For a Finnish company like ATA Gears, many issues regarding the three main pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental responsibility – are usually taken for granted due to the legislation. We adhere to uphold general good business ethics and regulations and also the UN Rights of the Child, Human Rights and Employee Rights – issues that are not necessarily respected everywhere in the world. “But sustainability is yet a lot more, a highly complex issue and you need be developing your skills constantly,” declares ATA Gears’ Managing Director Hanna Miettinen.
ATA Gears is happy to sustain long-term customer relationships, which means that the entire chain of operation is very open and that the customers support ATA in ensuring that openness. “We act according to a very strong code of ethics and require the same of our partners. All ATA’s suppliers are committed to not sourcing materials from countries where there is conflict. Only western steel is used to make sure that it is of ethical origin. And this is further guaranteed by audits,” Hanna Miettinen summarizes her company’s principles.
All employees are created equal
For many years, ATA Gears has had an equality plan in place for women and men. This governs the entire employment relationship from the point of view of equality. Women make up almost 15% of the ATA Gears workforce – including a female CEO. Labour immigration to ATA Gears is a new phenomenon, but is set to increase. This is partly because, like so many other engineering companies, ATA Gears is also faced with the European-wide problem of a shortage of machinists. For instance in the greater Tampere area, more machinists are retiring than there are new ones in training, which simply means that employees need to be recruited elsewhere. Hanna Miettinen wishes that the younger generation in particular, and those responsible for educating them, would take a good look at what work in a modern engineering workshop is really like: a clean working environment where most of the work is actually coding and requires mathematical aptitude.
And ATA Gears promises to ensure equal opportunities and implement a non-discrimination principle when hiring new employees. “Diversity in our employees’ background, talent, education and experience are greatly appreciated. We tolerate no discrimination in any form whatsoever,” Hanna Miettinen says emphatically. And the hiring process is off to a good start. The first machinist specifically recruited from abroad joined the ATA workforce already over a year ago, followed in May by two more.
Safety is everybody’s business
In ATA, as in any industrial environment, much of the employee wellbeing effort goes into creating a safe workplace. In practice this means constant alertness and maintaining a daily focus on small things. ATA has achieved a lot in this field, one example being restarting the old and once forgotten practice of regular safety walks. All in all, safety, like the other forms of responsibility mean ‘walk the talk’ for ATA Gears to make sustainability really what it means, not just a word but a lasting way of life.