© UNICEF/UN0561629/Urdaneta

Ahlström Collective Impact (ACI) is an internationally recognized bold initiative, that through its partnership with UNICEF Finland, the UN organization for child rights, adds value to the purpose as well as business value to Ahlström network companies, while achieving significant change in the global society.

Ahlström Collective Impact unites public and private companies, foundations, shareholders and employees to act together with UNICEF Finland to support the realization of selected United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. During 2021 they are SDG 4,5 and 17 and the joint investments will be directed to UNICEF’s global education program, supporting SDG 4.

ACI to date consists of A.Ahlström, Ahlström Invest, Ahlstrom, Walter Ahlström Foundation, Destia, Detection Technology, Glaston, M&J Recycling, Avain Yhtiöt and Suominen Corporation as well as its initiator the Eva Ahlström Foundation in joint partnership with UNICEF Finland.

Vision

Our vision is a world in which societal problems are systematically being solved through strong collaborations, creating a better world for future generations.

Purpose

Our purpose is to, in partnership with UNICEF, inspire new types of mutually beneficial collaborations between businesses and their stakeholders in collectively channeling resources and know-how towards solving the most pressing challenges in today’s society.

Ahlström collective impact

Together we are stronger

Ahlström Collective Impact (ACI) is a responsibility initiative by The Eva Ahlström Foundation that joins together the foundation and the Ahlström Network companies A. Ahlström, Ahlström Invest, Ahlstrom, Destia, Detection Technology, Glaston, Suominen and Walter Ahlström Foundation. Ahlström Collective Impact is committed to creating change by investing in a better future for children in joint partnership with UNICEF Finland.

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve health and equality as well as provide good education and access to clean water for everyone by 2030. In order to achieve this we must change our way of thinking and acting, as well as how we treat each other. We need to start seeing the world and its resources through a new, gender-neutral lens. If we want to eradicate poverty and inequality – the two major causes of terrorism, conflicts and migration – we must change together, and together change our society and our world from scratch.

All partners in Ahlström Collective Impact have committed to a long-term partnership with UNICEF Finland. The ACI is managed and coordinated by a steering committee, consisting of 1 member per company/organisation and UNICEF. The ACI team selects common long-term and strategic SDG goals to work with during the following years. The partnership also aims to engage employees of the companies in support for the work for children’s rights worldwide.

Read about our background
Collaboration with UNICEF

World Children's Day

Ahlström Collective Impact celebrates World Children’s Day together with UNICEF Finland. United Nations’ World Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote children’s rights and welfare. Ahlström Collective Impact joins forces with UNICEF Finland to raise awareness about the well-being of the new generations as part of the World Children’s Day celebrations.

Watch the video to learn more about Ahlström Collective Impact and child rights.

 

Read more about the ACI and World Children's Day

Global education program

Our impact for children 2022

In 2022, the global education landscape saw a shift from an emergency state towards recovery as nationwide school closures were lifted, allowing in-person learning to resume worldwide. Nevertheless, the adverse effects of these closures on children’s well-being, including health, nutrition, mental health, and protection against various challenges, persisted, with marginalized groups like girls, children with disabilities, and minorities bearing the brunt. Multiple conflicts and emergencies further complicated the educational journey. UNICEF, in collaboration with partners, continued its mission to provide quality education services in challenging circumstances. Despite substantial efforts, learning poverty continued to increase, with over two-thirds of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries unable to read. UNICEF allocated significant funds to address this crisis, including education in emergencies. The commitment of partners like Ahlström Collective Impact allowed UNICEF to reach millions of children and support their growth and development.

Education’s critical role in reducing inequality, poverty, and societal stability was emphasized, as it contributes to sustainable development and lifelong learning skills. UNICEF focused on helping children return to school and improve foundational skills, working closely with governments to enhance education systems, promote inclusion, and gender equity. UNICEF’s dedicated efforts in 2022 aimed to equip children with skills for life, work, and learning, with a workforce deployed to regions, countries, and remote areas where needs are greatest. Ahlström Collective Impact provided significant support to UNICEF’s Global Education Program in 2022. This report summarizes UNICEF’s collaborative efforts in 2022 to advance children’s education.

