29 March 2016

Cannot be copied

Matti Lievonen, Neste

Finland and Neste in a hundred years

A journalist for Helsingin Sanomat, the largest daily newspaper in Finland, asked me an interesting question in early 2016: "What will Finland and Neste look like in a hundred years from now?"

When we think about the future, it’s easy to think that the differences from the present are the key things. What new methods of travel, communication or learning will we discover? How will we resolve energy and environmental issues?

However, historians know that it is not necessarily culminations but continuums that are the key aspect in development.

Neste is absolutely a trailblazer in renewable fuels at the global level. Significant investments and the world's largest renewable diesel refineries are commonly seen as the cornerstones of our leadership, but I do not share this view. At least not in the longer term, say 100 years from now.

It is not a question of us producing more and better renewable fuel than others. Everything tangible can be copied.

It is a question of unique expertise with regard to raw materials, sustainability and the supply chain. We do not sell tons to our customers; we sell reduced emissions. And to be very precise, it is fundamentally a question of values.

Neste's values tell us that our real journey is only beginning. Based on our values, which emphasize sustainability and innovation, we have already challenged the conventional operating methods of the industry and even our old home field, the oil industry based on fossil feedstocks.

We also want to reform other industries in the same way, such as the production of plastics and the chemical industry. If toys and paints, for example, are produced from renewable raw materials in the future, we can say that we have succeeded in building solutions based on our values and expertise. These solutions are better for people, society and the environment.  

No company is too big or successful to not have to view the changing world with an open mind and connect itself to positive changes rather than impeding progress that is negative to itself. So, when an oil company cannibalizes its own core business with renewable products, this is not a conflict but a case of going forward.

When the company has strong values, expertise and vision, it is possible to build the future for the next 100 years on them. Therefore, Neste is not actually an oil company, but a company in which approximately 5,000 people look forward and create responsible choices every day.

So, when entire cities adopt renewable fuel and our planes take off using kerosene produced from waste, it is not a question of technology. It is a question of values. It is a question of going forward.   

I recommend the same attitude to all of Finland. As Finland celebrates its centenary, our journey is only about to begin.

 

Matti Lievonen, Neste
Matti Lievonen
President & CEO, Neste