In June 2003, Nokia and WWF International signed a three-year agreement on global cooperation aimed at increasing environmental awareness among Nokia employees and promoting sustainable business practices in Nokia. Activities launched during the first year include the web-based learning platform Connect to Protect, management training workshops, stakeholder seminars, and involvement of Nokia employees in WWF activities through Helping Hands activities. The top management of the two organizations meet twice a year to review the cooperation.
Paul Steele, Chief Operating Officer of WWF International, says WWF seeks relationships with companies where a win-win agenda can be developed. "This is achieved in a relationship where we are working with the company to help it achieve its own objectives in terms of moving towards more sustainable practices. For our part, the resulting reduction of environmental impact and the increased conservation awareness helps us achieve our mission.”
According to Steele, WWF expects its corporate partners to challenge its conservation agenda by putting it to the test of the marketplace. WWF likes to work with companies that are in a leadership position in their business segments as this offers the opportunity of raising the bar and setting a standard for the rest of an industry. "In terms of Nokia management’s vision of how they want to see Nokia operate, it is in a leadership position. Bar-raising and standard-setting is a real possibility in this relationship.”
Steele believes the learning cooperation is helping Nokia gain broader stakeholder acceptance for its sustainability practices and that this will have a favorable business impact, too. "At the end of the day, we believe that putting in sustainable business practices over time will increase business and profits for Nokia.”
According to Steele, WWF’s side of the bargain is that the relationship helps reduce the environmental footprint of a major global company at the same time as building awareness of WWF. He stresses the importance of reaching out to the employees and commends the Connect to Protect intranet solution as an innovative way to engage employees.
"Most major companies want to be more sustainable in their business practices. They can make all sorts of business decisions, but where they struggle is making sure that all their employees are on board with what they’re trying to do. We think Nokia has taken a very innovative approach to doing this and we’re very pleased and very proud to be part of that process.”