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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Political Department, the Division of International Environmental Affairs and the Department for Development Co-operation as well as other departments and the Ministry of Environment and  other substance Ministries. 

Development co-operation is considered to be an integral part of Finnish foreign policy. The overall objective of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is to promote universal goals such as poverty alleviation, democracy, respect for human rights and sustainable development with respect to the environment, natural resources and economy through international co-operation. The Ministry also has a co-coordinating role in relation to other Ministries. In environmentally related issues the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are important partners.

It is a tradition in Finland that all administrative levels participate in the field of their respective excellence in the international relations.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legal system of Finland with regard to bringing into force and implementation of international agreements is in principle dualistic: International agreements, including those related with cooperation for sustainable development become part of the national legislation of Finland by enactment of special implementation legislation: so called Blanco Act or Decree which refers directly to the provisions of the agreement or a mixed Act or Decree which includes also substantive provisions.       

In addition, the following national legislation includes provisions concerning cooperation for sustainable development: the Environmental Permit Procedures Act and- Decree, the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure and the Act and Decree on Waste. The relevant EC legislation is also implemented in Finland.

Our trade policy and legal measures are guided by our membership in the EU and the WTO. The GSP-system of the EU gives preference to the developing countries and to countries in transition.

Finland has a broad and constantly developing network of investment protection agreements which is aimed at promoting private sector partnerships For example in Zambia  is currently under planning a 40-million FIM programme where the main objective is to enhance the private sector involvement in agricultural and rural development interventions, mainly in Luapula province.

The Finnish Government's Programme for Sustainable Development (Council of State Decision-in-Principle, June 4 1998) is designed to set a framework policy for the promotion of ecological sustainability, and the economic and social and cultural preconditions for achieving this end.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Finnish development co-operation is largely involved in institutional and human resource development and technology transfer through bilateral and regional agreements Finland has with her main partners and regions. In addition to this development funding is also secured through International Organizations and Conventions promoting sustainable development on their respective areas. For instance Global Environment Facility is an organization like this.

Regional integration and sustainable development are being realized through our EU membership and to some extent through Nordic cooperation.

Trade liberalization is realized through EC common trade policy, globalization to the extent that  WTO can harness it and enhance positive aspects of globalization

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The groups mentioned are to be seen as representatives of civil society in general.  Civil society needs to be included in all activities for sustainable development as an active partner from the first planning phases to implementation. Civil society in Finland participates actively through various channels in the dialogue and processes concerning sustainable development. Civil society representation is ensured in Service Center for Development Cooperation for direct involvement in decision making processes. The Center and the Finnish Development NGO's are supported in their awareness and advocacy work for sustainable development and international cooperation. Finland's activities in developing countries are based on the principle of  participation by all concerned groups of people.

The Government of Finland has set a target of channeling 10-15 % of the total budget for operational development cooperation for support to the NGO-sector. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has a substantial NGO-support program for Finnish, international and regional NGOs and local NGOs and CBOs. The ultimate goal of this cooperation is to strengthen the capacity of the local non-governmental sector in general, thereby promoting the principles of pluralistic civil societies and the foundations of democracy. The results of cooperation activities should be sustainable and provide basis for further, self-reliance based development.

FINFUND for the private initiative Finland gives official assistance through Finnish Industrial Development Fund (FINFUND), concessional credits mainly directed for environment and social sector programmes as well as technology transfer support for the Finnish private innovation in Developing countries. We have already mentioned many trade agreements which also emphasize the aspects of sustainable development and environment concerned.

Poor people, people in peripheries. Reduction of poverty is one of the priorities in Finnish development co-operation.

Programmes and Projects   

From the beginning Finland has seen Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the main channel for contributing for institutional capacity building of various environmental conventions. Finland also supports UNEP and UNCHS with sizeable voluntary contributions for core-funding of these organizations. The objectives of these organizations are well known.

The following are the main programmes including the respective financing in FIM (1$=7FIM):

Of the multilateral and bilateral cooperation programmes mentioned above, please indicate the approximate % allocation of funds by areas covered:

The major technical assistance programmes are as follows:

Finland as a Member State of the European Union has actively participated in creating and operational zing  EU's trading programmes and schemes. This also applies to EU's GSP-scheme (Council Regulation 2820/98), which also includes  a incentive system for developing countries to apply  basic labor standards (ILO conventions) and environmental standards (ITTO convention) for reduced GSP-duties.


Net capital outflows from Finland to developing countries in 1995-1999

Disbursements, millions of FIM



























ODA, total


1 695,6

1 876,4

1 965,3

2 118,6

2 324,2

of which




1 037,8

1 116,6

1 343,2






1 002,0









of which

- emergency assistance







- non-grant bilateral ODA (net)















0,32 %

0,34 %

0,33 %

0,32 %

0,33 %











1 118,2











Private flows


1 452,1


6 313,6









Net capital outflows, total

3 127,3

4 446,7

2 328,7

8 728,9

4 072,


Poverty eradication is a central objective and priority in Finland's bilateral and multilateral policies. Finland considers however that economic development alone does not suffice in the eradication of poverty. Development of democratic political systems that ensure equitable distribution of income and social security for all, good governance and promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms are other central objectives in the Finnish foreign policy in general and in our development co-operation policy in particular.

Finland considers education, especially education of girls important.

In strengthening the role of major groups we consider the role of women is important. The Beijing 1995 Plan of Action includes a chapter "Women and Environment" which is one of the plans requiring  action.

Finland and the EU fully support and promote the idea that economic, social and environmental aspects should be integrated and to be incorporated into all spheres of activity, planning and decision-making.

Participation is a part of the objectives of Finnish development co-operation. Some participatory processes have been used in preparing Finnish positions at the multilateral level. In the preparation of major meetings, conferences and agreements the NGO community and other stake-holders are generally actively involved.

Participatory approaches have been used increasingly in projects and programme identification, planning and implementation. Ownership issues are addressed and some preliminary participatory approaches have been applied in evaluations by including evaluators from partner countries in the work. The evolutions of bilateral aid have identified cases of extensive and successful use of participatory approaches.

Since 1995, the Academy of Finland received FIM 5 million annually from the development cooperation budget for development research for 1996-1998. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has recently begun to coordinate research activities and has increasingly targeted the development research funds according to a sectoral research model by the Ministry. The Unit for Planning and Coordination at the Department has begun to commission studies on the following three themes in 1997: Culture, Environment and Human rights and democracy. 

Finland finds all partnerships as important and tries to develop them further.  We refer to our common EC trade policy; this must also be seen in the broader context of  a new round of multilateral trade negotiations.  

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Dissemination of information on sustainable development is an integral part of information work of the Information Unit of the Department for International Development Cooperation. The objective of is to distribute information on Finland's development policy and its implementation, to increase interest in and favorable attitudes towards development cooperation in Finland, and to offer material for public debate. The funding for development cooperation comes from Finnish tax revenues, which is why transparency must be one of the cornerstones of all operations.

The focus is on the key areas of Finland's development policy — increasing global security, reducing widespread poverty, promotion of respect for human rights and democracy, prevention of global environmental threats and increasing economic interaction. Apart from the general public, the primary target groups are media, NGOs and companies participating in development cooperation and political and economic decision-makers. Teachers, students and schoolchildren were also important targets. 

The themes are featured in the quarterly magazine Kehitys-Utveckling (Development) and the monthly newsletter Kehitysuutiset (Development news). Apart from these journals, various brochures and publications on development cooperation are issued.

We are developing the training of young Finnish professionals for the international tasks in sustainable development, especially the possibilities to gain practical experience. The Department of International Development Co-operation promotes now-a-days "junior professional" posts in its development projects. Also the participation of young professionals to the Finnish delegations of International Environmental Convention negotiations is promoted.

Finland has considered the priority setting in international cooperation in some extent problematic. Thus the Department of International Development Co-operation of the Ministry of Foreign affairs has started under the leadership of the Minister of Development Co-operation an analysis of countries and organizations for the future prioritization of the future development co-operation.


The Internet is becoming an increasingly important channel for information on development cooperation. The home page is The Information Unit answers annually thousands of requests for information and material received via the Internet or by telephone. Dozens of student and pupil groups visit the department. Development cooperation is presented at various events for the public, including a number of fairs and seminars.

Information and data on development co-operation are made available by various means.  The Department for International Development Co-operation publishes leaflets, books and brochures on Finnish development assistance that contain the data in question.  Detailed statistical data are also provided in a book on Finnish development co-operation statistics published every other year.  There is also statistical information on the internet that can be accessed through the address  The supply of statistical data on the internet is planned to be further increased and improved.

The library of the Department for International Development Cooperation comprises some 30,000 books and subscribes to some 400 periodicals. The library concentrates on development cooperation, development problematic and above all economy and politics in the countries with which Finland engages in development cooperation.

On the NGO sector the most prominent actor in Finland is KEPA - a network for about 300 Finnish NGO's promoting co-operation with developing country NGO's and International NGO's.

Research and Technologies   

Our priorities in the development is the strengthening of the country’s existing strategic planning process to ensure the commitment to the key principles of sustainable development and progress towards the desired objectives through a process of:

Finland has during the recent years paid increased attention to the environmental quality of technological development co-operation, even some old Finnish funded technological projects have got later a new environmental component to their implementation.

Renewable energy sources (like wind and solar systems) have increased share of technological development projects during the recent years. Finland has also assisted in doing the technological projects economically sound (like municipal central heating systems) also the environmental management capacity of recipients have been enhanced.

Finland's approach is to assure the quality (including environment) of the projects funded by Finland and requested by recipient countries, thus approach is more reactive than promoting certain goals. This has often lead to "old style" investment projects since developing renewable energy or environmental management of technology is not on the top of the priority list of recipients.

In bilateral development co-operation technological projects are monitored according to the guidelines for programme design, monitoring and evaluation of the Department of International Development Co-operation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland


The proportion pg our GNP spent on ODA is 0.34% both in 2000 and 2001. The target is to reach 0.7% in the long term - the specific schedule when and how to reach the target is to be prepared.   In 2001 roughly one third will be allocated to bilateral cooperation and one third to multilateral cooperation.  About 10% of the total budget will be allocated to NGO support and a similar proportion to humanitarian assistance. Operationalization of the development policy is underway - country specific allocations as well as directions for the cooperation with the multilateral institutions for the near future are to be decided based on the outcome of the analysis.


Finland participates extensively to all global conventions and treaties related to sustainable development. In addition, Finland has concluded numerous bilateral and regional agreements, including those under the Economic Commission for Europe.

The few bilateral trade agreements maintained after Finland became a member of the European Union do not contain clauses related to  the promotion of sustainable development.  

