Big Business in Oulu UAS

We are all familiar with the common saying, which instructs to ”hide one’s light under a bushel”. Finns, in particular, have adopted the advice more than well, and usually do not make too much fuss about one’s (personal/professional, big/small) accomplishments or good fortune. In fact, it is claimed that poor communication and marketing have been our Achilles heel for ages, and gradually we are trying to outgrow of the legacy in order to be taken even more seriously as true Europeans and, at least, as better talkers than our beloved neighbours in the West. This text is also a step towards that proud-wise direction.

You see, in Oulu University of Applied sciences (Oulu UAS) something remarkable took place in the very first week of April that calls for a recognition in black and white. Our environmental work was externally audited by Inspecta (http://www.inspecta.com/en/), whose consultant assessed whether the schools of Business and Information Management (aka Liike), Social and Health Care (Sote) and Renewable Natural Resources (Luova), and Department of Energy Technology (located in the School of Engineering) complied with the demands of ISO14001 environmental standard and operated as stated in their environmental programmes.

External audits are carefully planned and a lot of preparation takes place before the actual day. Documents and instructions are updated (i.e. not written for the first time!), staff and students are properly informed and processes are studied in relation to the goals and objectives elaborated in the programmes. Now you begin to wonder, what is the outstanding part in all this? Well, the results our schools received are worthwhile mentioning: First of all, each passed the rigorous inspection. Liike, Sote and Luova renewed their certifications. In the Department of Energy Technology, a newcomer in the ISO-world, there were pretty excited people on the A-day. But all went well, and we are happy to welcome the staff and students of the department to ISO-family of Oulu UAS. 🙂

The auditor provides two-level feedback: instant observations are given at the end of the day, and later, a written report is sent. When having the feedback discussion in Luova on Thursday afternoon that week the auditor was particularly impressed with our internal environmental audit procedure that is carried out without any help of the consultants. I recall him describing the procedure systematic, efficient and exact. He defined the environmental work of Oulu UAS well organised and successful, and wished to use our example as a reference when auditing elsewhere. And this, my friend, is the remarkable emphasis that deserves mentioning. To receive such explicit acknowledgement from auditors does not take place often, and certainly not always.

We, the SD team of Oulu UAS, are of course tremendously happy about the results. Many thanks to all taken part in the audits, and warm compliments to our SD key persons in Liike, Luova, Sote and in the Department of Energy Technology.

Outi Virkkula
SD co-ordinator in Oulu UAS

P.S. Big = ISO in Finnish.
P.P.S. http://www.oamk.fi/tietoa_oamkista/kestava_kehitys/sustainable_development/