Finland leads the way on eco-efficiency

Finland could become one of the first countries to adopt a national plan to actively support sustainable manufacture and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

The programme aims to help both businesses and consumers to make the right choices for the environment and aims to improve Finns' well-being while reducing their impact on the world around them.

Focusing on problematic areas for the northern nation, such as high CO2 emissions and consumption of natural resources, the programme outlines 73 measures which could be taken to improve the country's eco-efficiency.

Once adopted, the proposals should make Finland one of the most ecologically friendly societies on the planet.

Published by the KULTU Committee, headed up by the Chancellor of Helsinki University, Prof Kari Raivio, the programme also suggests this push for sustainability will also stimulate industry, creating new business opportunities and environmental innovations.

It also argues that more efficient use of materials and energy can drive down manufacturing costs, thus providing further competitive advantage.

Fiscal rewards such as tax cuts and grants are recommended for areas that promote sustainable development, such as the restoration and modernisation of old buildings and environmentally favourable construction of new-build.

With the carrot comes the stick, and the proposals also call for measures to encourage the public to reduce the energy consumption and waste production.

Wide-reaching environmental instruction and information is also important, says the programme, from pre-school level right through the education system to help people make informed decisions.

It also calls for a sustainable development forum to allow government, industry, NGOs and other involved parties to meet regularly to discuss effective ways to make Finland even more eco-efficient.

By Sam Bond



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