10 October 2018

Thanks to these female pioneers, our planet may not drown in plastic after all

To celebrate International Day of the Girl, held on October 11th

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published their new landmark report on Monday 8th October. According to the report, urgent and unprecedented actions against climate change need to be accelerated in order to prevent global temperatures from rising to an unsustainable level. 

The dramatic message from the IPCC will make many people anxious. Some people will choose not to listen. For others, however, this report will be the driver to develop new sustainable solutions, or to make new responsible choices in life. The opportunity to make the planet a better place for our children and their children is also a driver for me as a mother of two, and I know it is a driver for many other women and men working at Neste.

It is clear that in order to limit climate change and to promote an efficient circular economy, the help of everyone in society is needed. To celebrate International Day of the Girl, held on October 11th I want to tell you about one girl and two women who inspire me. 

The fact that plastic waste is increasingly impacting nature, both on land and sea, is now clearly seen as a severe environmental issue. This young lady and two women have taken action to awaken discussion around the topic, and to find solutions. 

When 12-year-old Anna Du heard that the location of up to 99% of the plastic in oceans is not tracked, she did not sit back and wait for someone else to do something. She acted herself. The sixth-grader living in Massachusetts, U.S, designed and built a robot capable of tracking microplastics underwater with the use of infrared light. 

A new lifestyle called Zero Waste, is spreading among individual consumers. Lauren Singer has lived a Zero Waste lifestyle for six years, and this has included her producing her own cosmetics and buying her groceries package-free. Singer decided to transform her lifestyle when she was 21 years old and studying environmental sciences at NYU, New York. Since then, she has helped others around her make the move to a Zero Waste lifestyle.  

At Neste, there are many women who have dreamt about a career in solving environmental challenges. They have applied to study environmental sciences or chemical engineering, among other majors. One of these women is Outi Teräs, who is in charge of Neste’s development project for turning plastic waste into valuable raw material for fuels and new plastics. 

The stories behind Du, Singer and Teräs show us that anyone can participate in solving the greatest challenges of our time with passion, determination and the right education. At Neste, we want to encourage all girls and women to pursue studies in natural sciences, chemistry and technology. These fields are at the core of developing new innovations that can save the environment. Every girl can change the world!

Kaisa Lipponen, Communications Director, Neste
Kaisa Lipponen