Agenda21 was agreed upon in one of the major conferences and summits of the 1990s ("UN Global Agenda"). It covers a wide range of issues many of  which are covered in more detail in other major conferences and summits and their follow-up processes. Finland promotes actively  the coordinated and integrated implementation of the "UN global agenda" especially at the country level. All that has been agreed at the different UN conferences is been taken into consideration in a coherent manner in governance processes as well as in practical work whether it be bilateral development aid or the UN system development aid. Our own national policies are of course taken into consideration as well.  In the development co-operation funded by Finland the principles of Agenda 21 are followed in most of the projects. However, no special project promoting Agenda 21 at the sub-regional, regional and international levels has been taken.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs participates in the Biodiversity and Global Programmes of the Academy of Finland and also funds development research via the Academy. Quite a number of research projects dealing with the questions of sustainable development and developing countries are included in these programmes and research teams consist of researchers from Finland and developing countries.  Development research funded by the Ministry is mainly implemented by Finnish research institutions. These institutions have their own contacts and networks with the researchers in developing countries and also development research institutions in other countries. The research institutions find their development country partners without any help from the Ministry.

Finland has been actively participating to the international co-operation, which aims at finding means of reconciling trade, environment, and development requirements. This co-operation includes, for instance, work in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Finland is in favor of enhanced co-operation, coherence and co-ordination between the relevant international bodies and, for example, emphasizes the importance of the joint work programmes at UNCTAD and UNEP.

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th, 8th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update:  April 2001.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The promotion of integration of cross-border investment, trade and environmental policy in a manner that is mutually supportive and favorable to sustainable development is defined by the Decision-in-Principle as one line of action. The Decision notices that balanced, parallel advancement of international trade and environmental protection is an ambitious goal. It also acknowledges that the main challenge for international trade policy is to find ways of enabling the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, to gain a foothold on world markets in a manner promoting sustainable development.

As Finland is a member of The European Union many decisions concerning environmental aspects of international trade policies and trade aspects of international environmental policies are established at the EU level. In the EU, Finland has supported the objective of integrating the principles of sustainable development and environmental concerns into all relevant fields of policy-making, including trade policy. These objectives are addressed also in the Treaty of Amsterdam and in the conclusions of the Cardiff European Council. Furthermore, Finland has participated in the Nordic trade and environment cooperation.

In June 1998, the Council of State issued guidelines for the assessment of economic and environmental impacts of Government Bills. According to these guidelines each Ministry is responsible for the economic and environmental impact assessment of Government Bills under its competence. The check-list annexed to the guidelines on environmental assessment contains a list of questions aimed at helping the identification of bills which are subject to more detailed impact assessment. The check-list includes some trade-related environmental impacts, as well as examples of both micro- and macro-economic impacts.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In the WTO framework, Finland attaches great importance to further liberalization and rule-making in all areas relevant to world trade as a vehicle for both national and global economic growth. Tackling remaining obstacles to trade and strengthening WTO rules in the fields of agriculture, services, non-agricultural tariffs, investment, competition, trade facilitation, and trade and environment can also contribute significantly to enhanced well-being and sustainable development.

On national level Finland enhances integration of trade, investment, development, environmental and other policies on an institutional basis through cross-sector consultation procedures.

Finland made a national environmental review of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which was being negotiated under the OECD. A summary of this basically judicial review, which identified existing and potential discrepancies between the Finnish environmental legislation and the draft text of the MAI, was presented to the MAI Negotiation Group in OECD in February 1998. Also other studies and reviews have been commissioned in order to assess and develop means for addressing the inter-linkages of trade, investments, environment and development. For instance, the Department for International Development Co-operation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has in 1998 commissioned a unpublished "International Trade and the Environment" -report on ways by which development co-operation could enhance the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment, as well as a study "Environmental Assessment in Public Promotion of Exports and Investments to Developing Countries". According to this study, there is still work to be done in the integration of environmental aspects into the public promotion of exports and investments. The Ministry of the Environment has published in 1999 a study on economic globalization and the environment. Trade and environment issues have also been taken up in some other recent publications of the Ministry, including a study on greening the government procurement and a study on sustainable product and consumption policy.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The inter-linkages of different policy areas are discussed and addressed by various governmental committees and working groups established, for instance, to discuss, to co-ordinate and to prepare Finnish positions on these issues for international fora, i.e. for coordinating and preparing Finnish positions on issues concerning EU external trade policy and environmental policy. In a number of these bodies also the interested non-governmental parties are represented, or are consulted. The integration of trade and environmental policies is discussed i.e. in an Advisory Expert Working Group, led by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where both governmental and non-governmental parties are represented. The group participates in the preparations of Finnish positions on issues included in the agendas of e.g. WTO, UNCTAD and the OECD. The working groups also serve as channels for distributing information and documentation. Transparency and consultation are enhanced also by seminars and by the circulation of draft proposals and draft decisions to various authorities and non-governmental interest groups for their written comments or statement.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available


No information is available


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


Finland has in 1996 and in 1998 submitted a national report to the OECD on the implementation of the four OECD Procedural Guidelines on Trade and Environment. Finland is currently reporting to OECD on the actions taken by the Finnish government by August 1999 to implement the 44 measures proposed by the OECD in its environmental performance review of Finland carried out in 1996-1997 (publication "OECD Environmental Performance Review: Finland's Progress Report" not yet available). Parts of this report also relate to trade and investment.

Information related to trade, investment, environment and economic growth is made available to potential users via various media of which the Internet is one of the fastest. Among the Internet sites that provide information related to the above mentioned questions are the following:

- The Ministry of Trade and Industry web-site can be accessed through the following address,

- The Ministry for the Environment web-site can be accessed through the following address,

- The Ministry for Foreign Affairs web-site can be accessed through the following address,

- Tekes, the National Technology Agency is the main financing organization for applied and industrial R&D in Finland and its web-site can be accessed through the following address,

- Finpro (The Finnish Foreign Trade Association) is Finland's foreign trade promotion organization and its website can accessed through the following address,

Research and Technologies   

An important objective of government policy is to increase the export of energy technology. The objective is part of the country's general aim to diversify away from export of primary products towards more high-tech, high value added exports that help the development of sustainable production in a global zing world.


No information is available


Supported by the other Nordic countries, with which Finland actively cooperates, Finland made a proposal that led to considering trade and environment issues permanently by the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board. In the OECD framework, Finland is, among other things, participating actively in the work of the Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment, and making efforts to pursue the objectives stated in the Procedural Guidelines on Trade and Environment adopted by the OECD Ministerial Council in 1993. Finland has also been actively participating in the negotiations of major environmental agreements, some of which contain also trade-related aspects.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment as well as other ministries and government agencies (e.g. Finnish Environment Institute) are responsible for dealing with aspects of sustainable consumption and production patterns. In addition, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development has a subcommittee on consumption and production, finance and transfer of technology.

At the local and provincial levels, the following organizations are the responsible administrative bodies: the National Consumer Administration, nineteen Employment and Business Development Centres, thirteen Regional Environment Centres, Municipal environmental authorities, Municipal Consumer Advisors, Municipal business development authorities, and nineteen Regional Councils. The Regional Councils are inter-municipal joint authorities. Regional Councils bear statutory responsibility for regional development and planning. They also promote the interests of their regions and perform a broad variety of voluntary functions.

The National Consumer Administration supervises the municipalities in arranging consumer advice, produces supporting materials and trains consumer advisors. According to law every municipality in Finland must offer its residents consumer-advice services.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There are several laws and regulations in areas related to sustainable consumption and production patterns, such as the Waste Act (which came into force 1 January 1994); Acts on chemicals, energy efficiency norms and standards etc.

The Environment Protection Act is currently being renewed. The goal is to have a single Act instead of separate Acts on, for example, air pollution, noise, and environmental permits. The Act will also enforce the EU Directive on environmental permits (so-called IPPC-directive). The new act should be in force by the end of 1999.

The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation has organized an eco-energy campaign which promotes, among other things, its ringed seal label to encourage environmentally friendly energy consumption for certain kinds of energy production. The criteria will be the same in Sweden and Norway.

Finland's energy efficiency programme relies on the use of market forces. The instruments are divided into six categories: information, energy audits, investment feasibility studies, investment grants, regulations and R&D. Finland also uses a carbon tax.

Particularly successful actions in the field of promoting ecological ways of production have been the Environmental Impact Assessment Act; financial incentives, subsidies, taxation, charges and return systems for recoverable goods (e.g. cans, bottles, car tyres) on an environmental basis; voluntary agreements between business and Government in dealing with environmental problems; EU-regulation on environmental management systems; the Waste Act (which came into force 1 January 1994); the Nordic Eco-Labeling System (see above), whereby a product is analyzed from the standpoint of its entire life-cycle; the Programme on Energy Conservation; and practices in enterprises (ICC Business Charter, environmental monitoring and management systems like ISO14001 and the EU EMAS etc.)

Companies are widely using environmental impact assessment for evaluating the impacts of planned projects and investments. In this connection, environmental risks, caused by accidents or other exceptional occasions, are also frequently assessed. In addition, many companies use different kinds of life-cycle assessment methods for internal product design purposes. These tools are mainly used on a voluntary basis. However, environmental impact assessment is also mandatory to big companies according to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Finnish Government Programme for Sustainable Development (Council of State Decision-in-Principle on Promotion of Ecological Sustainability, June 4 1998) includes a framework policy and a chapter on production and consumption. In the framework policy the Government states that it will, e.g.,. promote changes in production and consumption patterns as well as minimize the exploitation of non-renewable resources; promote voluntary, market-driven instruments and improve consumers' opportunities for selecting eco-friendly products and promote more diverse commercial utilization of renewable resources.

In addition, there is a separate chapter on products, production and consumption. The objectives are to improve Finland's overall eco-competitiveness, to steer production and consumption in the direction of products with a minimum environmental impact during their life cycle, to improve prospects for production methods and consumer choices which support sustainable development and to emphasize a life-cycle approach in the construction sector (a Decision-in-Principle on ecological construction is currently under preparation).

Finland's National Waste Plan to the year 2005 was approved by the Council of State on 2nd July 1998. The plan sets targets for the reduction of the amounts and types of harmful properties of waste; for waste recovery; for the prevention of risks to human health and the environment; for further development of waste management infrastructures and for supervision of waste transports.

