Our choices are reflected in the Baltic Sea

In the summertime, we are all tempted to spend time by the water. If the sea is doing well, we will also feel good in its presence. Tuomas Åhlman, Business Manager at Fortum, tells us of their cooperation with the John Nurminen Foundation, and considers the everyday choices we can make that support the wellbeing of the Baltic Sea.

I am a child of the archipelago, and continue to spend a lot of time in the outer islands. The Baltic Sea is very familiar and dear to me.  Throughout the years, the status of the sea has turned for the worse in a way that has been easy to verify with one’s own eyes.

The status of the sea is visible in e.g. bladderwrack volumes, and whether the bladderwrack is clean, or covered in some kind of mush.  And if eutrophication has harmed bladderwrack, it has meant explosive growth for blue-green algae. Its impact is also evident in fish stocks. When I was a small boy, we could fish for flounder in the Baltic Sea: today that is only a dream.

A shared concern and responsibility

It is us, the people who live around the Baltic Sea, who have to make a change, as carrying on like before is no longer possible. We can all easily make choices that have an impact. Sorting waste is a familiar and increasingly common practice, in our summer houses as well as in our homes. One good example is reusing plastics instead of allowing them to burden the environment. In the seas, plastic waste is an enormous problem, but as a reused material, plastic is extremely durable and easily recyclable. At Fortum, we have a strong focus on circular economy, and reusing plastics and utilizing plastic as a source of energy are intrinsic to this approach.

Interest in solar energy is clearly growing. As a seller of electricity, we too want to be in the forefront of clean energy. This is why we have developed Solar Choice, where a share of the profit is directed to the John Nurminen Foundation. This cooperation feels very natural to us, and I am extremely grateful to see how well Solar Choice has been received. More and more consumers want to do good deeds, and are very proactive in their search for environmentally friendly alternatives.

Our everyday choices

The choices I make in my own day-to-day life are also carefully considered. I use clean electricity both in the city and at my summer cottage, and I move around mainly using public transportation or a bicycle. At the moment, I do not own a car. My diet is becoming more and more vegetable-based, and through our cooperation with the John Nurminen Foundation, I have become more aware of how greatly our diet impacts our Baltic Sea footprint. The nutrient load we generate is smaller when we swap meat and dairy for vegetables and sustainably fished Baltic Sea fish, for example.

Fortum encourages its employees, too, to make responsible choices. We have run e.g. commuting campaigns, where employees who leave their cars at home receive a free breakfast. Also, excellent premises for both storing their bicycles and taking a shower are available for cyclists.

We must do all we can for the Baltic Sea, and we cannot afford to tarry. At the same time as we slowly clean up the Baltic Sea, global warming accelerates eutrophication. In spite of this, we can still do so much good when we work together.


Tuomas Åhlman,
Business Manager, Fortum