HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch pitkä

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunches are concise lunchtime events where participants bring their own lunch box and gather to a seminar with presentations over topical research themes. The 20-30 minutes talks by the presenter will be followed by open discussion for about 30-40 minutes. The topic are related to five HELSUS research themes, or other relevant sustainability science topics. No advance registration is needed.

The programme for the autumn term 2018 will be published in August.

General information


HELSUS Hub at Porthania (2nd floor)
Yliopistonkatu 3


On Fridays at 11.30-12.30, tentatively once a month.


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Cooperatives and Sustainability - A Legal Perspective

Discussion on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused primarily on corporations, which are undeniably the most significant non-state market actors. There are, however, several other business forms, which also deserve attention and especially cooperatives have shown great potential as platforms for sustainable business operations.

The purpose of the cooperative is to promote the aggregate welfare of its members as consumers, providers and/or workers and simultaneously to carry concern for the community within which it operates. Therefore, one can argue that cooperatives, unlike corporations, truly support sustainable development and researchers should pay much more attention towards them.

The purpose of LL.D., Docent Ville Pönkä’s presentation is to introduce the cooperative form from a lawyer’s perspective and to describe how they differ from corporations. In addition he focuses on the question of how cooperatives facilitate sustainable development – in theory and practice. Pönkä’s presentation is based on his book chapter titled “The Cooperative as a Driver for Change”, which will be published later this year in the “Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability”.


LL.D., Docent of Civil Law and Commercial Law Ville Pönkä is a Senior Lecturer and a MDP Director at the UH’s Faculty of Law. Pönkä’s main fields of research include company law, cooperative law, contract law and arbitration. Pönkä has also a strong focus on sustainable development and currently he is studying the cooperative business form as a “driver for change”. Pönkä is a member of several international scholarly communities such as the European Corporate Governance Institute, the European Consortium for Political Research, the Nordic Company Law Network, the UK Society for Co-operative Studies – and the HELSUS.

About Arctic Dreams and Realities

HELSUS Brown Bag Lunch seminar series for spring 2018 is starting on Fri March 16th, at 11.30-12.30 o’clock in HELSUS Hub, Porthania 2nd floor!

The series begins with the presentation of the new HELSUS professor on Indigenous Sustainabilities, Reetta Toivanen, whose talk is titled ”About Arctic dreams and realities”. 

Join us for lively discussions and an opportunity to meet colleagues!


Reetta Toivanen (PhD 2000 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) has been just recently nominated as the professor of sustainability sciences (indigenous sustainabilities). She is the consortium leader of ALL-YOUTH research funded by the Strategic research council at the Academy of Finland and the vice-director of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie). She is docent in social and cultural anthropology at the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland and a non-resident research fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI). Outside of academia, she is the president of the Finnish Human Rights League and member of European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in respect of Finland. Her recent books include Towards Openly Multilingual Policies and Practices Assessing Minority Language Maintenance Across Europe, Multilingual Matters 2016 (written together with J. Laakson, S. Spiliopoulou-Åkermarkin & A. Sarhimaa,  and Linguistic Genocide or Superdiversity? Multilingual Matters 2016, (edited together with J. Saarikivi).

The new dynamics of deforestation in Brazil

In the second seminar Associate Professor Markus Kröger presents the current dynamics of deforestation, forest degradation, and sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different parts of Brazil. The focus is at presenting the findings from fresh field research in 2017-2018 on the different causes of rising deforestation in different regions. 

The example of the iconic Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in Acre illustrates the power of cattle-ranching as the key driver of deforestation, even inside conservation areas. The politics of the rapidly expanding "sustainable logging cooperatives" - which have serious impacts on forest degradation, and do not typically deliver their promises - in the multiple-use conservation areas of the Santarém region in Pará are discussed to illustrate how the powerful illegal loggers still operate and take over many developmental schemes.

Finally, the role of Finnish and Brazilian forestry industry in continuing deforestation and expansion of eucalyptus plantations through practices that include illegal land grabbing and violence in Bahia are discussed based on field research in the area since 2004. The politics that aim to create sustainable forest policies, and offer alternatives, are also discussed.


Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor and Docent in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, the focus area of the tenure track position being the study of the political economy of development and natural resource extraction. Most of his research has focused on investment politics around large-scale projects in the forestry and metal industries, including the study of state-corporate-civil society relations, particularly in South America and India. He is the author of Contentious Agency and Natural Resource Politics (2013), and has published several papers on the sustainability of forest and forestry policies in different countries.