According to the Council of States Report on Energy Policy (1997), the goal is to bring the growth of total energy consumption to a halt in the next 10 to 15 years. By 2005, through the effect of the Energy conservation programme, total consumption of primary energy is expected to decrease by 3 Mtoe and electricity consumption by more than 5 TWh. Finland's National Waste Plan until 2005 sets targets for the reduction of the amounts and harmful properties of waste and for waste recovery. The plan has a strong emphasis on the life-cycle of products, thus taking into account the energy and material input-side of production.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Many Finnish companies have committed themselves to the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development. In addition, major chemical companies follow the Responsible Care program. Various companies have also taken into use voluntary environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001 and the EU EMAS system. Finnish companies are used to open disclosure of information on their environmental issues. In addition to company and site level environmental reports, branch-wise annual reports are published by the forest and chemical industries. The best environmental reports are annually awarded by a national jury.

All major groups are members of the Finnish NCSD. The Commission has a subcommittee on Production and Consumption. Finnish working groups and committees usually include representatives from the relevant groups. Frequently, statements are asked from Major Groups on various programmes, policies and plans.

Programmes and Projects   

There are many programmes, plans and strategies which include elements relevant to sustainable consumption and production. They include:

With respect to increasing energy and material efficiency in production processes, the Eco-efficiency Committee set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry released its report in April 1998. On the whole the Finnish working group welcomed the initiatives related to eco-efficiency as a promising new approach. The most recent Energy Policy was sent to Parliament in June 1997. One of the major aims is to reduce the volume of environmentally harmful emissions. The main objectives of the policy include, e.g.:

The 21 December 1995 Government Decision on the Implementation of Energy Conservation is based on the assumption of the Government that energy conservation cannot be further developed with increased public financial support. There is a need to focus public finance on developing and marketing new technologies. One of the targets for technology development is to increase exports. The objective of the 1995 programme is to have total consumption in the year 2010 be 10-20% lower than it would be without a policy change. The objectives are to diminish specific energy consumption by reducing the amount of energy used in the production of goods and provision of services and to stop the growth of primary energy consumption in 10 to 20 years. The 1995 Decision followed the 1992 Council of State Programme on Energy Conservation. By 2005, through the effect of the programme, total consumption of primary energy is expected to decrease by 3 Mtoe and electricity consumption by more than 5 TWh.

In spring 1997, the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers (TT) launched the Industry Action Programme for Promoting Sustainable Development ("Responsibility for the Environment and Welfare"). The programme was prepared and published as part of the programmes of major groups before UNGASS. The Action Program is one stage of the continuous process of promoting environmental protection and sustainable development within Finnish industry, preceded by other voluntary initiatives, e.g. the "Guidelines for environmental care and protection in Finnish industry" from the year 1988. For the implementation of the Action Program, TT has prepared material on environmental management for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially models and check-lists for co-operation between bigger companies and their suppliers ("SMEs and Environment - Partnership in Production").

Industry has also undertaken a number of energy conservation initiatives:


Due to its natural resources base, Finland's industrial production has traditionally been raw material-intensive and energy-intensive and, moreover, relatively dependent on the import of raw materials and energy. However, during recent years, the production structure has rapidly become more diversified (e.g. electronics and other high-tech industries). By the same token, Finland boasts a high standard of expertise in environmental technology. Finland is also actively participating in international cooperation (e.g. Nordic countries, OECD) on eco-efficiency.

The consumption of energy is efficient by international standards. Finland gives high priority to energy matters, particularly because it is a northerly country with cold climatic conditions and energy-intensive industry. Finland's energy intensity is significantly higher than the OECD-Europe average but at about the OECD average.

Environmental protection standards in industry stand up well to international comparison also with respect to efficiency in use of raw materials as well as reduction in emissions. Water and air pollution have been reduced substantially both by improvements in processing techniques and by cleaning emissions. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions from energy production have grown in volume. The greatest challenge Finland faces is to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. In addition to quantitative targets, targets in the programmes and strategies are often qualitative. Specific norms are set by more detailed action plans, legislation and regulations.

Many companies have adopted or are introducing voluntary environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001 and the EU EMAS system, including certification and verification procedures.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

In order to speed up the implementation of the Government Programme for Sustainable Development, the Ministry of the Environment has launched or will in the near future launch several projects which support changes in especially consumption. They include development of environmental management systems for the commercial sectors (in the first phase development of environment management system for the Association of Finnish Technical Traders); production of life-cycle information on environmental impact of ecological construction criteria and products especially using the internet as a media; development of environmental management systems for the public administration in co-operation with other Nordic countries and local authorities (in the first phase a report on the current situation of using green criteria in public procurement and a related national seminar); collecting good examples and practices on eco-efficiency to be published and distributed e.g. though the internet; promoting the use of voluntary agreement on the use of organic farming products; comparison of life-cycle effects of organic and conventional farming.

Environmental education and training of the whole personnel is seen important in companies, in order to get environmental responsibility as an essential skill. In many companies environmental education has been carried out in connection with the building and introduction of environmental management systems. In some companies environmental education and training has been extended to main contractors and suppliers, too. As an example, significant efforts have been focused in pulp and paper industry on those responsible for forest harvesting. In chemical industry, a special project on environmental, health and safety education in companies is going on as a part of the Responsible Care Program.

A co-operation project between environmental authorities, schools and industry at local and regional levels is going on, in order to increase knowledge on industry-related environmental issues among young people.

The Nordic eco-labeling system helps to raise awareness of sustainable consumption patterns. The Finnish Standards Association SFS runs the Finnish eco-labeling body which is part of the joint Nordic environmental labeling program. An Environmental Labeling Board has been established to decide the criteria for issuing the Swan Label. The members of the board represent consumer and environmental authorities, trade and industry, and organizations on consumer and environmental protection. SFS also administers the European Union eco label system in Finland.

The roles of different Ministries and other governmental bodies in education and training for sustainable consumption can be described in the following way:

Ministry of the Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute

Regional Environment Centres

Ministry of Education and the National Board of Education

Ministry of Trade and Industry and the National Consumer Administration

Many actors in Finland provide waste advisory services: environmental authorities, municipalities, waste management companies and a few NGOs. The Finnish Environment Institute provides the following waste-related support services:

The Nature school network (30 schools) is taking part in directing consumption towards sustainable development. Nature schools are becoming increasingly active in life-long learning activities, for example, by supporting eco-tourism and the development of rural areas.

The Central Finland Regional Environment Center carried out a project called School, commerce and environmental impacts. In the project, pupils applied their own learning initiatives to study product life-cycle assessments, the supply of eco-labeled products, the implementation of the environmental programmes of commerce and eco-marketing. The result will be a workbook for environmental education (on consumption) for use by comprehensive schools, secondary schools and vocational schools.

The National Consumer Administration uses the following ways to heighten environmental awareness:

NGOs have also been active in this field. The most active has been the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, which has started a project called Responsible Consumption, including a fair Sustainable Finland. For the project they have produced several brochures: Responsible Consumption- Ecoefficiently and Moderately and Choose Organic. Other NGOs (Friends of the Earth, The Finnish Consumers' Association, Agriculture and Household Women, Traffic Association, Dodo, and GAP) also have environment-related consumer campaigns.

There are many magazines and programmes on environmental issues in Finland. For example, the Ministry of the Environment publishes a monthly magazine. The Finnish national broadcasting company YLE has two weekly environmental TV-programmes which are quite popular. The other is Environment News, a programme on current environmental news and issues and the other The Ecoist, a programme specifically geared towards sustainable consumption and life-style issues. The Environment News was initially financially supported by the Ministry of the Environment.

NGOs have organized the Recycling Movement, which comprises 26 organizations. In the last few years they have emphasized the prevention of waste, but other activities concern recycling, composting and so on. Advice is given by means of events (e.g. Recycling Fair), brochures, the Internet and exhibitions (e.g. Repair, renovate and maintain in 1997, organized together with authorities).

Motiva, which is an independent, non-profit Energy Information Center mainly funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, supports and encourages energy saving activities and the use of renewable energy sources by promoting and distributing information, developing and marketing energy audits and other energy management procedures, and by promoting the implementation of energy efficient technologies. Changes in behavior, which will lead to efficient energy use, can be encouraged through information campaigns and training. Motiva's information services are versatile. The aim is to concentrate on highlighting the benefits to be gained from energy efficiency and to provide concrete guidelines for action. Influencing by way of examples is essential in Motiva's holistic approach, which includes visible publicity, seminars and workshops, fairs and exhibitions, brochures, guides and publications, the Motiva Xpress newsletter, the Internet (, and the National Energy Awareness Week.


There is an abundance of information available. One challenging area has been the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and their capacity to improve their environmental performance. This has been identified in the Government Programme for Sustainable Development as an area where action and information are needed.

Information is made available through various media. Ministries and other agencies have information and advisory services, there are public awareness campaigns in the mass media etc. Relevant material is also directly distributed to relevant users. The use of internet has become more and more popular. Useful starting point addresses are e.g.:
(Ministry of Trade and Industry)
(Environmental Administration)
(Council of State, links to all the ministries etc.)

An ad hoc committee on eco-exports (1995) made an inventory on Finnish strategies and know-how in the field of environmentally sound technologies and products.

The National Consumer Administration produces information on the quality, price, safety, environmental effects and other important characteristics of products as well as consumers' rights, obligations and position on the market. The National Consumer Administration publishes Kuluttaja, a magazine which appears eight times a year. The magazine is available at libraries and is on sale at newsstands. Other materials are generally provided free of charge. They are usually available in Finnish and Swedish. Materials are also distributed by municipal consumer advisors.

In the autumn of 1997, the Ministry of the Environment set up an inter-ministerial working group with a mandate to prepare a proposal for Finnish indicators for sustainable development and to test the United Nations CAD indicators for sustainable development (ISD) developed at the pilot phase of the CAD work programme on ISDs. The aim of indicators is to describe progress on the key sectors of sustainable development. They will include several indicators specifically on consumption and production or with clear relevance to these issues.

The work on Finnish national indicators for sustainable development has reached its first goal. Crucial areas for different dimensions of sustainable development have been evaluated, and issues which should be observed have been pointed out. The process has been transparent, consisting of seminars and public hearings. The next phase, a proposal for indicators, will be finalized by the end of 1998. In 1997 all 134 CSD indicators were evaluated. A total of 57 indicators were chosen for testing and of those 52 were reported on at the end of 1997. The progress report is available via Internet

In addition Finland and South Africa have agreed to "twin" in the testing process. A separate joint report will be available at the turn of the year.

The Ministry of the Environment has supported work on sectoral environmental programmes and indicators. An important milestone was the development of the Environmental Programme for Forestry in Finland adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment in 1994. Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management were approved in December 1995. Transport and natural resources (including agriculture) sectors have ongoing indicator development as an integral part of their policy formulation and evaluation processes.

Research and Technologies 

Discussions on the topic of 'Green Industries' has led to a need to emphasize the greening of all industries, not just a separate sector or cluster of industry. Environmental policy instruments (such as eco labeling) and industrial policy instruments (such as technology research) help in this direction. An important incentive for industries to become greener is also provided for by the markets.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has research programmes on energy technology, such as NEMO 2 on new forms of energy and energy technology.

