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OECD selects 35 pioneers in corporate responsibility – student-owned Ylva is the only Finnish company among multinational giants

Ylva, a multi-industry company focused on real estate and financial investments along with hotel and restaurant sectors, has received significant international recognition for its responsibility work. Ylva, which is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, joins OECD’s new B4IG (Business 4 Inclusive Growth) coalition as the only Finnish company. The B4IG corporations are pioneering work for a more responsible and inclusive market economy. French President Emmanuel Macron will meet the CEOs of Ylva and other B4IG companies on Friday, August 23 at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

The OECD-backed B4IG collaboration brings together 35 multinational companies to build a more equal and inclusive market economy. The purpose of the initiative, which will be officially launched at the French G7 meeting on 24-26 August is to provide a platform for growth and cooperation that will enable selected companies to expand their sustainability projects and increase their social impact beyond their own operations.

B4IG companies include large and well-known international groups such as Danone, Accenture and Renault, with significant social and economic footprints. The companies have a combined turnover of more than USD 1 trillion and employ over 3 million people globally. The only Finnish company to join the coalition is Ylva, whose business focuses on finance and real estate development, as well as the hospitality industry.

“We are proud to be among such important business influencers. With over 150 years of history, perseverance and responsibility are our core values. New forms of digital economics, growing urbanization, and the threats we face due to the climate crisis are a challenge to the future development of our wellbeing on a global scale. We at Ylva believe that the private sector plays a significant role in the way societies together with public sector actors will respond to these challenges and threats,” says Antti Kerppola, CEO of Ylva.

In recent years, Ylva has become known for ambitious initiatives in responsibility. The B4IG collaboration has highlighted, as an example, Ylva’s Lyyra construction project, which will have a special emphasis on the rights and status of foreign construction workers and their inclusion and social influence. The Lyyra building is also a pioneer from an environmental point of view: during construction, circular economy solutions will be emphasized, and the building’s energy consumption combined with access by public transport will support the creation of a carbon-neutral Helsinki. The quest for equality is also reflected in UniCafe restaurants, where Ylva’s goal is to make sustainable choices easy and affordable for everyone.

CSR work takes Ylva to the Élysée Palace

The host of the G7 Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron has invited the CEOs of B4IGs to attend an event at the Élysée in the afternoon of Friday 23 August. The event begins with the opening remarks of the President, after which the participants discuss the B4IG initiative. Ylva’s CEO Antti Kerppola will also attend the event.

“For us, this is a great demonstration that even a smaller company can, through ambitious responsibility work, grow its size and influence in the international arena. To us, the B4IG coalition is an act of bringing us closer to an inclusive and fair future that gives us the best tools to tackle the issues lying ahead. We join B4IG for its power in building that future – because the best solutions arise from collaboration and information sharing,” says Kerppola.

B4IG companies are committed to promoting the principles of social and economic equality and inclusion both within their own businesses and internationally. The OECD’s support, the Joint Economic Forum and the project-oriented breeding ground will help to expand successful practices and create humanly sustainable economic growth.

Read more about the Ylva’s earmarked projects here.

Additional Information:

Antti Kerppola, CEO
tel. +358 45 353 2187

Jannica Aalto, Marketing and Communications Director
tel. +358 45 134 7636


Ylva’s objective is to build an international and sustainable city of science and economy. Our business operations are focused on real estate and financial investments, along with the accommodation and restaurant business. We are owned by the students of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. Ylva’s turnover in 2018 was €33.5 million and operating result €5.5 million. Until 20 March 2019, Ylva was known as HYY Group.