The Nordic countries have a unique opportunity to act as pioneers in the green transition. By making significant investments in Finland, 200,000 jobs could be created, and GDP could increase by 24 billion euros, according to a recent study "Playing offense to create Nordic Sustainability champions" by McKinsey.

"Finland and the Nordics have the potential to become a Silicon Valley in sustainability.

We are pioneers in sustainability research, while at the same time we have good access to investment capital and have effective cooperation between the private and public sectors. This gives us an edge over other markets when the global economy adapts to meet the climate goals," says Anna Granskog, a partner at McKinsey's Helsinki office and a leader of McKinsey's European "Green Business Building" practice.

McKinsey has identified eleven high-potential green industries that collectively could be worth nearly 12 trillion euros of yearly revenues by 2030. By taking a leading role in the green transition, Finland is estimated to have the opportunity to create approximately 200,000 jobs and increase GDP by approximately 24 billion euros. Looking at all the Nordic countries, a little over a million jobs could be created.

The Nordic countries have particularly good conditions to become leaders in six of the eleven industries: carbon management, hydrogen, power and energy storage, buildings, transport, consumer, and waste. There are already several promising players in Finland, such as Ren-Gas, Paptic or Infinited Fiber.

Success requires making bold moves

Despite the promising opportunities, the Nordic countries must make bold moves to not fall behind competing markets such as Italy, Germany, and France. According to the study by McKinsey, the Nordics should set bold targets to be pioneers in the green transition:

  • Develop four to five world-leading industry clusters in high-potential industries linked to net zero transition, including carbon management, hydrogen, and green transport
  • Scale a minimum of 125 today’s promising start-ups into global green "unicorns" (corresponding to 25-35 start-ups for each Nordic country or five to six start-ups within each new industry cluster for each Nordic country)
  • Accelerate the green transition of existing corporates to be front-runners in bringing new sustainable technologies to global markets

"There are two things that are required for us to succeed in creating a “Sustainability Valley” in the Nordics. Firstly, established companies must dare to invest more in green growth, similarly as Neste has created its renewable fuel business, for example. Secondly, green technology start-ups need to start building their business globally from day one, so that they can scale fast enough and get the attention and support from international investors", says Anna Granskog.

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Source: McKinsey & Company