Relatively comprehensive and broadly based research on sustainable development is already under way in Finland, particularly in natural sciences, engineering, agriculture, forestry and health. Virtually all research fields include aspects on production and consumption. A research programme was launched in spring 1998 with the aim of advancing environmentally sound technology and strengthening the Finnish environmental cluster. The programme includes a number of research projects which aim at efficient raw material and energy recovery. In fact, the basic aim of the whole cluster research programme is to reduce environmental damage and create new jobs by increasing the level of ecological efficiency in various branches of industry.

The program will be implemented in 1997 - 2000. The projects considered eligible at the first stage will concentrate on increasing the knowledge base of eco-efficiency. The primary tools will be life cycle analysis and assessment of material flows. This will help to expand the environmental responsibility for production and consumption from the acquisition of raw materials and energy to the entire life cycle of the product, including manufacturing, use and disposal.

The program will address the overall exploitation of natural resources and the possibilities to reduce it at the level of the national economy. The life cycle approach will be applied to agriculture, forestry, basic metal industry, electronics industry, and water management. The ways to manage environmental issues and to develop competencies into products will be promoted in projects focusing on integrated prevention and control of emissions, reduction and re-use of waste flows and prevention of eutrophication. Environmentally friendly infrastructures will be developed in projects focusing on community structure, traffic system, street construction and trade in perishables.

Many of the projects so far included in the research program address the efficient use of energy as part of the efforts to reduce emissions. The challenges and possibilities in the prevention of climatic change will be explored through a separate targeted call of applications. The themes outlined on the basis of the preliminary plans include the cost effectiveness and acceptability of the methods used to reduce emissions and the possibilities of applying Finnish expertise in joint implementation.

Sustainable development is also well to the fore in research funded by the Technology Development Center of Finland (TEKES) as well as other technology-related research projects.

The Finnish Government has augmented its research budget for 1997-1999 by one-quarter. The research budget for 1999 alone is FIM 7.5 billion. Combined with supplementary funding from private investors and allocations made under earlier Government decisions, the total sum of research funding will rise to 2.9% of GDP. This extra funding will provide an invaluable boost to research activities and it will enable Finland to make a pioneering contribution to environmental technology and sustainable development.

With respect to using environmentally sound technologies for sustainable production, the primary objective of the Technology Development Center Tekes is to promote the competitiveness of Finnish industry and the service sector by technological means. Tekes has information services, various research programmes and projects.

An ad hoc committee on eco-exports (1995) made an inventory on Finnish strategies and know-how in the field of environmentally sound technologies and products.

The 1997 Energy Strategy calls on R&D aimed at efficient use of energy to continue as well as to bring new technologies to the market. R&D is focused on the commercial utilization of research and on promoting industrial competitiveness.


No information is available


There are many fora in which Finland cooperates with other countries. The most important ones are the EU, OECD, Nordic cooperation, cooperation in the Baltic Sea area (e.g. sustainable development programme Baltic 21 and the Helsinki Commission), bi- and multilateral development aid, cooperation with the neighboring areas (especially with the Baltic countries and Russia) and various UN bodies.

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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998

Click here for the Finnish Environment Institute, and information on Environmental Policy Instruments.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

New Economic Instruments

Since 1999, the following environmentally scaled economic instruments are in use:

1. a surtax on alcoholic beverages (so-called disposable drink carton tax);

2. a surtax on soft drinks;

3. a pesticide fee;

4. Energy taxes (including electricity tax);

5. an oil waste fee;

6. a motorcar and motorcycle tax;

7. a tax on charter flights;

8. a water protection fee;

9. an oil pollution fee;

10. a vehicle tax (so-called sticker tax);

11. a motor vehicle tax (so-called diesel tax); and

12. National Waste Tax

13. a deposit refund system for beverage containers

The Finnish standard value added tax (VAT) rate is 22 per cent. In 1998 the Finnish system of reduced VAT rates was simplified to two reduced rates of 8 and 17. Fuels, electricity and heat are subjected to the full 22 per cent tax.

Energy Taxation

The latest energy tax bill came into force 1 September 1998. Both the CO2 tax and electricity tax were raised by 24 %. The CO2 rate was set to 102 FIM/tCO2 and the rate for electricity 4,1/2,5 p/kWh. In order to further improve the competitiveness of natural gas, the charge laid upon it has been reduced by 50 per cent. For similar reasons, the tax rate of peat is somewhat lower compared to the amount based on carbon content, although since September 1998 the tax rate on peat was raised considerably compared to the earlier level.

Waste act

The newest environmental tax, national waste tax, based on The Waste Act, came into force in late 1996. In practice it applies only to waste brought to the landfill sites. The tax is restricted to the municipal landfills, which means that this tax does not apply to private landfills, such as industrial waste dumps. The landfill site operator is responsible for paying the tax to the state. The tax rate has been FIM 90/tone of waste since 1996 and does not differ according to the quality of waste.

A number of changes and amendments were introduced in the Waste Act at the beginning of 1999, the main aim being to make the recovery and utilization of wastes on landfill sites exempt from the tax. This also applies to the utilization of waste for construction purposes on landfill sites.

Voluntary Agreements

A range of voluntary agreements are implemented in the Finnish environmental policy. Agreement between the packaging industry and the Ministry of the Environment are established for target recovery rates and recycling rates. Sine June 1996 a voluntary agreement on the re-use and handling of tyres is also in force. Voluntary agreements are also an integral component on the Government’s decision on future energy policy and energy savings programme.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Budget and economic data

Finland doesn’t differentiate a particular part of her national budget for financing sustainable development. However, one of the main objectives of the Government policies is the strengthening of the principles of sustainable development in different sectors of society, especially with regard to the management of natural resources and the environment. The development of ecological accounting of both the national economy and the Government sector is particularly important.

Energy taxation

Finland's environment based energy taxation system was revised at the beginning of 1997. Previously energy taxes were levied on fuels and the carbon/energy tax was based for 60% on the carbon content of the fuel and 40% on its energy content. Renewable energy sources were exempted. In addition to the carbon / energy tax a special tax was levied on nuclear, hydro power and electricity.

The different structure of the system and the high level of taxation in respect to other countries caused problems for the competitiveness of Finnish industry and power production, and the system was not completely in line with the legislation of the European Union. The system was also problematic in view of the development of the Nordic electricity exchange .

The essence of the revision was the introduction of an electricity tax applied to all consumed electricity and having two tax rates. The lower rate is applied to industry and professional greenhouse cultivators. Instead of charging the production of electricity the consumption of electricity is no taxed.

The revision of electricity taxation was not beneficial to small power producers using renewable energy sources. To retain the competitiveness of renewable energy sources the electricity tax is refunded to power plants producing wind, wood and wood-based energy. The amount refunded is based on the lower electricity tax rate. Wind power producers , for example, receive a tax refund equal to the higher tax rate. Since the beginning of September 1998 power production based on waste gases from metallurgical processes has also been included in this refund scheme. In addition, an industrial company which has paid energy taxes more than 3,7 % of its value added has a right to a partial refund.

In 1997 taxes on fuels for heat generation and on traffic fuels were restructured, from a carbon/energy basis to a carbon-only basis. The tax rate was set to 70 FIM per ton of CO2 in 1997 and was raised to 82 FIM/tCO2 from the beginning of 1998. As fuels for heat generation are taxed according to this pattern, the fuels for power production are no longer subject to taxation. Therefore, the system of taxes on combined heat and power generation is complex one as fuels are used to produce both these energy forms. Special regulations therefore exist on how fuels are divided between heat and power. The system is designed to foster combined heat and power.

The latest energy tax bill came into force 1 September 1998. Both the CO2 tax and electricity tax were raised by 24 %. The CO2 rate was set to 102 FIM/tCO2 and the rate for electricity 4,1/2,5 p/kWh. In order to further improve the competitiveness of natural gas, the charge laid upon it has been reduced by 50 per cent. For similar reasons, the tax rate of peat is somewhat lower compared to the amount based on carbon content, although since September 1998 the tax rate on peat was raised considerably compared to the earlier level.

In addition to the CO2 tax a fiscal tax is levied on gasoline, diesel and light fuel oil. This fiscal tax is differentiated to promote environmental protection. In the case of motor petrol there is a lower tax on unleaded and reformulated grades, and in the case of diesel oil the desulphurised grade, dominant in the market, has a lower levy. Furthermore, oil products are subject to an oil pollution fee and precautionary stock fee. The latter is levied also on coal, gas and electricity.

Electricity delivered to railway traffic is exempt from the tax on electricity and the strategic stockpile fee. Aviation spirit and kerosene for flying purposes, methane, LPG and marked vaporizing oil for boats are also exempt from the tax.

Elimination of Subsidies

Subsidy systems with a harmful effect on the environment will be removed. For example, subsidies for transportation of goods have to a large extent been abolished.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

FDI to Finland follows the same rules and regulations as domestic investments. The Finnish FDIs receive some export credits and guarantees. However, these credits and guarantees don't seem to be subject to same kinds of environmental assessments and guidelines as development cooperation for example.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

The National Budget and economic data

For 1999, the State targeted 4,2 milliard FIM for environmental expenditures (2,1% of the whole budget). For 2000 3.7 milliard FIM will be targeted (1.9 % of the whole budget). In addition to this the Finnish municipalities target financial resources for the environmental expenditures. In year 1997 this amounted to 3.8 milliard FIM.

Finland also publishes a "green budget". "Finland's Natural Resources and the Environment" was first published as an annex for the Government proposal for the 1995 budget, and since then as a yearly publication. These reports review the trends in the main sectors of the economy - industry, forests, energy, transport and agriculture - from the environmental point of view.


See under Decision Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

The National Budget and economic data

The Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Technology Development Center, and the Academy of Finland have together launched a research programme called Environmental Cluster Programme 1997-2000. The programme is a collaborative project between researchers, enterprises, authorities and funding organizations aiming to seek new ways of saving the environment and natural resources and to develop them into environmentally friendly products, production technologies and infrastructure. Eco-efficiency is one of the major themes in the programme. Altogether this research programme will get 80-100 million FIM in its working period.

The majority of Finnish research and development money comes from industry, amounting to some 11.6 billion Finnish Markka in 1997. The Government provided an additional 5.3 billion Finnish Markka for technology research, which yields a total of 16.9 billion Finnish Markka or 2.7% of GDP. The Government’s funds are channeled through the Technology Development Center (Tekes), which operates under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Academy of Finland, which operates under the Ministry of Education, and the Sitra Fund (Finnish National Fund for Research and Development), whose operations are mainly financed through income from endowment investment and project finance. Tekes, for example, channels approximately 10% of its yearly budget for research on new technology for the research made in the sphere of environmental technology. In addition to this the Ministry for the Environment enhances and supports the product development and implementation of the environmental technology with its own financial resources. Altogether some 200 million FIM is annually invested by the public sector into the research made in the fields of environmental technology.

