29.6.2021 Article

What do Paulig and Wärtsilä company have in common? Internationality, long heritage and focus on sustainability, for starters. But they still aren’t a likely pair for collaboration, which is exactly why they partnered up for the World Expo in Dubai.  

Imagine a visitor walking through the Finnish Pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai in October 2021. Suddenly, she recognises the unmistakable smell of fresh coffee and inhales in delight.  

When she then exhales, she releases particles of the world’s most talked-about compound – CO2 – in the air. In the well-ventilated space, they travel quickly. Some of them end up in the proximity of Wärtsilä’s part of the pavilion, where there is a Power-to-X demonstration unit.  

The unit runs on renewable electricity and uses that power to capture those CO2 particles. Simultaneously, water is being split into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. Then the fresh oxygen is being released back into the air while the carbon particle from the CO2 and hydrogen from the water are combined to create synthetic methane. Fuel. 

Beside the unit, there is a coffee machine with a small engine powered by this fuel. The visitor smiles and makes her way to the coffee machine. So, that’s where the smell was coming from.  

The coffee is courtesy of Paulig: responsibly sourced beans roasted to perfection at Paulig’s carbon-neutral factory in Helsinki, now being transformed into a delicious drink with that trademark smell. 

This is how Wärtsilä and Paulig transformed the seemingly mundane routine into a system illustrating two powerful and very Finnish things: well-served coffee and ground-breaking new technology. 

Serving as an example 

World Expo is a large international exhibition where different nations of the world gather together to showcase their innovations and achievements, and learn from each other. World Expo 2020 Dubai was pushed forward from its original date and will now be held between October 2021 and March 2022. The Expo’s theme focuses on creating sustainable solutions to global problems. 

According to Atte Palomäki, Wärtsilä’s Executive Vice President Communications, Branding & Marketing, the company is always happy to participate in building Finland’s visibility and brand abroad – and world expos are a great opportunity to do so. 

Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. When the company was looking for a way to demonstrate how its tools and technology are helping on the path to a decarbonised world already today. Wärtsilä wanted to showcase Power-to-X technology in a concrete way to the expo visitors, and therefore suggesting a partnership to Paulig was a natural move. 

“We have many things in common. For example, both Paulig and Wärtsilä were founded in the 19th century Finland with roots deep in the Finnish society. Today, both of them are strong, well-known brands and large, global players in their respective industries,” he says.  

Atte Palomäki highlights that Paulig and Wärtsilä aren’t collaborating simply to create a surprise element but to work as role models in this “era of collaboration” we are living in.  

The other reason for Wärtsilä to participate in the expo as an official partner of the Finnish Pavilion is, of course, to message wider audiences about the smart and sustainable technologies of the future that are already available. Wärtsilä’s Power-to-X demo unit is a result of another partnership with two Finnish technology start-up companies, Soletair Power and Q Power, showcasing another great example of collaboration and the innovative capability of Finland. 

Led by Business Finland, approximately 100 Finnish companies are participating in the expo. 

Curiosity facilitates cross-pollination 

One of Paulig’s three values is Stay Curious – seek for new innovations, discover new tastes, challenge and question, and be interested in the surrounding world. In this spirit, Paulig was delighted to explore a partnership with Wärtsilä. 

Paulig’s SVP, Communications & Sustainability Kaisa Lipponen believes that unlikely partnerships that foster serendipity and increase cross-pollination can lead to learning experiences that could otherwise go missed. 

“Paulig and Wärtsilä come from completely different industries – one is a strong B2B technology company and the other is a consumer brand house. We can definitely learn from each other about how our stakeholders think, what our customers expect and how value is generated. It will be interesting to expose Wärtsilä’s technology expertise and Paulig’s brand competencies to each other and see what happens,” she says. 

Most importantly, however, Paulig and Wärtsilä share values – particularly when it comes to sustainability. Wärtsilä’s purpose is enabling sustainable societies with smart technology, and Paulig’s objective is to become a sustainability frontrunner in the food and beverage industry. For example, 100% of Paulig’s coffee is already sustainably sourced and Vuosaari coffee roastery in Finland is carbon neutral.  

“We have set very ambitious climate targets and our aim is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations by 80% and from our value chain by 50% by 2030 from 2018 baseline. Therefore, we are very interested in new solutions and future technologies which will help reducing the emissions”, Kaisa continues. 

Imagining a future together 

With their open-ended call, ‘Imagine a world where…’ Wärtsilä joins the World Expo to encourage individuals and organisations to imagine a new kind of world with a more sustainable future. Besides imagining, it’s essential that everyone takes an active role to realise those dreams – being part of the change they’d like to see in the world, for example through innovation and new collaboration. 

And that’s what Wärtsilä’s endeavours are all about; with the existing technology, we can easily imagine a world using Power-to-X – creating carbon-neutral synthetic fuels that fuel cars, ships, power plants, essentially powering your everyday life. If it were a Finnish home, it would definitely be equipped with a coffee machine. And, most likely, some of Paulig’s coffee. 

So, it doesn’t take a great stretch of imagination to picture Paulig and Wärtsilä’s expo solution in everyday use. The technology is already available. 

Imagine a world where your cup of coffee has been carbon-neutrally roasted from 100% sustainable coffee and made with energy out of thin air!