Interview with the Secretary General of Finnish Olympic Committee, Ms. Taina Susiluoto
Today (11.5.2023) we had the pleasure of meeting with Taina Susiluoto, Secretary General of the Finnish Olympic Committee. We had the opportunity to interview her on several current world issues concerning the Olympics. We discussed human rights matters, sustainability ideas, and global warming. Her views on these matters were insightful and progressive. Taina’s background gives the Olympic committee a new perspective and way of thinking. She has a history of working in the government administration industry. Her previous work experience has given her many useful skills for her role as Secretary General of the Finnish Olympic Committee. She is skilled in Public Affairs, Change management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Innovation Management, and Governing.
This interview is part of LiiKe’s Sustainable Education action in www.suomiareena.fi. On 29th June at 10 AM at Puuvilla stage there will be a discussion about Sports and Sustainable Development and Taina Susiluoto is one of the panellists.
Question: In Tokyo, for the previous Olympic Games, there was a sustainability concept called “Be better, together – For the planet and the people”. How does it fit the Finnish Olympic Committee?
All of Finland’s sports communities are part of the 3000-year-old Olympic movement. The Olympic movement has always been able to adapt to the time. One of the biggest world issues currently is climate change. Taina talks about how the committee needs to consider this. We all need to do our part. The Olympic Committee is the biggest NGO movement in Finland, so they need to think about these things. It is great to know the committee is focusing on such important world problems.
Question: LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is indispensable for designing modern stadiums or other sports facilities. Have you seen this in Finland too?
Taina says that when building sports facilities in Finland they consider the four seasons. Not only the Olympic committee but all construction companies in Finland are constantly learning new ways of building things to last longer and be more energy efficient. Finland hosted the Olympics in 1952. Most of these facilities are still in use. This is because rather than building new facilities they repair the old ones. Finland could be a role model for other countries.
Question: While creating employment opportunities through sports, we also need to create a strong foundation of human rights too. How do you see the situation of employment and human rights in Finland?
Taina states that this is a world issue but in Finland, they think of sports like any other place of employment. There should be no discrimination about race, sex, or nationality. It is important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves. This is important as a basic human right but also because we need people to volunteer. There are many volunteer positions, and it is important that everyone feels welcome.
Question: Sports can encourage sustainable tourism and lifestyle as well as sustainable tourism products and services. Environmental education in sports is also very important. How does the Finnish Olympic committee make sure this happens also within its boundaries?
Taina believes that it is a team effort. She explains that it is important to utilise the best sports facilities around the world. For example, due to the low temperatures in Finland, it creates the perfect environment for winter sports. Finland has some impressive winter sports facilities that should be used. Then she talks about how other countries could then host some of the other sporting events in the Olympic games. This would be an excellent way to move towards being more sustainable.
The article is written by LiiKe’s TET-week students Claudia Triggs, Mohamed Al-Shehri and Tomas Racz. LiiKe sends its deepest thanks to the International School of Helsinki!