The family matriarch paved the way: Ahlström Collective Impact wants to spark change

@UNICEF/UN0339412/Dejongh

The goals set by Ahlström Collective Impact are high: through investments, the initiative aims to guarantee a better world for children. Ahlström Collective Impact is a unique initiative created to address the challenges sustainable development faces. The initiative is founded by Ahlström Network companies and foundations in strategic partnership with UNICEF.

 

Eva Ahlström, the matriarch who led the Ahlström family business at the turn of the 20th century, was known for her social responsibility. With her help, a shelter for the elderly and the Eva Ahlström Hospital were built in Noormarkku in Western Finland. The Ahlström family also supported, among other things, the construction of schools in the area.

Johannes Gullichsen, Chairman of the Board, Antti Ahlström Perilliset Oy, says: “For 170 years the Ahlström Family has acted according to the values of the founders of the Ahlström companies. Social and ecological responsibility as well as economic sustainability are high on our agenda. The Eva Ahlström Foundation has with its exemplary actions reconnected us with our values and proven to be an innovative force.”

 

Therefore, it is no surprise that the Ahlström Collective Impact, a collaborative project founded in August last year, was initiated by the Eva Ahlström Foundation. What makes the project special is that a group of companies come together to solve the challenges of sustainable development. The ambition is also high. The purpose is to make a strong impact through investments and create permanently better conditions for children.

“UNICEF is proven to make a difference”

UNICEF, with whom the Eva Ahlström Foundation has successfully collaborated for the past decade, was chosen as a strategic partner for the initiative that Antti Ahlström Perilliset and the Ahlström Network companies Ahlström Capital, Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Destia and Glaston have also joined.

“UNICEF works systematically for children's rights. The organization is reliable and is proven to make a difference,” says Tarja Takko, Executive Vice President, People and Safety at Ahlstrom-Munksjö. “Through strategic Corporate Social Responsibility, we are able to pursue both sustainable development and our business goals.”

Investments in responsibility also benefit business

Ahlström Capital's CEO Lasse Heinonen is pleased that so many companies have committed to the initiative.

“Ahlström Collective Impact is a project that benefits everyone. An investment in children is an investment in the future. We can achieve significant results when working together with different companies. Studies show that Corporate Social Responsibility also benefits businesses. I believe that the initiative will strengthen cooperation between the companies in the Ahlström Network.”

 

First investment contributed to the battle against COVID-19

The motivation of the members in the network is clear, as the first investment of €240,000 was made as soon as the initiative began.

“The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children is so significant that we unanimously decided to invest in the battle against it,” Tarja Takko says.

The donation came in handy. The pandemic has increased poverty, made access to food more difficult, reduced health services, and disrupted the education of tens of millions of children.

“Ahlström Collective Impact enables us to support children in accessing primary health care, education and safety in difficult circumstances,” says Nina Vähäpassi, Corporate Alliances Manager for UNICEF in Finland. She says that Ahlström Collective Impact, like other partners, receives regular updates on the impact of investments.

Businesses needed in solving the challenges of sustainable development

The balance of power has changed radically in the world and the influence of companies' economic value has increased. Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals also requires investments by companies. To promote children’s rights the solutions, skills, and perspectives that companies have are needed, says Nina Vähäpassi.

“Children's rights affect everyone. Companies need sustainable societies to ensure good operating environments.”

The initiative has evoked extremely positive reactions among company employees.

“I hope that our staff will be proud of what we have achieved through Ahlström Collective Impact,” says Lasse Heinonen of Ahlström Capital.

Nina Vähäpassi continues:

“Ahlström Collective Impact is a real pioneer. I would like to believe that this will inspire others as well. The world needs the hope that innovations like this create.”

 

Read more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals

 


Ahlström Collective Impact for World Children's Day 2020

Welcome to celebrate World Children’s Day with Ahlström Collective Impact!

This week, we celebrate World Children's Week and on November 20th the week's grand finale is the World Children's day! You have a unique opportunity to learn about child rights and why they matter.

Please take this inspiring possibility to learn why Ahlström Collective Impact (ACI) has decided to partner with UNICEF and how we in the Ahlström Network can make a difference - together!

Sit back, learn and maybe share your insights with your colleagues and the children dearest to you.

On behalf of Ahlström Collective Impact -Thank you for watching.

 


Sustainability with the Ahlström Collective Impact and UNICEF Finland

In Ahlström-Munksjö's podcast Maria Ahlström-Bondestam of the Eva Ahlström Foundation and Nina Vähäpassi from UNICEF Finland discuss the Ahlström Collective Impact (ACI) – a new initiative committed to creating change by investing in a better future for children. The podcast is the first of 5 series on sustainability by Ahlstrom-Munksjö.

Listen here


ACI Education

”I THOUGHT I WOULD LOSE OUT ON LEARNING”

The numbers are unprecedented, the implications enormous. Never have so many children – more than 1 billion - been out of school at the same time, disrupting learning and upending lives, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. To keep the world’s children learning, countries have been implementing remote education programmes. Yet many of the world’s children – particularly those in poorer households – do not have internet access, personal computers, TVs or even radio at home, amplifying the effects of existing learning inequalities.

UNICEF is working with partners to keep schools safe and students learning, in classrooms or at home, online and offline – wherever they are.

Even before COVID-19, millions of children in Syria were out of school or at risk of dropping out as the country entered its tenth year of conflict. The suspension of classes in spring as a precautionary measure, created further uncertainty for millions more children.

“I was shocked when I heard that [school] would be suspended. I thought I would lose out on learning again,” says 12-year-old Maram from her home in Ar-Raqqa.

Maram is using the Self-Learning Programme books she received to help keep her education on track. The UNICEF-supported Self Learning Program is designed to help children who dropped out of school or are in risk of dropping out.

“My mother offered to teach me at home using the self-learning books. Together we put a weekly study programme for all core subjects, such as Arabic, English, math and science and we have followed it since I stopped going to school
”, Maram tells.