07 March 2018

Achieving equality is hard work - Happy Women's Day!

Written by Matti Lievonen
Published in Blog posts under People, People

I learned just recently that the first scientist to recognize the greenhouse effect was an American woman called Eunice Newton Foote. An article she published in 1856 illustrated how increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also increases the atmospheric temperature. Eunice Foote therefore recognized a threat to the entire planet. Fighting off this threat is at the heart of Neste’s business.

Rather than Foote, however, it is an Irish scientist John Tyndall who is recognized as the founder of modern climate science. He published similar conclusions to Foote’s three years later. John Tyndall was a man. Eunice Newton Foote was a woman.

History has no shortage of examples like this where important achievements by women were overlooked or not taken seriously. But it is not just a historical matter. It still happens.

Genuine equality has hardly ever been achieved in any country yet, and maybe not in very many companies either. Neste intends to be a forerunner on this front as well. For us, this is above all a question of justice and values. But equality also has economic implications. History has shown that cultures, countries and companies that have recognized the equal status of every person, and their equal potential to contribute to society, have flourished faster than others.

Neste updated its own principles related to equality and non-discrimination at the end of 2016. Each year we have chosen a theme through which we focus on promoting equality. For 2017, our particular focus was on recruitment processes. In practice, it means that when there are two equally qualified candidates for a position, we select the person representing the minority in the profession in question. This is not discrimination against the majority – it is a question of developing our company’s culture and our capacity to operate successfully.

A survey commissioned from outside the company showed that gender does not affect career development in Neste, and that women and men get almost the same salary. But it would be wrong to rest on our laurels, as we have not yet achieved our goal. This work must continue.

We at Neste reject discrimination in all its forms, and are working to ensure equality in a variety of ways. Striving to create and maintain an equal working community is one of the things that will ensure the company’s continued success. Women’s Day also gives us the opportunity to acknowledge achievements, and to show appreciation for our colleagues regardless of gender. So I wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women!

Matti Lievonen, Neste
Matti Lievonen
President & CEO, Neste