All these institutions and private industry work together on a number of national research programmes, which aim to develop energy-efficient and environmentally sound technologies which are competitive in the international market place. Tekes’ energy technology programmes in 1998 were:

• Liekki 2: combustion and gasification technology;

• Bio-energy: technologies for the use of biomass and peat;

• Sihti 2: environmental technology;

• Nemo 2: advanced energy systems and technology;

• Fusion: fusion energy;

• Mobile: energy use in transportation;

• Sustainable Paper: energy use in paper and board production.


Reports and Information

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for International Development Cooperation continues to compile extensive statistical reporting to OECD/Development Assistance Committee, annually. On a pilot basis, this reporting is expected to differentiate, as from the fall of 1999 onwards, also the development efforts directed towards the implementation of international environmental conventions (OECD/DAC Pilot Study on Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Rio Conventions), so as to facilitate examining national efforts and making comparisons between different countries' performance in this respect. The main parts of this statistical reporting are available at the OECD's web-site

The information regarding the possibilities for financing sustainable development in developing countries is available to potential users through various means. For the governments and officials of developing countries and those of the international organizations this information comes primarily through continuous dialogue with our diplomatic service or through cooperation and contacts between the respective headquarters. The annual availability of ODA support to the NGO's for their development cooperation programmes is advertised in the Finnish media and the information is generally available through the internet, as well. Same procedures apply to the possibilities of the private sector, at large, to participate in the projects through procurements generally based on competitive bidding. The information is available through internet at in official languages of the country (Finnish and Swedish) and, partly, in English, as well.

The financial aspects linked with sustainable development in the national level are also subject to some reporting. The use of economic instruments in Finnish environmental policy is included in a survey published regularly by the Nordic Council of Ministers latest: Nordic Council of Ministers: The Use of Economic Instruments in Nordic Environmental Policy 1997-1999, www.norden org.). Finland also reports to the Environmental Policy Committee of OECD on the use of economic instruments, environmental taxes, charges and subsidies for environmental protection every 3-5 years. The latest report was released in 1999 and included also reporting on natural resources management. In 1996 Finland also reported to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) on the use of environmental taxation and voluntary agreements. This report can be obtained from the EEA -web-site, Information on the Finnish environmental Taxes can also be obtained from the Database on environmental taxes in the European Union Member states, plus Norway and Switzerland

The National Budget and economic data

In Finland, economic data on environmental protection is collected from industries and the public sector. Data on environmental expenditure by industry, based on questionnaires sent to industrial establishments in a sampling survey, has been published yearly since 1994. The last survey was published 1997.

With regard to eco-industries, a pilot study was started in 1994, and the final report containing preliminary conclusions on the method of data collection was published in May 1995. Statistics Finland published an article "Eco-industries" giving a preliminary view over the amount and field if eco-industries in Finland. This article can be obtained from the Statistics Finland web -site,

Statistics Finland (TK) has recently been working on the issues of material flows and eco-efficiency. In early 1999 TK published a pilot study on material flows called "Material Flow Accounting as a Measure of Total Consumption of Natural Resources. A publication called "Current Measuring of the Eco-efficiency of the Finnish Economy" will be published by late 1999.

A study on the environmental expenditure in the public sector was started by Statistics Finland in January 1995, and it continued through 1996. The collection of data is based on the book-keeping of the municipalities and central government (Ministry of the Environment, Finnish Environment Institute, and 13 regional environmental centers) and covers use and maintenance of water resources, environmental protection, international environmental cooperation with Finland's neighboring countries, water and environmental administrational, land-use and environmental protection by the communities, oil pollution fee and the nuclear waste fee).

Research and Technologies 

The National Budget and economic data

Development of energy technology is one of the key activities in Finnish energy policy and also plays a key role in the Energy Strategy. Development and deployment of advanced energy technology is particularly important given the Government’s emphasis on energy efficiency and renewables in the strategy. The development of energy technology is also relevant for trade energy technology being a trade article.


Environmentally motivated subsidies

In the case of subsidies for environmental protection, the basic principle is to support research and development, and demonstration plants. It is also essential to take into account the EU criteria for government subsidies, and to ensure that Finnish companies are not placed in a less favorable position than their competitors in other countries.

Agri-environmental aid

According to the EU-regulations, the usual good farming practice is a precondition for the subsidies for agricultural production. There are no environmentally unsustainable subsidies to be identified.

Aid for building conservation

Subsidy and grant systems for the restoration and management of Finland's architectural heritage will also be developed to ensure that the action called for in the Building Conservation Act can be financially assisted. The regional environment centers and the National Board of Antiquities also give out grants for restoration and building conservation.

Environmental conservation loans and guarantee systems

The investment aid ( including aid to small and medium sized firms) granted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for regional development purposes is one of the important tools for industrial and regional development in the country. A Government Resolution of aid to business in 1993 stated that in assessing the projects eligible for funding , positive environmental implications should be taken into account as when allocating the funds.

In environmental protection guarantee is introduced by Finnvera Ltd, a government owned company specialised in funding for SME industries. The guarantee may be granted for investments in environmental protection.

The Ministry for Trade and Industry, under its Energy Aid Scheme, awards grants for development and investment projects that promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy or reduce environmental hazards associated with energy production usage. The Energy Aid scheme aims to encourage the introduction of new technologies in particular. Both enterprises and organizations are eligible for energy grants for 25-50 per cent.

Grants for promotion of environmental protection

In 1997 approximately 27 million FIM was provided by the State Budget in grants to projects aimed at improving environmental protection. Projects eligible for this form of grant must be committed to developing environmentally sound technology and products. Waste management and material recycling projects also qualify for this type of funding.

Grants for water management

In 1997 approximately 44 million FIM were appropriated through the State Budget to water management investments. The grants are mainly used to promote municipal water services in rural areas and to improve potential for using ground water. The grants are largely used to subsidize investment in water and wastewater treatment equipment, including sewers.

Environmentally-motivated tax concessions

Environmental protection is also supported through the taxation system. See chapter The National Budget above for more information.


Development Cooperation

The Finnish Development Cooperation Strategy presented to the Parliament in 1993 is clearly based on the principle of sustainable development. Finland supports either bilaterally or multilaterally various basic needs programmes implemented jointly with the local population in fields involving ecologically sustainable production methods, water supply and sanitation, education, agriculture and forestry. This has evolved through the EIA process of bilateral projects, and through participation in the OECD/DAC environmental coherence work. In addition, the Department for Development Cooperation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has prepared environmental guidelines and manuals and included the aspects related to environmentally sustainable development in its more general policy or guidance documents.

Finland supports capacity-building both through multilateral and bilateral channels. One of the main multilateral channels is UNDP and its Capacity 21 programme. Several other multilateral arrangements , including GEF and IFI's, notably the World Bank Group, have undertaken efforts and enjoy both substantive and financial support by Finland in this field.

In bilateral aid, one of the key goals is the reduction of poverty. In its efforts to achieve functional results in the alleviation of poverty the Government of Finland will, in accordance with the decision-in-principle on Finland's development cooperation (12.9.1996):

- channel assistance directly into the development of human resources and independent capacities of developing countries;

- emphasize the importance of basic education and health services as crucial for enabling the poor to participate;

- focus increasingly on the security of food supply in developing countries and its promotion by their environmentally sustainable independent production of food; and

- step up action aimed at strengthening the participation of women in social and economic activities.

Finland is also active in promoting sustainable development in developing countries. According to the above-mentioned decision-in-principle the Government will, for example:

- emphasize the importance of environmental considerations in all activities with a view to forestalling threats, and creating conditions conducive to prosperity based on the sustainable use of natural resources;

- support environmental programmes and the development of environmental administration;

- take into account the principles of sustainable development in supporting agricultural and forestry programmes;

- support developing countries in fulfilling their environmental obligations; and

- practice and further develop procedures emphasizing the independent decision-making authority and participation of the partner in cooperation and relevant interest groups.

The adoption in 1997 and application of new 'Guidelines for Programme Design, Monitoring and Evaluation' have further assisted in enhancing the quality of bilateral development efforts in this respect. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also been in a position to strengthen its sectoral expertise in this field, recently, so as to mitigate the effects of staff constraints encountered earlier in the decade. The Department of Development Cooperation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has recently increased its environmental personnel significantly.

Finland is participating in the process of the renovation of EU Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines in developing assistance projects, and expects these guidelines to replace Finland's current guidelines in future.

In October 1998 the Government of Finland confirmed, through a Cabinet level decision, the central premises and goals of FINLAND'S POLICY ON RELATIONS WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. This policy is based on the 1993 strategy and 1996 decision-in-principle and it entails the centrality of sustainable development and relevant concepts such as global security, reduction of widespread poverty, promotion of respect for human rights and democracy, prevention of global environmental problems as well as increasing economic interaction.

In practice, the coherence built on these premises and goals enhances the quality of aid efforts as well as strengthens the resolve to take into account the above mentioned premises and goals as a global agenda in all other international relations, as well, be they bilateral or multilateral. This applies, especially, to the implementation and follow up of the agreed action programmes of the major UN conferences of the 90'ies. This policy document can be viewed at

The proportional share of technical and financial assistance to support the efforts of developing countries in the field of sustainable development has been on the increase for some time, recently reaching the level of 20 to 25 per cent . In line with the OECD/DAC directives on statistical reporting, the Finnish data base on development assistance commitments includes a marker system that can separate projects that contain environmentally relevant aspects, either so that the projects are designed to improve the status of the environment or they integrate, in other ways, environmental concerns into the activities of the intervention. In 1997 24,7 per cent of all bilateral development assistance commitments were given this label, the corresponding share in 1998 was 20,4 per cent.

Assistance for Central and Eastern Europe

 Since 1990 cooperation with neighboring countries has formed an integral part of Finland's foreign policy and economic cooperation. Finland has channeled more than FIM 5 billion into supporting the historic processes of change in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Further information environmental cooperation in English can be obtained at

The overall aim of cooperation is to promote general stability, democracy and socially sustainable development. In Russia special attention is given to improving nuclear safety and to reducing environmental hazards. Finland has invested around FIM 150 million in environmental cooperation projects particularly in the development of water sector. Over 60 environmental investment projects and close to 300 technical aid programs have already been completed.

