Minister Lintilä: Decarbonisation is Finland’s strategy for industrial growth
Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä proposes that Finland and Sweden prepare a joint industrial strategy to promote a green transition. According to Lintilä, the discussions could start at a summit next year, which would bring together the countries’ top politicians and industrial and business leaders.
“I intend to present the proposal to Sweden when they have formed a government. Finland and Sweden are not only competitors in the field of the green transition but also partners. For example, the production of fossil-free steel is a nationally important issue for both countries,” Mika Lintilä said.
Lintilä brought forward the idea at a seminar on 24 November 2021, which focused on the implementation of sectoral low-carbon roadmaps and new climate and energy policy challenges from the perspective of Finnish industry.
According to the Minister, green transition is the strongest driver of growth and investment in the global economy. Against this backdrop, low-carbon roadmaps for industry are very topical and their implementation will be a competitive advantage for the Finnish industry.
“The roadmaps show the direction and indicate the route. It is the Government’s job to support companies in implementing the roadmaps. The most important thing is a stable and predictable operating environment that encourages companies and private money to make the necessary major investments for climate. Frankly, the scale of the transition is so great that no public money will be sufficient for it,” Lintilä added.
According to Lintilä, climate policy is not to blame for the recent spike in energy prices. Neither is the higher price of energy a reason to postpone Finland’s climate objectives. “If any conclusions can be drawn from the climbing prices, it is that we need to act even more quickly to phase out fossil fuels, instead of putting on the brakes,” Lintilä said.
“The climate and energy strategy, which will be sent out for comments during the winter, will indicate how to achieve this. The main points were already outlined in the budget session. A new idea by the Government is to strengthen the carbon handprint of companies and make this a cross-cutting theme in the strategy,” Lintilä said.
“Increasing our carbon handprint is essential if we want to meet the carbon neutrality target. In this way, we will ensure that our headstart will translate into export revenue, jobs and investments in Finland, and that our impact is greater than our size would merit,” Lintilä said.
The host of the seminar, Chief Specialist Jyrki Alkio from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, pointed out that the pressing need for climate solutions has become more evident in Finland, in the EU and internationally this autumn.
The sectoral roadmaps help us understand what the green transition requires from different sectors of industry and society. They also show the importance of innovation as demand for new climate-friendly products and services grows rapidly. Finnish companies can already offer global solutions that have a significant handprint, that is, they reduce emissions,” Alkio said.
“The Finnish low-carbon roadmaps and the work involved in them have attracted wide interest across Europe. One interested body is the European Commission, which has developed its own version of the roadmap. Instead of roadmaps, the Commission talks about transition pathways, but the idea is based on the operating method developed in Finland,” Alkio added.
The panel discussion focused on the opportunities that industry can offer in solving the climate challenge. Director-General Riku Huttunen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment pointed out that Finland’s low-emission energy system is to a larger degree a part of the solution than it is a climate problem.
“However, a clean transition that encompasses all of society is a huge process that requires major investments. In the next few years, the focus of climate measures will shift to energy-using sectors so that the carbon neutrality can be achieved by 2035,” Huttunen said.
“Timing the investments correctly is a challenge. It is still unclear which new technologies will be profitable, and due to the tough international competition, we cannot afford expensive mistakes. State aid for demonstration projects is an excellent way to lower the risk level, although ultimately the responsibility rests with the companies. It is the Government’s task to maintain a stable operating and regulatory environment for companies.
The seminar was organised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finnish Energy, Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, Finnish Forest Industries and Technology Industries of Finland.
Jyrki Alkio, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7103
Riku Huttunen, Director-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 6518
Teppo Säkkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 50 516 2868