Neste and Mantsinen Group joined forces to tackle one of society’s most difficult challenges, the social exclusion of young people, by launching the Zero Exclusion campaign. The problem is vast as one in five children in developed countries lives in poverty*.

Neste and Mantsinen’s aim was to make the voices of young people heard through art and to raise EUR 50,000 for the Finland-based charity Hope ry, which works to combat the social exclusion of young people. Participation in the project inspired companies, as the target was exceeded in a week. The funds raised through the project are directed towards secondary education.

“It is great to see companies collaborating on this important issue. Our target was reached in less than a week after the campaign launch. We want to help young people in a concrete way, and it is exciting to see what kind of an outcome we can achieve together with our partners. We wish to double the original target, and raise up to EUR 100,000 for tackling social exclusion,” says Heidi Peltonen, Manager, Sustainable Partnerships at Neste.

“The founders of our family company started off from humble beginnings, and we know that the journey from there can be really hard and that help is needed. We believe we have a responsibility to support young people, and that is why it was important for us to be part of this collaboration,” says Mia Mantsinen, CEO of Mantsinen Group.

According to a survey** recently published by Neste, Finnish business decision-makers consider the exclusion of young people to be the biggest social threat to Finland’s future. Up to 68% of the surveyed business decision-makers felt that companies do not pay enough attention to social responsibility. However, sustainability was perceived as an important part of their company strategies, and 38% of respondents said that their company is currently engaged in sustainability-related cooperation.

Books and laptops for up to a hundred teens

According to the charity Hope ry, 120,000 children live in deprived families in Finland.

“50,000 euros is enough to support around a hundred socially excluded teens. With the funds collected, we enable young people to have secondary education by buying books, laptops and other necessities,” Hope ry’s Managing Director Eveliina Hostila says.