Valio is a food company with the courage to change with the times. Valio’s road to growth and towards the innovative transformation of the food industry is supported by its long-standing business law partner, Castrén & Snellman.

Juha Hölttä became Valio’s General Counsel at a time when the company kicked its new strategy into a higher gear.

‘In the past two years we have made several significant market initiatives and expanded our business from food production to other areas of the value chain. By acquiring Heinon Tukku, we now provide a new kind of added value to restaurants and professional kitchens through our Valio Aimo® wholesale business. And our joint venture with St1, Suomen Lantakaasu Oy, will enable us to reach our goal of turning manure into biogas for heavy transportation,’ Hölttä describes some of the milestones of the new strategy.

In addition to expanding into new business areas, Valio continues to build a more sustainable dairy business alongside seeking international growth from plant-based products. Valio has invested in the international growth of its Oddlygood® brand through incorporation and gained additional product development expertise through the acquisition of Gold&Green.

Carbon footprint of milk reduced by new business operations

Dairy products are at the core of Valio’s business, and the company develops this strong foundation not only through product innovation but also at the beginning of the food chain.

‘Who could have foreseen that dairy farm manure could become one way of tackling climate challenges? Our planned biogas plants will use manure and agricultural by-products to produce renewable liquefied biogas for use as transportation fuel,’ says Hölttä.

‘Valio is aiming for a carbon-neutral milk chain by 2035. We are making major reforms in our operations in order to make this happen.’

The sustainability programme for Valio’s 3,700 dairy farms has been expanded, and it now includes the preventive and systematic healthcare of cows as well as actions related to grazing, the climate and biodiversity.

‘Appreciation for locally produced food is on the rise, which means that sustainability questions are local as well. This is a good trend, as it makes it easier for us to make a difference.’

‘Strategic help even in difficult circumstances’

The service-mindedness of lawyers is key in implementing a growth strategy. Castrén & Snellman Attorneys is a long-standing partner of Valio, and the relationship between the two is tight.

‘At Valio, we are always exploring new business opportunities, and us lawyers are tasked with assessing these opportunities. My philosophy as the General Counsel is that my door is always open. Together we can evaluate how to solve and implement new initiatives. In this job, you must be curious, broad-minded and business-oriented,’ summarises Hölttä.

Hölttä’s legal team of five people is supported by experts from Castrén & Snellman. The key to successful partnership is that both parties are familiar with each other’s business operations and ways of working.

‘Castrén & Snellman knows us well, and they maintain an up-to-date overview of our situation, which I highly appreciate. It means that we are able to tackle tricky situations together quickly even in difficult circumstances.’

A joint fast reaction was needed, for example, when Valio exited the Russian market after the country launched its war of aggression on Ukraine.

‘The responsible thing was to leave quickly but in a controlled manner and by repatriating our investment as opposed to leaving an operational food production facility in the hands of a country that was waging war.’

A shared vision of sustainability

Valio – Together we make life better

  • A Finnish food company
  • Approx. 4,600 employees
  • Owned by 13 Finnish dairy cooperatives
  • Finland’s most sustainable brand in the Sustainable Brand Index study
  • Read more about sustainability at Valio

Castrén & Snellman – Building sustainable success stories

  • Forerunner of demanding legal services
  • 300 employees
  • Owned by its partners
  • ‘We help our clients build sustainable success stories and achieve their sustainability goals.’
  • Read more about sustainability at Castrén & Snellman

Shared success stories of Valio and C&S

Global Brand Portfolio Management and IP Enforcement

Purchase of Gold&Green’s Brand, IPR and R&D Function

Joint Venture for Biogas Production with St1

Sale of Russian Operations

Acquisition of Heinon Tukku

Significant Growth Funding Round

Competition Damages Case

Defending Against Environmental Permit Challenge at the Appellate Level