An endowment from Wärtsilä for a professorship in sustainability law

Investing in regulatory research can promote a successful and competitive green transition for Finnish industry. To further this goal, Wärtsilä has decided to contribute to the Faculty of Law’s project to establish a professorship in sustainability law.

In accordance with its strategic plan, the University of Helsinki is currently strengthening education in sustainability science. Part of these efforts is a professorship project coordinated by the Faculty of Law, which aims to fund, with endowments, a five-year professorship in sustainability law. This professorship is to be established in 2024. The position focuses on the development of regulation pertaining to business operations as part of the sustainability transition.

The project will support the expertise of industry operators, law and audit firms, authorities and courts in sustainability and environmental law. Such research-based expertise is needed, for example, when managing the funding of significant investment projects and environmental permit matters in the industry, making decisions on these by interpreting the law, or reforming legislation.

Wärtsilä’s wish to promote these goals is why it is making a donation in support of the project. The role of sustainability regulation as a driver of the green transition is also significant in the energy and maritime sectors Wärtsilä represents.

“We believe investment in research and development is essential for the realisation of the green transition. Wärtsilä has a key role in the development of such research and expertise in Finland, and sustainability regulation significantly affects the green transition,” says Kari Hietanen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Legal Affairs at Wärtsilä.

The research to be conducted under the new professorship will promote responsible and sustainable business operations by anticipating the regulatory effects of the European Green Deal and providing information on the limits and opportunities of environmental regulation. The regulatory research in sustainability law in the professorship will include not only assessing legislation, but also analysing business self-regulation. Both perspectives are needed, for example, for reconciling new sustainability criteria for accounting and finance with business operations.

“Research in the field of sustainability law increases understanding of the need to reform environmental regulation, improving the international competitiveness of sustainable business operations in Finland. The green transition in the EU requires new, socially responsible business models that must be supported by effective regulation,” says Professor Kai Kokko.

In a concrete sense, research can facilitate, for example, environmental permit procedures. The green transition emphasises the need for international and EU-level regulatory research on the one hand and, on the other, for in-depth understanding of how environmental laws and regulations are applied in the practices of governmental and municipal authorities as well as courts.

The professorship will promote the University’s education collaboration with private and other public sector experts in corporate responsibility.

Contact details:

Kari Hietanen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Legal Affairs, Wärtsilä:, +358 10 709 5609

Kai Kokko, Professor, University of Helsinki:, +358 2941 22820