights on how businesses are moving towards a low-carbon future.
Introducing Jukka Ryhänen
Jukka has an unique perspective both in industry and tech and how these businesses and their operating environment have changed over time. We talked with Jukka about his views on the current climate discourse and how businesses should navigate to stay on course and succeed in their low carbon transition.
Before starting in his role as CEO of Combient in Finland, Jukka worked in leadership positions in global software and service business companies. His roles included both executive and board positions.
What are the most interesting changes you have observed when it comes to sustainability and business?
Today, more than ever, the necessity of low-carbon business development is undeniable. Even in times of economic downturn, corporations need to adapt to and embrace this paradigm shift, not just for its environmental benefits, but also because it's emerging as a vital aspect of smart, sustainable, and profitable business strategy.
A considerable part of this drive towards low-carbon business comes from increasing client and investor pressure. Consumers are progressively becoming more aware and proactive about climate change, and they're demanding products and services that align with their values. They're turning to businesses that show commitment towards a healthier planet, making sustainability a unique selling point that cannot be overlooked.
Similarly, investors are starting to understand that climate change presents financial risks. They're increasingly applying pressure on businesses to transition to low-carbon operations, not only to mitigate these risks but also to seize the opportunities that this transition provides.
As you are the man behind the creation of Combient Pure, can you tell us a little bit more about Pure’s background - why was it founded?
Combient network companies are mostly large industrial companies and the vast majority of their emissions, around 90 % are indirect (Scope 3) emissions that are generated in the companies’ value chains. To respond to the climate crisis, tackling these emissions is critical, but at the same time from a company perspective they are often the most challenging ones to influence. Reducing Scope 3 emissions requires value chain wide collaboration and transformative change; new operational processes, technologies and business models. Combient Pure was founded as a tool for our network companies to work thru these issues in a collaborative manner.
Combient is all about accelerating business transformation and improving competitiveness by fostering collaboration, sharing best practices and learning from other industry leaders so it is an environment perfectly suited for solving also the low carbon issues.
How would you describe the current climate discourse and which issues do you find most pressing at the moment?
To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, a threshold set by the Paris Agreement, significant investment and action are required. According to the European Investment Bank, Europe needs approximately €1 trillion per year in environmental investments to meet these targets. This investment must be directed towards low-carbon technologies, infrastructure renewal, and innovative startups that are eager to make a difference.
This is not just a pressing environmental need; it's a crucial economic one as well. A transition to a low-carbon economy offers countless opportunities for job creation, economic growth, and business innovation, thereby stimulating the economy even during downturns.
Government policies play a vital role in stimulating low-carbon business development. Policies such as carbon pricing, subsidies for renewable energy, and stricter emission standards can incentivize businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
Environmental stability is a fundamental criterion for investment decisions. Industrial investments typically need to operate for more than 30 years so an unstable environment poses significant risks for businesses. Conversely, a stable, low-carbon environment creates favorable conditions for long-term investments, helping businesses to grow sustainably.
What advice or inspirational cases would you like to share for business leaders looking to accelerate their low-carbon transition?
Low carbon transformation requires businesses to take an ecosystem view and use customer needs as a starting point for innovation. It is crucial to understand customers' value drivers and make sure your value proposition builds on them.
A great example of this is Epiroc who offers machinery to the mining industry. They succeeded in electrifying their mining equipment by looking at the total cost of ownership for their clients. A part of the solution was a clever change in the business model where they were able to lower the purchase price of the electric vehicles by offering the batteries as a service while selling the vehicle frame as a traditional capex investment.
Epiroc also understood that venting the mines, partly due to the exhaust fumes from diesel engines, is a costly process for their clients. By eliminating the exhaust fumes from the mines with their electric fleet Epiroc was able to indirectly cut their customers overall operating costs significantly so their current product line is truly a win-win proposition
Another inspiring example is LKAB who has systematically invested in low-carbon innovation and succeeded in creating new growth business from their side streams. This has been a dedicated long term effort between LKAB and their value chain partners calling for new ways of working and looking beyond the then current offerings of the companies.
Any last key takeaways to add?
In conclusion I would say that the transition to a low-carbon economy is more than an environmental imperative—it's a new way of doing business. Companies that fail to adapt risk becoming obsolete, while those that embrace this change can unlock a wealth of opportunities.
The call to action is clear: businesses must reduce their carbon footprint, driven by the twin engines of consumer and investor demand. With the right investments, supportive policies, and innovative thinking, the journey towards a sustainable, low-carbon future can not only preserve our planet but also stimulate economic growth and open new avenues for businesses to flourish
Make sure to check out Jukka’s favorite blog The Innovator. The Innovator presents digital transformation experts, insights on how startups are changing business and exploring where business connects with tech.