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Krista Mikkonen / Lehtikuva

MP talk

Finnish business life and jobs are in the midst of structural change. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to reform our economy. If we want to improve Finland's competitiveness in the long run, industry and the entire business community must take a sustainability leap. 

 Climate change is the biggest threat to our economy in the long run. Many companies have therefore already identified the fight against climate change as one of their key competitive advantages. 

 Climate change mitigation will also offer new economic opportunities. As countries are tightening their climate targets, more and more investments are needed to achieve these goals. These investments will bring jobs, create economic activity and bring a growing market for clean solutions. This is a chance Finnish companies must not miss. 

 Many companies are already taking action. Companies are not only reducing their carbon footprint but also increasing their carbon handprint. Carbon handprint indicates the positive climate effects that the use of a product or service creates. If we in Finland produce and export new and clean solutions, we will have a greater impact on emission reductions globally.

 To increase our carbon handprint, we need policy reforms. It is not fair or effective to support low-carbon innovation and at the same time to encourage the continued use of fossil fuels. Policies should consistently support companies' climate work and ensure that low-emission and environmentally friendly solutions are always the most cost-effective alternatives. Pioneering companies that reduce their emissions quickly must gain a competitive advantage from their actions.

 Our government is committed to support companies in their sustainability leap. We have already drawn up low-carbon roadmaps for industrial sectors in cooperation with companies and organisations. These roadmaps provide a more detailed picture of the scale of the measures required. For example, the energy sector calls for a tax reform to support emission reductions and the transport and logistics sector needs investments in digital services and the development of public transport.

We are also currently renewing our taxation in a way that will support Finland’s target of being carbon neutral by 2035. This autumn, we already decided to lower the tax level of electricity for industry and give up two environmentally harmful tax subsidies. 

 This transition is now supported also by the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, which means more than two billion euros of recovery funding for Finland. While the EU requires 37 % of the funding to be used in climate action, the Finnish government is committed to use half of the funding to climate investments. This funding is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our economy - we must not waste it.

Krista Mikkonen
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

This article was written for MP Talk, a regular column from the Helsinki Times in which Members of The Finnish Parliament contribute their thoughts and opinions. All opinions voiced are entirely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Helsinki Times. 

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