In developing social responsibility, our goal is to continuously improve the well-being of our staff, the working conditions of the people who work in our supply chain and the safety of our products. Our key focus areas for social responsibility for the next few years are as follows:
Occupational safety and well-being at work
The development of occupational safety and wellbeing-at-work is essential for successful operations. Our work is guided by our Code of Conduct, according to which we always comply with local legislation and regulations and aim to create well-being for all of our stakeholders. We pay particular attention to human rights issues and working conditions in our supply chain.
Highly competent and motivated personnel
Committed and enthusiastic employees are a key resource for Berner Ltd.
We invest in management development through various programmes and continuous training.
Age-related management practices
Through age-related management practices, we aim to find solutions that enhance the cooperation and interaction between people of different ages. We provide training on this theme to increase the understanding of management-level staff of the significance of age in different life stages and in working life. Management practices are approached from three points of view: Berner young, Berner middle-aged and Berner senior.
Berner employees who are 36 years old or younger are considered young employees.
Objectives of the work:
- to increase human capital by employing young and educated staff
- to ensure that the young professionals remain at the company
- to develop and improve the youth management and guidance skills of managerial staff
- to make sure that young people find Berner appealing as an employer
- focus areas include management and competence development
Objectives of the work:
- to ensure well-being at work and maintain job satisfaction
- to identify needs related to competencies and the factors that contribute to work motivation
- focus on management and competence development as well as maintaining a healthy balance between work and free time
Objectives of the work:
- Ensure coping with the demands of work, maintain good work ability and performance through systematic age management
- When employees turn 55, they have a career discussion with their supervisor and join the senior program
- The personalized work ability program and making a commitment to it also entitle the employee to senior leave
Staying fit for work keeps Berner employees at the company well beyond retirement age
Veteran employees of the Farmer’s Berner business unit, Lasse Matikainen and Pertti Tamminen retired relatively late. They were fit enough for work to allow them to extend their careers well beyond the normal retirement age. When they finally retired in late 2017, Lasse was 68 years of age and Pertti was 71.
Tamminen, who spent his career as a salesman for agricultural plant protection products, first delayed his retirement until the age of 68. His enthusiasm for his job soon saw him return to work, and he stayed on as account manager for three more years. Tamminen believes his ability to keep working as long as he did was the result of looking after his health and fitness. Berner supported this in many ways, including the provision of ePassi benefits for sports and other recreational activities. As his employer, Berner has also paid for fitness tests over the years as well as participation fees for the Finlandia Ski Marathon. Tamminen is also an active orienteer and swimmer as well as the chairman of the Somero chapter of the Finnish Pensioners’ Federation. He says the main reason he wanted to stay on in his full-time job is the fun and relaxed workplace culture at Berner, which is built around the right combination of responsibility and freedom.
“The Berner senior program has been a mental incentive and company’s statement of respect for senior employees and their work. The senior program also helps younger employees to understand, that older colleagues have a lot of tacit knowledge to transform for the work community. You also need to take care of yourself. Sports, culture and social relationships are very important in life,” says Pertti.
Another senior employee known for his long career at Berner and late retirement is Lasse Matikainen. Passionate about agriculture, he spent his entire 44-year career at Berner. While that career has now officially ended, he still lives and breathes agriculture. Now a pensioner, he looks after the farm he once inherited. During his long career as a marketing manager, Matikainen not only developed his professional competence and witnessed the evolution of agriculture from a unique perspective, but he also saw the role Berner took on in providing a comprehensive range of occupational health services. At his farewell party, a visibly moved Matikainen urged his colleagues to appreciate the good care they receive as Berner employees.
“Already when I was working, I used to do forest work during weekends. Now I have a lot more time for that. I also like to ski, go to the gym and swimming. When you have been taking good care of your condition and health all your career, you have the energy also for retirement days,” says Lasse.
An attractive and inspiring workplace
Our goal is to be an interesting employer and an attractive workplace. T-Media has conducted a reputational survey to assess the public perception of Berner Ltd’s reputation since 2016. According to the results of the survey, the average perception of our employer image is fairly good. Our goal is to improve our reputation as an employer from one year to the next by developing our interaction and stakeholder engagement.
Move to a new multipurpose office
Our new head office was completed in Helsinki’s Herttoniemi district in summer 2017. Approximately 200 employees from our various offices in Helsinki relocated to the new office.
Berner Ltd’s head office was located in Eteläranta in Helsinki since the company was established in 1883. In 1883, Sören Berner made his way from Stavanger in Norway to Helsinki’s market square harbor to investigate market opportunities. The company’s first office was subsequently opened at that same location. As the company outgrew its premises in Eteläranta, a modern multipurpose office was renovated for the company in Helsinki’s Herttoniemi district.
The design of the new office takes into account the diverse needs of today’s work. The office includes meeting areas, a café, a library section for quiet concentration and various other facilities for individual work as well as projects. Berner Ltd’s product development laboratory is also located at the same address. The multipurpose office was designed in collaboration with Berner by KVA Architects.