Global education program

Our impact for children 2021

The pandemic brought education systems across the world to a halt, with school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion learners at its peak, including 167 million younger children who lost access to early childhood education. Learning losses are substantial, with the most marginalized children and youth disproportionately affected.

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt education for millions of children. Education plays a key role in reducing inequality, cutting poverty rates, and strengthening societal stability. It contributes to a better society and sustainable development. Without skills for a lifelong learning and active citizenship, children face greater barriers for earning potential and employment later in life.

UNICEF works around the world to support quality learning for every child. UNICEF’s aim is to ensure that every child and adolescent has access to school and quality learning.

In 2021 Ahlström Collective Impact supported UNICEF’s Global Education Program adn could therefore help to offer thousands of children around the world:

  • An equitable access to quality education.
  • Improved learning outcomes.
  • Skills development for knowledge and skills to face an ever-changing world.

This report summarizes some of the key results on how UNICEF together with its partners, worked for children’s education in 2021.

Response to covid-19

Our impact for children in 2020

These young girls are practicing safe handwashing in Odisha, India as part of UNICEF’s work against COVID-19. Last year Ahlström Collective Impact focused on supporting children’s wellbeing and health during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the investment of 240 000 euro, UNICEF could, for example, 

  • provide 50 healthcare facilities with supplies of water and sanitation equipment in Nepal, and 
  • provide 125 000 school children with access to remote learning programs when schools were disrupted in Guinea-Bissau, and 
  • reach 1 million people with urgent health and hygiene messaging through social media in Costa Rica. 

Disruptions to society caused by the pandemic have had a heavy impact on children: on their safety, their well-being, and their future. As these services were compromised, UNICEF took action to prevent this health crisis turning into a child rights crisis. 

Read the summaryUNICEF response to covid 19Suomen UNICEFin koronanvastainen työ
Engaging employees

ACI Ambassadors

The Ahlström Collective Impact Ambassador program is an opportunity for all employees and shareholders within the Ahlström Network to contribute to the selected United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by driving and implementing ACI related initiatives and events locally. Ambassadors are chosen from the respective ACI companies. The  full Ambassador Group meets a few times/year to discuss upcoming events and uses LinkedIn as its internal communications channel.

