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Fair use of data – growth opportunity for companies

Sustainability is playing a bigger role in investing today. In the digital age, it should include the fair use of data. This could give the competitive edge European companies are looking for and lead us towards a fair data economy.


Katri Korhonen

Specialist, Competitiveness through data


Is your company looking for a new angle that would give you an advantage when you are meeting investors? As the importance of data is continuously growing day by day, we should add yet another dimension to the checklist of sustainable investing: the fair use of data. We constantly hear stories about big tech companies using people’s data in ways that reduce trust in their services. Citizens’ activist movements and increasing regulation can be seen as counterforces, as people want to be in the driver’s seat and to control their own data.

Trust in the centre of fair data economy

Sitra’s IHAN® project is creating a framework for a fair data economy. The aim is to build an alternative to the current oligopoly of tech giants. It’s important for both start-ups and more established companies to acknowledge the changing views of their customers.

The responsible use of data came up as an emerging need in Sitra’s citizen survey that was published in spring 2019. According to the survey, respondents have stopped using or significantly decreased their use of digital services as a result of different scandals related to the use of customer data. People have more trust in services when they can decide how their data is used.

GDPR as a tool for growth

GDPR provides the guidelines when it comes to the sustainable use of data. Sitra’s business survey from autumn 2019 shows that over a third of businesses felt that GDPR has had a positive effect on their ability to work in the data economy. There are already companies that have privacy and digital rights built into their business ideas. They set a brilliant example for the super platforms that have so far not been interested enough in their users’ privacy.

Sitra’s business survey from 2019 shows that over a third of businesses felt that GDPR has had a positive effect on their ability to work in the data economy.

The environment, social responsibility, governance and innovation (ESGI) are valued by most investors when funding European ventures. The statement from the Business Roundtable suggests the same is happening in the US. If the fair use of data will be part of your company’s agenda, it will enhance the trust among customers and bring growth to your business.

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