Interview with Anna Wikholm from 3 Kaveria, Finnish ice cream company using EKOenergy

As part of our outreach campaign “EKOappetite”, we promote the use of renewable energy in food processing businesses. We reached out to an existing EKOenergy user, the Finnish ice cream manufacturer 3 Kaveria (“3 Friends”) for an interview to learn more about their motives for using EKOenergy-labelled renewable electricity. Anna Wikholm, the brand manager at 3 Kaveria, answered our questions at their Helsinki office.

Hello Anna, can you tell us about the company and where the name comes from?

This year is our tenth anniversary just like EKOenergy, what a coincidence! We were established in 2012 and started producing ice cream in 2013 at Kontula in Eastern Helsinki.

There are three founders who are actual friends. 3 Kaveria means 3 friends in Finnish. They realised that ice cream was something the three of them loved, and started making ice cream from scratch with milk, cream, eggs, and sugar. It tasted so much creamier, and of fuller flavour. Ice cream manufacturing at the time was rather industrial and less artisanal, so they saw an opportunity to do something different. The first product was an instant hit and encouraged them to make even more. They started producing ice cream from their first factory soon after. 10 years later, 3 Kaveria ice cream is now sold across Finland and Sweden.

At first, we only had regular dairy ice cream, but soon we created our first vegan ones which have since won many prizes. 

Our ice cream is made out of real natural ingredients, and produced in Helsinki, with many local ingredients. For example, 3 Kaveria buys around 2% of all the raspberries grown in Finland!

Are sustainability measures important for 3 Kaveria? You told me about the solar panels you installed and you switched to EKOenergy.

Sustainability is a key principle for us, as a consumer this is something you already expect from the company. Clearly, we do a bit of everything for sustainability, but just as the stereotype goes, we are very Finnish in the sense that we don’t really brag about it. 

We always try to source ingredients from areas close to Finland, and if it comes from further away, we track and ask for certifications such as the Rainforest Alliance. We try to have sustained contact with the producers, and for our foreign ingredients, such as vanilla, we even know the very fields where they are grown.

I would say that the part where it is easiest for a company like us to take sustainability measures is the ice cream production itself. We control everything, such as how much water and how much electricity we use. We have an amazing production manager who always prioritizes waste reduction. We have the sorting centre for the recycling facility on the very same street as our factory and we have a contract with them. 

I have been focusing on the packaging. Our carton package comes from Hämeenlinna in Finland. The wood is mainly Finnish. We also have plastic packages that are completely recyclable in the recycling plants. 

We have installed solar panels on our roofs and made an EKOenergy contract for the electricity we use from the grid. We make more than a thousand pints of ice cream with solar energy on sunny days!

Last but not least, there is always the logistics. There are not many logistics companies that have electrified freezer vehicles yet, but we are working on it. 

What made you decide to use renewable electricity, and why have you chosen EKOenergy-labelled renewable electricity in particular?

One of our founders, Heikki, took care of the electricity contract. He is really informed about energy issues. I know he wants to be proud of his work and when he can take action and make an impact, he does what he can. Our company started using renewable energy because we want to be proud of what we do in every aspect. And in the field of energy production, EKOenergy is a mark of quality we trust.

Risks the world is facing need to be assessed, and renewable energy supply offers protection against many of those risks. It is short-term thinking to ignore these issues. It is really important for the employees to know that they are not enabling climate change or unethical practices. It would be awful to work in that kind of environment in this day and age. If your company wants to show it thinks ahead and demonstrates leadership in the field, I would definitely encourage making renewable energy your main source of electricity. 

Using EKOenergy-labelled renewables means you can communicate about the extra positive impact you make thanks to your choice of EKOenergy-labelled energy. Are you planning to communicate about this positive impact? 

I think we haven’t got the best out of what EKOenergy can bring us in terms of communication yet. As I said, we don’t brag so much about what we are doing, we want to have everything complete and perfect before we talk about it. So there is definitely more to do in the way we communicate, since highlighting sustainability issues from a business point-of-view is key for shaping a greener industry tomorrow.

However, the first level of our communication has always been and will always be the flavour and how we make the ice cream. The problem we have is the same with many companies, the risk management requires us to be careful about what we communicate: Unsupported statements can be attacked as greenwashing. To be able to make sustainability claims, you need to have verification from outside of your company. The EKOenergy label, in that sense, verifies what we do. 

I think communicating about the EKOenergy label would be good in our communication because that is something people can learn about through the website, it’s an external, third-party confirmation and consumers can easily understand what it stands for. Using third-party approved marks of quality like Rainforest Alliance or EKOenergy is really helpful when it comes to communication. I look forward to deepening our understanding of sustainability issues and communicating more about what we already do in our company. 

You can find similar articles we have about EKOenergy consumers on our user stories page. If you are looking for ways to show your environmental commitment by switching to environmentally sustainable energy, contact us. To stay updated, follow us on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Xing!

Published: 14 June 2023