In the Baltic Republics environmental cooperation has focused on the protection of the Baltic Sea. The future focus of environmental cooperation will be to facilitate the EU integration. Future challenges include integration of environmental aspects in other sectors' activities as well as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th, 6th and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

Click here for the National Statistics Office.
Click here for Finland's Development Cooperation.
Click here for Finnish Assisted Joint Environmental Projects in Eastern Europe 1996-97.
For information on participating States in the Global Environment Fund, click here:


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Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development has a subcommittee on production and consumption, finance and transfer of technology. In addition, both technology centers at different universities and technology fairs bring together stakeholders with a view to promote and improve the selection, transfer and application of environmentally sound technologies.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Economic instruments are used to promote technological innovation in specific sectors, such as water and waste management (for example, user charges for sewage treatment and waste management; national charge for waste disposal and management; charges on pesticides; charges on lubricant oil; and taxes on beverage containers).

There is a deposit system for returnable bottles. This also includes wine, spirit and beer bottles that are not reused as beverage containers but recycled as raw material. A new deposit-refund system for disposable beverage containers (aluminum and steel cans) entered into force as of 1 December 1995.

Environmentally motivated subsidies include: Grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy; grants and loans for research and development; environmental conservation loans and guarantee systems; and agri-environmental aid.

In Finland there are several ecolabels to inform the consumers about environmental considerations. The most important ones are the Nordic Eco-Label and the EU eco-label.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Environmental soundness is considered to be an integral part of any new technology, and accordingly this means that the development and transfer of ESTs is supported in the same way as any new technology. Technology policy is one of the most important parts of Finland's industrial policy, and the Government is both increasing the funding of R&D as well as improving the effectiveness of the existing innovations. More financial and human resources, improved data bases and exchange of information sources/systems and study visits are proposed to improve access to and efficient use of information sources/systems related to environmentally sound technologies.

Finland has no general policy or strategy for the promotion of innovation in the area of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs). However, Finland grants subsidies to research and development of Environmental Sound Technologies and to development of models of activities in this area. Governmental guidelines of the subsidies for the promotion of environmental protection have been adopted and they are applied.

There is national legislation to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) which is also applicable to promote investments related to transfer ESTs. This legislation is compatible with applicable international agreements.

Finland also promotes the use of ESTs through its development aid. According to the newly published Development Cooperation Guidelines for Programme Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, technology is a part of society's products, processes and institutions and is a major force in social and political change. In a development project, technology refers to much more than the equipment or the tools which are used, and this has far-reaching implications on sustainability.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

It is important that end users participate in the assessment and selection of the technology to be used. The technology employed should be socially and politically acceptable, affordable and compatible with the available human and material resources, replicable as well as ecologically sustainable. In its ideal form, the technology employed in a development project makes use of existing traditions and contributes to greater local, national or regional independence. It promotes creative human activity and should, in this way, lead to the creation of more appropriate technologies.

In 1994-1995, the Confederation of Finnish Industrial Employers (TT), the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Finnish Environment Agency carried out a joint project regarding sound management of environmental affairs by SMEs. After the cooperation project, further steps for improving environmental management in SME's are being planned.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available


Although energy-related pollution is still rather minor in many parts of the developing world, it is rapidly increasing. Thus a great deal of attention must be paid to counteract this development. To this effect Finland has supported energy efficiency and conservation projects related to the problems of power transmission and distribution. Finland has also supported national policies that promote energy conservation and efficiency. Greater efficiency in the use of coal and other fossil fuels has been achieved by introducing and developing new technologies in electricity generation and combined heat and power generation.

Over the long term, it is important to gradually introduce renewable energy resources. Finland's work with renewable energy has mostly been directed at developing the use of hydropower and biomass. Finland has also supported the establishment of appropriate data records for wind and solar energy through the meteorological development programmes.

Finland has also provided assistance to promote sustainable management of forests, that is, greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs. These activities include afforestation and community forestry programmes, adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, comprehensive forestry planning and watershed management.

Environmentally-sound technologies are most needed in the Forest industry and metal industry, which are important sectors of the Finnish economy. The environmental performance of small- and medium-size industry (SMEs) -- which often has more limited resources -- needs to be improved in various ways, including through the use of ESTs.

Environmentally-sound technologies are promoted in many ways, including through the application of energy and environmental taxes and support to research programmes on alternative energy technologies. The Technology Development Center (TEKES) and Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT), in particular, contribute to the development and use of ESTs.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


The Finnish Foreign Trade Association publishes the Finnish Environmental and Technological Review (ENVIROTEC) yearly. Its sources of information are the following: Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT); Technology Development Center (TEKES); Chemical Industry Federation; Central Association of Finnish Forest Industries; Federation of Finnish Metal Engineering and Electrochemical Industries (FIMET); and the Finnish Foreign Trade Association.

In collaboration with the Finnish Foreign Trade Association, Finnish administration, enterprises and research institutes are developing a new Internet-based information system of environmental technology. The links and network of the system are under development. The system is planned to be in action at the end of 1998. The contact person is Export Promotion Manager Aarno Karttunen in the Finnish Foreign Trade Association.



Research and Technologies   

No information is available


Already now Finland has a substantial environmental portfolio. For example Finland has specific programmes and financial arrangements for transferring environmentally sound technology to combat climate change. In this field Finland supports cleaner power and heat generation options with grants, concessional credits and development credit financing.

A great part of Finland's pre-mixed concessional credits of USD 693 million has been used for transferring environmentally sound technologies, such as pulp and paper, energy production and waste water treatment technologies to developing countries.

FINNFUND was established in order to promote economic and social development in developing countries by transferring human and material resources. Most of the funds have been utilized for projects in forestry as well as in energy and transportation.


Finland emphasizes the role of development aid in supporting developing countries to fulfill their international environmental obligations. Finland has continued to support several multilateral assistance programmes and organizations aiming at technology transfer, such as the Global Environmental Facility, The Ozone Fund, UNEP and UNDP.

Finland's share of environmental technology in the export markets can be increased, especially in the markets in close proximity to Finland, provided that financing for the investment can be raised. The most important countries receiving support for the transfers of environmentally sound technologies from Finland are developing countries and the neighboring countries with economies in transition.

The Technical Research Center of Finland has actively participated in international cooperation in the field of clean technologies and waste minimization.

Finland has also supported several multilateral assistance programmes and organizations aiming at technology transfer, such as the Global Environmental Facility, the Ozone Fund, UNEP's Clearing house and UNDP.


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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 December 1997.



Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The official body established to deal with legal and policy issues related to environmentally sound management of biotechnology is the Board for Gene Technology which is subordinate to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Gene Technology Act (G.T.A.) is based on the two EU directives (90/219/EEC and 90/220/EEC). It entered into force the first of June 1995. In addition to the directives, the G.T.A. covers contained use of plants and animals. The purpose of the Gene Technology Act is to promote safe and ethically acceptable use of gene technology.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The National Advisory Board on Biotechnology, which has representatives from governmental institutions, industry, research and consumer organizations, is working as a advisory body for the Board for Gene Technology.

Programmes and Projects   

Two successful and significant programmes are The National Development Programme on Biotechnology for which the Technology Development Center is responsible and the Genome Research Programme for 1994-2000 conducted by the Academy of Finland. The evaluation has not yet been made. Finnish industrial enterprises have specialized in enzyme and foodstuffs technology, and the universities in transgenic animals.


No information is available


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


Public funding is to some extent available for public and private sector firms at the community level to innovate and market biotechnologies and to adopt effective measures for their environmentally sound application and management.


Finland participates in the Nordic Biotechnology Programme financed by the Nordic Industry Fund.


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This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th and 6th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 December 1997.

Click here for the Finnish Environment Institute/GMOs.
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Discussions on the topic of 'Green Industries' has led to a need to emphasize the greening of all industries, not just a separate sector or cluster of industry. Environmental policy instruments (such as eco-labeling) and industrial policy instruments (such as technology research) help in this direction. An important incentive for industries to become greener is also provided by the markets. An ad hoc committee on eco-exports (1995) made an inventory on Finnish strategies and know-how in the field of environmentally sound technologies and products.

At the beginning of 1995, an Act came into force in Finland on voluntary participation by companies in the industrial sector in an eco-management and audit scheme, or EMAS. The EU regulation on the matter, a valid law in Finland as such, is being implemented through this act, which contains the necessary supplementary provisions for national bodies, legal consequences and charges. The EMAS system was launched simultaneously in all EU member states on April 13, 1995

Many Finnish companies have committed themselves to the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development. In addition, major chemical companies follow the Responsible Care program. Various companies have also taken into use voluntary environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001 and the EU EMAS system.

Companies are widely using environmental impact assessment for evaluating the impacts of planned projects and investments. In this connection, environmental risks, caused by accidents or other exceptional occasions, are also frequently assessed. In addition, many companies use different kinds of life-cycle assessment methods for internal product design purposes. These tools are mainly used on a voluntary basis. However, environmental impact assessment is also mandatory to big companies according to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is no national policy or strategy for ecologically sustainable industrial development as such. However, the Finnish Government's programme for sustainable development (currently under preparation) will have a section on sustainable products, production and consumption, and the programme on sustainable consumption and production patterns (Ministry of Trade and Industry 1997) contained several recommendations. Furthermore, the Industrial Strategy of Finland (Ministry of Trade and Industry 1993) has integrated environmental issues into the strategy.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Economical sectors and industrial branches in addition to private enterprises are very interested in making their own eco-management and audit schemes or in applying EU's Environmental Management and Auditing System (EMAS) or the ISO 14 001 standard.

Programmes and Projects 

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed energy conservation agreements with the organizations of industry and employers, energy producers, energy distributors and with the organizations of local authorities. In addition, the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers and its branch organizations have prepared and launched an Industry Action Programme for Promoting Sustainable Development ("Responsibility for the Environment and Welfare" 1997). The main objectives of the programme continue to be improvement in the following fields: development of products and production methods; development of corporate culture and know-how; development of partnership with stakeholders. The programme also includes branch-specific qualitative targets. Industrial enterprises and industry federations are responsible for the implementation of the programme.


Industry has also undertaken a number of energy conservation initiatives:

In Finland the main pollutants from industry have been waste water discharges as well as emissions to air. However, water and air pollution have been reduced substantially both by improvements in processing techniques and by cleaning emissions. By now, the emissions of industry have been decreased to a level well beyond the targets set. Environmental protection standards in industry stand up well to international comparison also with respect to efficiency in use of raw materials as well as reduction in emissions. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions from energy production have grown in volume. The greatest challenge Finland faces is to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. The main problems are caused by other sources of pollution such as transboundary emissions and traffic.

