Back 18.03.2019

Paula Tommila Starts as Senior Advisor

Sustainable business consulting in the emerging markets is one of the growing business areas of Gaia. Population growth, urbanization and climate change are paramount challenges and require quick scale up of sustainable solutions to generation of income opportunities, clean energy, water, food and safe infrastructure. Design of business models, fostering new partnerships and development of financing instruments to fuel sustainable business in emerging markets has been an area of focus for Gaia, and, with this partnership between Paula Tommila and Gaia, we aim to have a better service capacity in Africa.

Paula starts as a Senior Advisor as of 1 April, 2019. The partnership looks to serve a growing number of corporations and international organisations, and particularly focuses on emerging markets. Through the Senior Advisor arrangement Paula and Gaia will cater existing and new clients, proactively develop new assignments and, implement projects together.

“This arrangement is a very opportune way of continuing to work together”, says Ulla Heinonen, Managing Director of Gaia. “Paula has spent significant time in many African countries, developed expertise and a network among NGOs, companies and international organisations, and has a profound interest to focus on assignments related to sustainable business and development cooperation in emerging markets. This matches perfectly well with Gaia’s global experience and unique capacity in innovative solutions for sustainability. The arrangement also enables efficient services to areas where Gaia could not work without Paula or her network”, says Ulla.

“There are a number or areas where we can focus, and together seek growth”, says Paula. “Impact investment, blended finance, circular economy and supply chains of natural resources are examples of areas where we have unique expertise to offer to e.g. international development organisations, development finance institutions and businesses keen to grow their operations in emerging markets” she continues.

The importance of supporting sustainable business in emerging markets is many-fold. International organisations active in Africa are adapting to the new challenges. While structural poverty alleviation and humanitarian aid are still much needed in parts of the continent, many of the African countries are witnessing fast economic growth. International finance institutions and development cooperation organisations must change their way of making business and design support mechanisms that create stronger benefits to society through measurable, lasting impacts.

Secondly, early-stage financing and supporting growth for business solutions for sustainability are areas of high interest for Gaia and our clients. Entrepreneurship, functioning business models and adopting technology which meets the growing needs of growing population are critical tools to reach these solutions. Design of partnerships between European companies with local corporations is a massive area of opportunity – both for local and European companies – and a growing area of work for Gaia.

Thirdly, stronger collaboration between the civil society and private sector is needed to generate sustainable businesses in emerging markets. Making better use of the expertise of the civil society on the ground would often strengthen businesses’ sustainability and impact, while the principles of business initiatives should be fully understood by participating NGOs to allow fruitful partnerships. This requires interpreting between the needs and expectations of the two sectors.

Consultancy for Sustainable Business. Collaboration for Lasting Impacts.