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6.11.2023 10:55

Social Handprint: Ensuring everyone finds their place

The diversity of workplaces has become increasingly important in the world of work. According to Marko Palmgren, Social Handprint is an operational model that combines work and its participants. New solutions and innovations do not arise within organizations but between them.

The goal of the project led by Lapland University of Applied Sciences is for everyone to find their place in working life based on their skills and resources. Workplace diversity enhances the organization's creativity, financial profitability, and attractiveness as an employer.

Lapland's socially sustainable handprint model creates opportunities for the employment of those in disadvantaged positions, promotes the realization of corporate social responsibility, and supports workplaces in accepting diversity.

Measuring Social Sustainability

Social Economy combines social and economic sustainability without forgetting ecological sustainability. According to Marko Palmgren, a special expert working at Lapland University of Applied Sciences, social and ecological sustainability often go hand in hand when aiming for long-term economic sustainability.

- Strengthening the social handprint increases Lapland's well-being, vitality, security of supply, and self-sufficiency. In the project, the social handprint has been developed as a counterpart to the carbon footprint. The larger the social handprint, the more jobs, livelihoods, and well-being for the people of Lapland, Marko Palmgren explains.

As an example, one can use the straightforward comparison of potatoes: one can get potatoes from Poland at a low cost, but by investing a few extra cents per kilogram, we can generate tax revenues, jobs, livelihoods, well-being, and many other positive aspects in Lapland. Marko Palmgren also points out that the carbon footprint decreases when transportation distances are short.

Matching problem is one of the greatest challenges of the welfare society

In Lapland, there are more than 10,000 open job positions, but at the same time, there are 8,000 unemployed individuals. Among them are recent graduates, long-term unemployed, partially disabled individuals, immigrants, and those whose skills have become outdated in the fast-paced development. Employing those in a weak labour market position involves a wide range of challenges that cannot be solved by any one entity alone. According to Marko Palmgren, several measures are needed to tackle the problem from multiple angles simultaneously.

- The existing vast workforce potential should be better utilized than it is now, Marko Palmgren remarks.

The Lapland Social Handprint Network and project family seeks solutions to labour market matching problems. Together with multiple stakeholders, the network creates conditions for the employment of those in disadvantaged positions, improves the implementation of corporate social responsibility, and explores how to support workplaces in accepting diversity. A publication on the Lapland socially sustainable handprint operational model will soon be released in Lapland University of Applied Sciences publication series.

Socially Sustainable Handprint aims for a well-being brand that increases Lapland's attractiveness

The project's starting point is to keep Lapland vibrant and inhabited, including social sustainability as an organizational value. A unified vision has been created for how the region and industry can be developed fairly and sustainably, forming the basis for Social Economy. The realization of this model requires coordination and the commitment of stakeholders to practical implementation. Lapland is actively involved in European networks that utilize public economy models as part of the business community.

The goal of the Social Handprint project has been to build a close project family that constantly renews and evolves. The social handprint must be seen as a coordinated whole that does not collapse with the end of any single project but is a resource for further promoting equality," Marko Palmgren elucidates.

Change Is Action – IGNITION (SYTYTYS)

The project's culmination will be the SYTYTYS get-together event (working language Finnish) in Rovaniemi on November 30, 2023. The event is a charged explosion that reveals pearls and best practices of responsible development. The event combines phenomenon-based development and overcoming matching challenges.

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Marko Palmgren has a dream of an equal society and that the social footprint model rises to a national top innovation and to the national programs among the best practices.

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