Pollution of freshwater by industry is not a major problem: The organic load of industry has been decreased by 95 % and the load of phosphorus by 90 % since the beginning of the 1970s. The water quality water bodies which receive industrial waste water are mainly good. About 80 % of the Finnish lakes belong to the category of "good" or "excellent" water quality.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


Finnish companies are used to open disclosure of information on their environmental issues. In addition to company and site level environmental reports, branch-wise annual reports are published by the forest and chemical industries. The best environmental reports are annually awarded by a national jury.

For additional information on this topic, please refer to the following Web Site of the Ministry of Trade and Industry:
and the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers:

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


No information is available


No information is available


* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 5th, 6th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998.

Click here for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Click here for the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In Finland, the Ministry of Transport and Communications bears the main responsibility for transport policy. There are also seven Government departments and agencies (e.g. Finnish National Road Administration, Finnish Maritime Administration, Vehicle Administration and Finnish Rail Administration), one state-owned enterprise (Finnish Civil Aviation Administration) and seven state-owned companies (e.g. VR Group Ltd, Finnair Plc) operating within the purview of the Ministry.  The Central Organization for Traffic Safety in Finland (Liikenneturva) is also supervised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The Ministry of Finance bears the main responsibility for economic management, and land use planning that is closely connected with transport system planning is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment. Finnish municipalities have the right to decide to a quite large extent their matters related to the planning and implementation of land use and street networks as well as public and non-motorized transport.

Cooperation within the administrative sector is quite close. The Ministry monitors the work of its departments and agencies through annual result goals and various forms of cooperation groups. Unincorporated state enterprises and state-owned companies that are themselves responsible for their financing also take part in cooperation, but naturally with no profit responsibility. The environmental policy of transport and cooperation in environmental issues are based on the administrative sector’s environmental management system of the ISO 14 001 type. 

The goals of result management are endeavored to be adjusted in the best possible way  to the environmental goals defined in the environmental programme. Cooperation in environmental issues is organized through a particular cooperation group “LIHAVA” whose member are responsible for those issues within their administrative sector. It meets around 6 times a year and it includes representatives from the Ministry, Finnish National Road Administration, Finnish Maritime Administration, Finnish Civil Aviation Administration, Finnish Rail Administration and Vehicle Administration.

Cooperation between administrative sectors includes not only working groups but also various commenting practices. In environmental issues, the Ministry’s closest partner is the Ministry of the Environment. Permanent Secretaries and the assisting civil servants of these Ministries meet about 6 times a year in “meetings of the Permanent Secretaries”, which are an important channel for discussion and exchange of information. Other particularly important cooperation groups include the Finnish Committee for Sustainable Development and working groups related to climate change.

In Finland, the municipalities have traditionally had the right to decide their own matters to a rather large extent. Therefore, most decisions on transport systems can be made in each town. Furthermore, in terms of monitoring by results, the organizations within the Ministry’s sector operate rather independently. The objective is that the ministries would concentrate on general guidelines of transport policy whereas the sub organizations would carry out the practical work in accordance with the Ministry’s guidelines.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The most important acts impacting on transport and included in the national legislation are the Land Use and Building Act, Environmental Protection Act and Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure. 

The emission standards in Finland comply with EU emission standards (see

Since 1994 the Vehicle Administration has conducted research on the emission exhausts from cars now in use. It checks and approves the operating characteristics of new vehicles on the market, including emissions. A vehicle may be entered into the register only if it meets the requirements of the European type approval. The fuel tax on road traffic is partly based on the emissions from vehicles. The basic tax on sulphur-free, unleaded gasoline is lower and the additional tax is based on carbon content (FIM 70 / 1000 kg CO2). Finland was among the first countries in Europe who introduced the CO2 tax.

In Finland, public participation in transport policy is primarily organized by EIA, environmental impact assessment legislation. In an EIA process, the authority informs the public on a pending matter that has impacts on the environment, gathers opinions and statements, which are the basis for drafting further plans. The most usual cases, where the EIA process is applied are various road or other infrastructure projects, but environmental impacts must also be evaluated in programmes and plans prepared by the authorities if their implementation may have significant impacts on the environment.

The rights of citizens to get information of pending matters are also prescribed by the Act on the Openness of Government Activities and Administrative Procedure Act. In 1999, the Ministry of Transport and Communications published web pages that provide environmental information to the public and the public may directly comment the Ministry’s environmental policy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

With a view to the whole administration, the most important means to integrate transport planning and urban structure is the amended Land Use and Building Act from 1999. The objective of the act is to improve land-use planning and direct urban structure, placement of operations and use of the environment towards sustainable direction.

The reports “Guidelines for Transport Operations until 2020” from 1997 and “Finland’s Transportation System 2020” outline the long-term operating strategies of the Ministry. According to these reports, the development of the transport system is based on the operating principles of the Ministry: “The Ministry of Transport and Communication promotes national well-being and the efficient operation of society by guaranteeing citizens and industry access to safe and reasonably priced high-quality transport and telecommunications connections. The Ministry also furthers the competitiveness of the transport and the telecommunications industries.”

Environmental issues are viewed with the help of a specific environmental management system. The Environmental Management System (EMS) of the Ministry of Transport and Communications integrates environmental issues with planning, development, implementation and monitoring of the transport sector activities in every level of the administration. It follows the same principles and standards as the leading edge business organizations apply in their EMS. There are no other corresponding systems operational in our national administration and - according to our knowledge - not in any other European countries either.

“Environmental Guidelines for the Transport Sector” document is a solid foundation for developing the different transport mode agencies and companies' own EMSs within the next five years. These guidelines incorporate long-term targets with respective actions, deadlines, responsible actors and co-operation partners. The document also serves as a proposal for joint action for a wide range of related organizations. It has been prepared in close co-operation with all responsible transport mode agencies under the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Various other relevant actors were also called for to include their statements and opinions in preparing the guidelines. EMS is used within the transport sector for putting the requirements set in the Finnish Government Programme for Sustainable Development into concrete action.

The new guidelines document was prepared to continue the action programme, drawn up in 1994, and its follow-up reports. The new guidelines are also going to be part of a continuous improvement process and a means to extend our environmental co-operation further across administrative borders.

All long-term goals related to the environment are defined in the “Environmental Guidelines for the Transport Sector” of the Ministry (page 9).

Expansion of transport infrastructure, development of alternative transport modes, upgrading of vehicle fleet. Transport system will be developed on a comprehensive basis and the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport promoted. Transport systems will be planned, constructed, managed and maintained so that neither these systems nor vehicles or transport waste will pollute soil, seas, lakes and rivers, surface water or ground water.

Sustainable fuel consumption, reduction of vehicle emissions. Workable travel and transport chains will be established with the aim of reducing hazardous emissions and energy use in the transport sector. Measures taken in the transport sector will help to achieve the emission targets for greenhouse gases. The sector’s emissions in 2010 should not exceed those in 1990. Vehicle emissions should not exceed critical loads with respect to health risks and acidification.

For short-term goals, see the attached “Environmental Guidelines for the Transport Sector”.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

n the Finnish administrative culture matters are generally prepared in the broadly-based joint working groups between the administration and different organizations. After the working group has prepared proposals, the number of participants can be further increased by organizing the round of statements in which also authorities and organizations can participate. Finnish organizations that actively participate in transport policy making include Finnish Transport Workers’ Union, The Automobile and Touring Club of Finland, Traffic League, The Finnish Bus and Coach Association, The Union of Local Public Transport in Finland, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, The Finnish Trucking Association, The Finnish Taxi Association, Finnish Road Association and The Finnish Petroleum Federation.

In addition to participating in the working groups, the organizations can influence also directly towards Parliament. For example, organizations are heard as experts in the Committees of Parliament.

In addition to influencing in organizations, citizens may participate by virtue of the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment. This Act prescribes that the authorities shall clarify environmental impacts of plans and programs that are crucial for the environment. In relation with the EIA process an occasion or occasions of hearing citizens, organizations or other interested parties are organized. 

As more and more people move to cities, public transport in city regions and organization of pedestrian and bicycle transport are becoming pivotal issues in transport policy. In cities, particularly the infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians should be improved as roads for cars are mainly in order.

The construction and maintenance of transport routes are far privatized in Finland.

Programmes and Projects 

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Association of Finnish Local Authorities, National Technology Agency, Finnish National Road Administration and Finnish Rail Administration have launched a 5-year research and development programme “LYYLI”, which primarily concerns the largest built-up areas. The purpose is to provide communities with solutions, by means of which necessary transport and travel can be operated with a minimum amount of traffic and by the environmentally friendliest transport modes available. This means solutions, which conserve energy, secure a healthy living and recreation environment for different population groups and avoid splitting natural regions.

The research and development programme is primarily aimed at target city areas where such measures are regarded that can consolidate community structure, decrease the amount of passenger car traffic, foster public transport, cycling and walking, secure the viability of city centers, foster such production and service structures that take environment and different population groups into account and promote operational prerequisites of green logistics.

The measures are chosen according to the characteristics of each town region so that in the evaluation of measures the effects on the environment, health, society (including safety) and economy as well as concentrations of effects are regarded. Furthermore, the programme may be used for financing projects that improve generalization of information and provide the work with information or procedural support.


Transport services in Finnish cities are, in general, easily available; the level is even higher than the European average, but in the countryside the options are becoming fewer and fewer and the private car seems often to be the only alternative.

In Finland, the public road network is quite extensive (almost 80,000 km) and its regional coverage is good. The railway network covers 5,867 kilometers. Most parts of the rails are so-called mixed traffic rails, i.e. passenger and goods transport use the same rails. On coastal areas, the total length of routes maintained by the Finnish Maritime Administration is approximately 8,500 km and on inland waters around 6,100 km. The Finnish Civil Aviation Administration has altogether 25 airports. On the whole, the infrastructure is comprehensive. Transferring from one transport mode to another should be made more flexible.

Petrol consumption (Mt):

1990    1,95

1999    1,90

Diesel consumption (Mt):

1990    1,55

1999        1,70

Use of leaded gasoline was prohibited in the beginning of 2000. However, all types of gasoline sold in Finland have been unleaded since 1994, and already before that the use of leaded gasoline had considerably been reduced.

Emissions and energy consumption of all traffic modes in Finland are estimated by a calculation system “LIPASTO” (see: The emissions that cause problems the most are carbon dioxides, nitrogen oxides and particle emissions. It will require additional measures during the next few years to turn that trend into a clearly positive direction.


The most immediate attention is needed in road transport. For example, it accounts for over 70% of carbon dioxide emissions and for 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions in Finland. In cities, road transport is the cause of most noise and health hazards. Furthermore, the impacts on nature and health are the strongest in road transport: the number of public roads that split nature areas is multiple in comparison to rails and waterways.