“I see our work very much as our great-great-grandparents Antti and Eva Ahlström did in the nineteenth century - we are investing in the future of society. Our ROI is a safe child who grows up to become a responsible adult who can contribute to the community. This supports the Ahlström family values of ambition and responsibility. The ambition is to be the best version of ourselves within a society that has given us so much.”
— Maria Ahlström-Bondestam, Honorary Chair of the Eva Ahlström Foundation & Chair of Ahlström Collective Impact
“As a family owned investment company Ahlström Capital develops its portfolio companies with a sustainable long-term approach. We are committed to promoting responsible business practices and to support the societies that enable our business today and in the future. ACI is a unique collaboration platform for AC Network companies and the Eva Ahlström Foundation. Together we can make a greater impact. We want to encourage all our portfolio companies to join this movement.”
— Lasse Heinonen, CEO at Ahlström Capital
"A world leader in innovative fiber-based specialty materials, Ahlstrom has impressive science capabilities, a global footprint and agile assets. We are passionate about combining fibers into high-performance materials and known for our ability to partner with customers to co-create breakthrough solutions that meet their needs, while helping to protect people and the planet. ACI serves as a unique collaboration platform, magnifying our potential for impact. Together, we can achieve greater outcomes, advancing our shared vision for a better world for future generations.”
— Helent Mets, President and CEO at Ahlstrom
“Ahlström family through Antti Ahlström Perilliset Oy is very happy and proud to see how the family legacy in social responsibility and sustainable thinking lives strongly even today. Eva Ahlström Foundation’s bold initiative Ahlström Collective Impact enables in amazing and new-thinking way our businesses to be part of this journey. This initiative helps us in a new and effective way to reach our vision “A better world for future generations.”
— Anne Karell, Director, Head of Family Functions, A. Ahlström Oy
“At Destia, we design, build and maintain power lines, roads, bridges, tracks and bus stops that enable smooth trips to school, and parks where you can take a break to play and dream. We have thus played a role in making Finland the happiest country in the world. Our operations have a significant and long-term impact on the society, the environment and our stakeholders, and we believe that a sustainable future requires a global outlook. As a founding member of Ahlström Collective Impact, we can have a larger impact on the future of the world and particularly on children's well-being and education globally through UNICEF than what we could on our own."
— Tero Kiviniemi, CEO at Destia
“Enics is making an impact on the World, every day. As a major player in the industrial electronics manufacturing service field, Enics sees sustainability as one of the foundations of the development and the growth of the company – towards its customers, employees, partners, the entire electronics industry ecosystem, as well as the World we live in. True change is never built alone, but it takes a team. With ACI, Enics is a part of a true change-making community that has both vision, will and abilities to build a better future.”
— Susanna Kohisevankoski, Chief People and Culture Officer at Enics
“We are the most trusted partner imaging the unknown, and we take responsibility for the impact we have on society and the environment. As a company and as individuals, we believe that sustainable growth is the only option in terms of long-term success. We see sustainability as a continuous journey shaping our joint future for the common good. With UNICEF and ACI, we have an international network of true change-makers who believe in power of collaboration and has passion and courage to spark changes in global societies for future generations.”
- Hannu Martola, President and CEO at Detection Technology
“Sustainability is at the core of Glaston’s strategy, and we want to be involved in developing sustainable societies of the future. Being a responsible member of society is one of our four sustainability focus areas, and we seek to make a positive contribution to the communities where we operate. The ACI cooperation and joining forces with the Ahlström network companies is strongly aligned with Glaston’s value ‘Together we build the future’ and is an innovative and impactful way to contribute to a better tomorrow for children.”
—  Päivi Lindqvist, CFO & sponsor of the cornerstone initiative Elevate sustainability at Glaston
"Sustainability is at the core of Suominen's operations and we are driving for a sustainable future. Being a good corporate citizen is one focus area in our sustainability agenda. We recognize our responsibility to the society and environment and want to make a positive impact locally and globally. With ACI we are part of a community supporting the important work of UNICEF."
— Klaus Korhonen, SVP, HR & Legal at Suominen
“Ahlström Collective Impact inspires people to focus on good universal values, which will lead to good business values. The ACI model is good for the environment and specifically for children globally. The best effect can be received if other companies would copy this model. If everybody would do the same thing, it would have a global impact and do a lot of good. “
—  Peter Seligson, Chair of A. Ahlström Oy
“Walter Ahlström, my great grandmother’s elder brother, very early on understood the significance of research for the development of a young nation and its industrial competitiveness.  He founded the Walter Ahlström Foundation in 1926 to support young engineers in their graduate training. Joining the ACI initiative and supporting global education is a natural continuation of his work."
— Markku Wilenius, Chair of the Walter Ahlström Foundation
“M&J Recycling is among the leading global green-tech companies within waste recycling and our industrial waste shredders help companies around the world contribute to a greener and more sustainable future by utilizing the full potential of the planet’s resources. The world’s children are the future citizens that can make this happen and education of children is crucial to secure a global movement for a sustainable and circular future. That’s why we are so thrilled to join the Ahlström Collective Impact and to support UNICEF to make a much greater impact together.”
— Uffe Hansen, CEO of M&J Recycling.
“We are extremely excited about this new, collective way of collaboration for achieving a better world. The private sector has a huge role in the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ahlström Collective Impact brings together Finnish companies to collaborate for sustainability and a better future for children. It is a great example of new thinking that is needed in these times. We hope this partnership will inspire others also in the global level.“
— Marja-Riitta Ketola, secretary-general at UNICEF Finland