S4S: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?

Andreas Slotte: Working in the maritime industry was always a dream. Many relatives were sailors, and many others worked in the industry in other positions. My decision was not completely self-evident however; I actually started studying at the Helsinki University of Technology before finally realizing my dream to work at sea and study for Master Mariner. My interest in efficiency drove me to working with sustainable development issues: reduced energy use translates both to saved money and a better environment.

S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?

A.S.:In my current role as Head of Sustainable Development in Finland’s largest port almost everything I get to do excites me! The threat climate change poses have made people all over the world demand more from every industry. To have the opportunity to work full time with these urgent questions is a privilege. Coming up with and implementing working solutions that help our customers and us function even more effectively and environmentally friendly is the best feeling there is.

S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?

A.S.:Success is such a relative word. Bill Gates comes to mind as one though: not only did he create one of the most successful companies of all time, but then he pledged all the money he made to making peoples lives better. And he is not giving away the money as handouts, rather he focuses on specific problems that he and his resources can solve.

S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?

A.S.:I’ve been blessed with having nothing but excellent bosses and mentors throughout my career. Each and every one brought something different to the table. Acting calmly and rationally under extreme pressure is a talent I admire and try to master. Whether the storm is literal or proverbial, a captain who keeps his cool will steer clear of danger

S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?

A.S.:My father probably gave me the best piece of advice which was to “follow my dreams”, when I was contemplating whether a career at sea was right for me or not. That said, everyone cannot always follow their dreams, so it could be bad advice as well. Thankfully my dream wasn’t to become a rock star or professional athlete!

S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?

A.S.:Getting my MBA was by far the best investment into myself I ever did. I was hesitant because of the time strain it would put on my family and myself, working full-time, while studying with two small children at home. Even though it was challenging at times, I could not be happier I did it. The MBA opened up the business world to me in a completely new way and the self-development that to place during the process was immense.

S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?

A.S.:We should never stop being curious. Try to learn as much as you can every day for the rest of your life. Also always remember to be kind: you never know what other people are going through, and a little kindness can make someone’s day. 

S4S: In the last five years, whatnew belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?

A.S.:My beliefs probably haven’t changed that much in the last five years. My eyes have however been opened to the enormity of the task of creating a sustainable world. I always strive to becoming more methodical and systematical with my work: no problem is too complex not to break down into smaller pieces that can be put on a time line and the solved one after the other. 

S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?

A.S.:In the maritime industry with its naturally long investment cycles I sometimes feel frustrated that change cannot be implemented more rapidly. If I was able to change one thing, it would be for the industry as a whole to be more open to quick testing and the trying of new ideas. A failed test isn’t a failure, it’s a lesson learned.

S4S: What is your personal motto?

A.S.: I don’t have any motto per se, but Aristotle’s words “We are what we repeatedly do” speak to me. Change isn’t propelled forward by visions and talk of values. Change happens when we change what we actually do.

Andreas Slotte is the Head of Sustainable Development at Port of Helsinki Ltd, where he leads all the port’s sustainable development initiatives and activities. Foremost on the agenda at the moment is the development of the port’s carbon neutrality program, the expansion of used sustainability reporting metrics, as well as further development of the port’s environmental incentive program for vessels. Andreas is also in charge of the port’s LNG accreditation process. He joined Port of Helsinki in 2013, working in operations before transferring to his current position. Andreas has an MBA from Aalto University, Helsinki, and is also a Master Mariner.