In Finland, there are long distances and sparse population compared to the country’s whole area. Sparse population impacts on the operational prerequisites of public transport outside built-up areas. In the field of goods transport railway transport is competitive only in transport operations between major cities and in combined transport operations. Furthermore, the structure of industry has influence on transport operations. The transport operations of raw materials in the field of forest industry and earthworks are a typical example of transport operations not easily transferable to rail. However, according to some studies it is urban sprawl in the local level that actually increases transport even more than long distances. For example, the longest home-to-work journeys in Finland are in the most densely populated area, Southern Finland. Therefore, changes in this issue could be achieved through urban planning.

Second issue that influences the choice of transport mode, and in fact, applies in the entire EU area, is the pricing policy of various transport modes. Favoring a certain mode of transport or encumbering another by taxes and payments may result in distorted competition and increase in environmental damages.

Finland’s legislation on several environmental issues is already now fairly strict, like the level of traffic taxation as well. On the other hand, in issues having influence on traffic emissions actions are taken at the pace of the EU commitments.

The most vulnerable groups are people, who do not use a car, people in a difficult financial situation, and people who suffer from health hazards. The first group is very vulnerable to accidents: pedestrians face the greatest risk to die in traffic accidents and cyclists the third greatest (risk in trip kilometers). The second group is particularly vulnerable to disadvantages from traffic, since for financial reasons it cannot move further away from hazards by changing domicile, for example. The vulnerability of the third group is related to their health: vehicle emissions are a much bigger problem to the allergic or asthmatic than other people.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The first large publication that described the relationship between transport and the environment in detail was “Liikenne jam ympäristö” (Transport and the Environment) and it was published in 1992 by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Statistics Finland. The first environmental programme by the Ministry of Transport and Communications was completed in 1994. A new programme and web-pages on the environment were introduced in 1999 (see:

Ministry of Transport and Communications cooperates with several parties in order to increase environmental awareness. These include MOTIVA (Energy Information Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources), Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Association of the Pulmonary Disabled. The usual forms of cooperation are various campaigns, research and publishing. Civic organizations also take part in the work. Those that emphasize the contact between transport and the environment are such organizations as Enemmistö ry (the Society for Traffic Policies - the Majority),  Traffic League and Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

The guides and brochures published for bringing forward environmental connections have included e.g., choosing environmentally-friendly transport modes, idling of vehicles, energy saving and eco-driving as well as promotion of cycling.

Since 1998, projects under the title “II wave of public transport experiments” have been implemented in the Ministry of Transport and Communications. With the help of these projects the Ministry aims to make public transport in cities more attractive. In practice, measures have included public transport interchanges, advanced payment systems and combined transport (for example transport of the elderly and school children). Promotion of pedestrian and bicycle transport is being discussed in a separate management group, which will complete its work by the end of 2000.

In Finland, public information and education activities are an important part of the traffic safety programmes. This mission is given to a semi-official organization, the Central Organization for Traffic Safety in Finland, which is financed from traffic insurance premiums. The Ministry of Transport and Communications (as well as other ministries in certain cases) participates in some important nation-wide campaigns.

The textbooks of environmental studies for the lower stage of primary school deal with transport and environment, for instance, from the viewpoint of congestion: Moving in cities is healthier and pleasanter if everyone does not drive there in his own car. “A child in traffic” is a special exercise material prepared for the lower stage of primary school through which children consider their own moving routes, habits and wishes concerning traffic environment.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Finnish Trucking Association have jointly initiated a research of how driving practices in different transport environments impact on fuel consumption. The results will be actively utilised in eco-driving training of the drivers of heavy vehicles. The Finnish Bus and Coach Association, the Finnish Taxi Association and driving schools have included environmentally-friendly driving practices in their driver training.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Finnish Trucking Association signed in autumn 1999 the agreement on energy saving with the aim of reducing the energy consumption of enterprises in the field for 10 – 15 % in 2010 compared to the consumption level of 1995.


The Finnish Road Administration has the basic data on Finnish roads, the Rail Administration has the data on railways etc. Statistics Finland maintains Traffic Statistics including general data of traffic volumes, vehicles etc 

A Finnish calculation system “LIPASTO” is used to collect information on emissions. “LIPASTO” covers emissions and energy consumption of all traffic modes in Finland and it is managed by VTT, the Technical Research Center of Finland. The system comprises sub models “LIISA” for road traffic, “RAILI” for railway traffic, “MEERI” for waterborne traffic and “ILMI” for air traffic. Data is gathered in the central unit “LIPASTO”. By means of these models traffic exhaust gas emissions in Finland can be calculated from the following compounds in the base year: carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particles (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). In addition to this, the models calculate energy consumption of different traffic modes. A rough estimation of emission amounts and energy consumption has been given for the years 1980 - 2019. The “LIPASTO” system is updated every year. (See also

The Finnish Environment Institute and the Finnish National Road Administration have together compiled a register of those groundwater areas where roads are treated with de-icing salt and, thus, pose a risk of pollution to groundwater.

In 1999, the Ministry of the Environment prepared a system, which helps to follow the developments of the urban structure. The system that is now being tested provides information on the number and quality of various functions in the society, efficiency of land-use, availability of the functions and traffic arrangements. In the beginning, the urban structure of 30 largest areas of employment is monitored.

Research and Technologies   

Alternative energy sources have been examined within the research programme proMOTOR, for example. The areas it analyses include modeling and measuring of motor processes, control systems of motors and exhaust emission control.  

Finland Post is a pioneer in using electric cars. In bus and coach transport, in turn, gas buses have been tried, especially in the Helsinki region.

A research programme LYYLI (Environmentally Friendly Urban Form and Transport System) aims at increasing efficiency in transport systems, and various logistics programmes (KETJU etc.) search for ways to improve efficiency in that area.


a) Railways are mainly funded from national budget.

b) Roads are funded from national budget (national roads), municipal budget (municipal streets) and private funding (private roads). Exact figures of investments are difficult to obtain.

           c) Waterways (excluding harbors) are mainly funded from national budget.

d) Harbors are operated mainly by municipal enterprises.

           e) Aviation: CCA of Finland operates as government enterprise and is thus based on full cost recovery.

Equivocal question. Supply of fuel is provided by the oil companies?

Development and research are carried out mainly with funds from the national budget. There is no information about private investments, for example, for  development of alternative fuels.

Enforcement is funded from the national budget.

In order to increase the performance efficiency of development projects, total finance and shadow toll projects have been introduced. In the total finance project, funding is ensured with a lump sum in the state budget and the work is performed with a fixed price. Thus, the final price is known all the time.

In the shadow toll project, a private company builds the project at its own expense. Government, in turn, pays service payment that is bound to vehicle performance. Thus, the final project price is clear at the end of contract period but a price ceiling is defined.


Besides acting within the EU, Finland participates in transport cooperation through  international organizations (ICAO, IMO) and OECD, CEMT and ECE. Nordic cooperation is carried out through the Nordic Council of Ministers, and cooperation with neighboring areas through various projects as well as through the activities carried out by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM).

As Finland is a member of the EU, both national and EU law are in force here. The most important agreements related to transport are the following: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/ Kyoto Protocol, Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution with its protocols and Convention on Biological Diversity.

Some EU investments have been introduced in Finland.


* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 9th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 2001.


Click here for the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Trade Department, Internal Market Division and Finnish Tourist Board are responsible for sustainable tourism at the national level. At the local level, the Municipalities' tourism administration is responsible.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There is legislation for national parks in Finland as well as the following standards and codes of practice:

In general, both industry and consumers have reacted positively to these codes and standards, and interest in developing such measures further is growing.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans    

The Finnish Tourist Strategy up to the Year 2000, commissioned by Ministry of Trade and Industry, addresses issues related to production and marketing of the cultural and nature-based tourism. Monitoring of progress in the implementation of this Strategy is undertaken by the permanent group for promoting and developing the sustainable tourism in Finland.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement    

A number of Major Groups are involved in decision-making in this area. There are representatives from the NGOs, local authorities, workers and unions, business and industry in the group for promoting and developing the sustainable tourism. NGOs, local authorities, workers and unions, business and industry, and the scientific and technological community have also participated in the process of the Agenda 21 for Baltic Sea Region/Baltic 21 tourism.

Programmes and Projects   

Major Programmes available to promote sustainable tourism include the following:


Tourism currently comprises approximately 5 % of the GNP in Finland (figures for 1995; total amount, FIM 31 billion). The employment effect of tourism in Finland in 1995 was 75,000 persons in work-years.

The growth of overnight stays in hotels (1988-1997) has been 30.6 % over the past decade, and the growth of foreign overnight stays has been 42.6 %. The growth of travel expenditure by foreigners (1988-1997) has been 85.6 %. It is expected that the tourism sector will grow approximately 4 % per year during the next decade.


No information  is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Training that is available for employees in the tourism industry to assist them in understanding, applying and promoting sustainable tourism is provided through the Finnish University Network for Tourism Studies and Polytechnics. In addition, some of the hotel chains have their own training in environmental issues. The media has also been used to promote sustainable tourism.

Nature-based tourism and eco-tourism are promoted in campaigns and brochures of the Finnish Tourist Board and the Finnish regions both in Finland and abroad. Some of the hotel chains have had their own awareness campaigns.

Promotion of sustainable tourism has taken place through reports and publications (for example Environmental management system for hotels and restaurants and Environmental guidelines for tourism events). Literature has also been published, including publications of the group for promoting and developing sustainable tourism and the Report of Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region/Baltic Tourism.

The target group for brochures of the Finnish Tourist Board is often environmentally-conscious tourists.


The establishment of a clearing house for the Baltic Sea Region with information on i.a. methodology, criteria, indicators, best practice examples and rules of conduct is suggested in the Baltic 21 Tourism Report.

The group for promoting and developing sustainable tourism is currently working on indicators for sustainable tourism. In addition, there will be a seminar on indicators early 1999 in the framework of the process of Baltic 21 tourism.

Maps on national parks are available, and eco-systems have been inventoried in national parks.

Finland maintains a number of Web Sites for information on Finland and sustainable tourism. These can be found at the following addresses:

Research and Technologies 

All larger hotels have their own environmental systems. Their scope varies.


Activities in the area of sustainable tourism are financed by the National budget and the tourism industry.


There are few tourist centers that could be called sustainable tourism destinations in Finland. Fritidsresor (a tour operator) has its own hotels, so called Blue Villages, abroad (for example in Turkey, Spain, Cyprus). These hotels have their own environmental programmes. These model destinations assist the national programmes through indirect publicity.

Both local authorities and private sector are represented in the group for promoting and developing the sustainable tourism.

Bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation for sustainable tourism takes place through the following arrangements:


* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Finland to the 7th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998

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