Communicating actively about circular economy and energy recovery

Westenergy is a company that operates in circular economy and works as a link between municipal waste management and the energy sector. Both industries have changed drastically especially during the last decade, and Westenergy aims at informing people about this development. “We receive thousands of visitors every year to whom we tell not just about the operation of the company and the plant but also more widely about circular economy, energy production and the role of energy recovery in the society. A large part of the people visiting Westenergy are school children and students, and a visit to Westenergy has become a central part in energy and environment education in many schools in the operating area. A visit to us is an effective way to learn to understand where electricity and district heat come from and what happens to the waste.”, explains Westenergy’s Communications Officer Sanna Hautamaa who hosts most of the visitor groups. Last year some 2500 people visited Westenergy.

A visit to Westenergy has become a central part in energy and environment education in many schools in the operating area.

Plant visits form a central part of the company’s communications, but interest groups are contacted in many other ways as well. “We inform actively about current issues, provide content in social media channels and meet people at different events. Our Communications Officer Sanna shares interesting material in our social media channels and we have got more followers all the time. Last year we participated in, for instance, Circular Economy -theme week at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, Circular Economy seminar during EnergyWeek and Energy Day which is a meeting place for local companies and students at the University of Vaasa. Last year we also started updating the company image so, for instance, our website has been changed entirely. Active communications has been a central part of Westenergy’s operations since the company was founded, explains Riina Kivikangas who works as Quality & Communications Manager at Westenergy.

Every year students have written their diploma work or theses in different topics for Westenergy.

Co-operation with students is an important part of our community activity. “We offer summer jobs in production, maintenance and administration, and students have worked also as visit coordinators and have presented the company to visitor groups. The visit coordinators have been of great help especially during the busy months and at the same time, students have gained experience in giving presentations and have got to know a lot about circular economy and energy.”, Kivikangas continues. Westenergy offers summer jobs also for 16-18-year-old students and last year, three 16-year-old students were hired for the summer to take care of the vast green areas of the plant.

Every year students have written their diploma work or theses in different topics for Westenergy. Last year, the challenges and possibilities of the plant’s power increase were analysed in one of the theses. Here you can find information on the diploma work and theses written for Westenergy.

Westenergy & Interest Associations

Westenergy promotes the recognition and operation of the waste-to-energy sector in different organisations such as Finnish Energy and Suomen Kiertovoima (KIVO). Finnish Energy represents companies whose operation involves producing or selling district heating or cooling or services related to them; KIVO represents public waste management and municipal waste management companies. Westenergy is also a member in CEWEP (Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants) which is the European umbrella organisation for the owners and operators of Waste-to-Energy plants, and ISWA (The International Solid Waste Association) which promotes and develops professional waste management on an international level.

Westenergy is also a member in the 0 accidents forum, a network of workplaces, that shares good practices and aims at improving occupational health and safety.

Westenergy’s CEO Olli Alhoniemi is a member in VEBIC’s (Vaasa Business Innovation Centre) consultative steering group. The steering group provides support to the University of Vaasa and VEBIC, promoting cooperation and engaging the surrounding society in the operation and development of the university.