Caring for nature is done in many different forms and scales. The Turku Association for Nature Conservation is one of several local groups. Major issues in the Turku region include the health of the Archipelago Sea and other bodies of water. The work grows constantly in order for nature to be as healthy as possible.

The Turku association is a local branch of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and is responsible for maintaining biodiversity and monitoring the state of the environment locally. The association is closely involved in projects and activities that impact nature to ensure that environmental values are taken into consideration. 

Even small acts can produce meaningful results

The association’s chair Katja Samsten is one of the people working actively for the good of the environment. She says that in addition to its day-to-day work, the association is a great way for citizens to get involved in conservation work.

“We support the work of the environmental administration by providing expert services and a way for citizens to have a voice in environmental issues,” she says.

Although the association’s work also includes more large-scale projects, it is a great way for citizens to make a difference. Samsten says that anyone can get involved in the work for the good of the environment.

“Joining a conservation group is a great way to support efforts to support biodiversity, but even small actions can have a major positive effect.

She points out that everything we do impacts the health of the natural environment.

“Good ways to help nature include choosing organic products and environmentally friendly cleaning agents, and planting pollinator-friendly plants in your garden,” says Samsten.

In other words, helping nature is possible no matter your situation in life, and everyone can get involved in their own way.

The association is involved in a wide range of activities, such as coordinating projects that are under planning. According to Samsten, environmental issues are considered together in the projects, and forward thinking plays a significant role. Opinions and notes are shared in both directions.

“We promote biodiversity through both habitat management projects and, importantly, by influencing land use planning already at the stage when the plans are expected to cause potential disruptions and damage to nature,” says Samsten.

Preventing invasive species – a race against time

One threat to biodiversity are quickly spreading, invasive species. Invasive species disrupt the balance of the ecosystem formed in Finland after the last ice age. They impact populations, food networks and take over habitats from indigenous species.

The impact of invasive species on nature may be surprisingly large. When species disappear, the process accelerates and causes a domino effect on dozens more species. The impacts of species becoming extinct can be significant and harm other species, too, humans included. The effects may be negative on human health, the economy and food production, for example.

In 2021, OP Turun Seutu made a donation to local nature conservation groups. In the Turku Association for Nature Conservation, a significant part of the funds was used to publish an information booklet on invasive species.

“We could not have been able to design and print the factsheet without the donation,” says the association’s chair Samsten.

Published in print and digitally, the association hopes that the booklet reaches as many people as possible so that threats to biodiversity can be prevented.

Support for local work

Local nature conservation efforts are hugely significant for entire communities.

Before the donation, OP Turun Seutu surveyed its customers to ask for opinions on where the bank should direct its sustainability work. Mari Boman-Lassander, Marketing and Communications Manager of OP Turun Seutu, says that to the delight of everyone, the bank’s owner-customers voted to support efforts to help nature and biodiversity.

Following the survey, the bank made donations to six local branches of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Each association received 1,000 euros for their work to promote biodiversity.

In the past, OP Turun Seutu has supported marine and archipelago conservation efforts in the Turku region. The bank has been a corporate member of the Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association for years and, for the past few years, the main partner in the Ainutlaatuinen Saaristomeri (Unique Archipelago Sea) project.

“Caring for the sea and our beautiful archipelago is important to us already because of our location,” says Boman-Lassander.

More is being done for the good of nature thanks to the Good Deeds Across Time campaign to involve owner-customers in sustainability work.

The first Good Deeds Across Time survey was carried out in 2021, and Boman-Lassander says she is pleased with the results. The survey will be organised again in autumn 2022, which Boman-Lassander sees as a positive. In the survey, owner-customers have the chance to influence their bank’s sustainability efforts. The survey helps us carry out our mission to promote the safety and wellbeing of our business environment together with our customers.

We make a real difference by carrying out corporate responsibility actions chosen by our owner-customers. Let us know what corporate responsibility actions you’d like us to carry out. Take the Good Deeds Across Time survey between 19 September and 9 October 2022

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