“Through a participatory development process, the solution we decided on for Berner’s new premises was a mobile multipurpose office. The employees can work anywhere in the building, at a workstation of their choice or even in the workplace café,” says Eija Niemelä, Senior Consultant, Workplace Design and Management at KVA Architects.
The aim of the new premises is to improve employee satisfaction while strengthening shared operating models and the Berner identity. Employee surveys conducted after the move have indicated that our employees are very satisfied with the changes.
The renewal of working methods and workplace culture is a key strategic project
The relocation and the new office represent one step in a broader project aimed at the renewal of Berner’s workplace culture. We began the development of working methods in collaboration with our personnel well before the actual move. We used workshops and interviews to define new common practices for how we work. For example, we revised the company’s remote working practices and decided on the principles governing mobile work and the use of our office premises.
Training and instructions for performing and managing mobile work were provided throughout the course of the change project. The success of the development efforts has been monitored and measured after the relocation, and survey results indicate that the new practices have been very enthusiastically received by employees.
New Berner Inno training launched
In autumn 2017, we joined forces with the Helsinki Apprenticeship Office and the training service provider Verutum to organize innovation training geared towards a specialist qualification in service and product development. The focus of the training program was on the creation of new business opportunities, commercialization and process development. The training focuses on customer-driven product and service design methods and the development of new service models. The selection of trainees was based on an open application procedure, with 20 enthusiastic Berner employees selected for the program. The training will be completed in early 2019.
Berner Ltd as an employer in 2017
Average number of personnel 2017
Employment relationships valid until further notice
New employment relationships total
Departure turnover rate of personnel
New employment relationships
Number of new employment relationships valid until further notice20
New fixed-term employment relationships11
Part-time child care leave9
Other part-time work5
Age of retirement64 y
Years of service
Berner took part in the Innovate or die competition
Berner participated in Innovate or die, an innovation competition for students in higher education that gives teams of students from different fields the task of creating new solutions and ideas for real-life implementation by the participating companies.
The first Innovate or die was held in 2013, building on the foundations laid by its predecessor, the Idis-kisa competition. Tiimiakatemia, the entrepreneurship-oriented centre of excellence under the School of Business at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, has played a significant role in the evolution and international growth of the event.
For students, Innovate or die provides opportunities for earning credits and networking: in some cases, cooperation between the student teams and the participating businesses can continue beyond the competition. This year’s event featured teams from universities and universities of applied sciences across Finland. The record-high number of participating businesses included Berner as well as Alko, Atria and Neste, to mention but a few.
“It is important for us to network with students and make better use of their knowledge and skills related to new methods and digital tools. The competition gave us access to the new generation’s external perspective on our operations and branding,” says Pauliina Bovellan, Head of Division, Berner Pro, who was in charge of organizing the competition’s theme and brief for Berner.
The competition was held in the form of a 24-hour event at Himos Areena. Before the actual event, the student teams were provided with some advance information on Berner as a company as well as hints on what business area the competition brief was related to.
“Berner Pro’s Cleanliness business had a suitable challenge related to the digital transformation of cleaning, which we decided to present to the students. We were pleased to see the student teams come up with a wide range of ideas despite the fact that almost none of the participants had any personal experience of the cleaning business. All of the proposals we received had potential for practical implementation, but we had to choose one winner. We are enthusiastic about the new idea and we will start developing it more this coming spring,” says Product Manager Terhi Salo.
Partnerships and sponsorships
Berner Ltd engages in long-term cooperation with selected partners and strives to be an active and responsible member of society.
Each year, we cooperate with a variety of projects and associations. Supporting the well-being of children and young people is particularly important for us. In 2017, we supported the Fuel for Life program of Save the Children Finland by donating EUR 30,000. The program supports the school attendance and hobbies of children at risk of social exclusion. The program’s support is directed at children whose opportunities to remain in school or participate in leisure activities is jeopardized due to their family having limited means or other social problems.
Supporting health and sports
We have supported Finland’s Veterans’ Federation and Mannerheim Cross of Liberty bearers for several years. We work with the Finnish Heart Association to increase awareness of the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. We are a supporting member of the Finnish Pain Association.
We have also provided extensive support to sports through partnerships with the Finnish Tennis Federation, Finnish Bandy Federation, Finnish Gymnastics Federation and the Finnish Floorball League. We also support the events organized by the Finnish Handicapped Sports and Exercise Association VAU.
Our brands are also active in providing support in areas including children’s health and youth employment. We participate in numerous events by donating products.
Our Baltic Sea commitment to the BSAG
We participate in environmental conservation efforts in various ways, including product innovations that benefit the Baltic Sea and by making donations. Our Baltic Sea friendly GreenCare Ympäristön Ystävä garden fertilizer was developed in cooperation with Soilfood, the Baltic Sea Action Group and the S Group. To support protection of the Baltic Sea, for every Ympäristön Ystävä product sold 50 cents will be donated to the Baltic Sea Action Group. Berner Ltd also remains committed to studying and developing the possibilities for recycling nutrients more extensively, both in home gardening and in the agriculture sector.