Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development – objectives

1. Equal prospects for well-being   

All members of society will be guaranteed equal prospects in terms of health, education and employment. A socially sustainable society treats all its members fairly, supports health and functional capacity, and offers the necessary security and services. Existing resources will be used for reducing inequality and enabling a better quality of life. We will maintain a high standard of education and general knowledge, while promoting social mobility. Sustainable development will be integrated into general and specialised education and lifelong learning. We will reduce inequality and poverty by ensuring an adequate level of income and providing basic social security. We will pay special attention to the well-being of children and young people. We will ensure equal access to all welfare services. We will be prepared for the challenges posed by the information society and digitalisation with due regard to the risk of social exclusion, required skills and competence, and the vulnerability of the systems involved. We respect human dignity and human rights and promote a humane approach and respectful interaction with all people. We promote gender and cross-generational equality. We support the recognition of cultural rights and reinforce cultural values conducive to sustainable development. We support the Sámi people in their efforts to preserve their indigenous culture in accordance with the principles of sustainable development and to transmit it to the future generations. We give due consideration to the rights of immigrants and facilitate their integration into Finnish society.

We will make active efforts to promote human rights, eliminate extreme poverty and reduce inequality and discrimination in the world. We will honour our commitments to international development cooperation.

 

2. A participatory society for citizens

We will strengthen democracy and promote equal opportunities to enable all people to have a say in public affairs and matters that affect their own lives also in the global context. All people should feel that they are valuable and part of society. We will make special efforts to facilitate civic participation by young people. We will increase transparency in government: free access to information boosts public confidence and allows people to have a say in public affairs. We will promote cultural activity, diversity, equality and tolerance to enable all citizens, including the various minorities, to participate fully in developing the Finnish society. Education at school and at home will play a key role in these efforts.

We will take an active part in international cooperation to promote peace and security, human rights, democracy and the rule of law as well sustainable development on a broad front.

 

3. Sustainable employment

To achieve a more sustainable economy, measures will be taken to create jobs and improve productivity, profitability and quality of work. Our goal is a high employment rate. We will promote the creation of sustainable jobs by modernising production methods and business models both at home and beyond Finland’s borders by engaging in international cooperation. Finnish companies will operate in the global economy in accordance with the principles of sustainable development and take steps to ensure a high standard of social responsibility and sustainability, not only in-house but also across their supply chains. We will develop our education and social security systems to respond to the need for new skills and competence and address the concerns related to employment relationships, the labour market and adequate basic incomes. We will promote equality in the labour market by facilitating the recruitment of youth, people approaching the retirement age and immigrants by improving access to the labour market by people with partially impaired working ability. We will make active efforts to reduce the gender pay gap and remove obstructions to women’s career development. We will promote entrepreneurship and innovation and develop the service sector. We will lower the threshold for starting a business or accepting employment and take steps to combat the shadow economy.

We will help industry to restructure in order to create jobs that generate more added value and improve productivity. We will improve wellness at work, occupational safety and the quality of the working life by expanding the employees’ opportunities to influence their own work and working environments, and by facilitating the adoption of flexible workplace arrangements and working hours. We will also support the global efforts to promote decent work.

 

4. Sustainable society and local communities

We will create sustainable and safe communities where jobs, housing, comprehensive services, sustainable transport systems, the use of information and communication technology, and green areas support economic, social and cultural well-being, as well as the well-being of the environment. We will strengthen social cohesion and local communities by supporting an active civic society and developing forums and operating models for social learning and local decision-making to enable citizens to create pleasant and healthy living environments for themselves. We will reduce the need for motor traffic, create community structures conducive to healthy and sustainable transport, increase telecommuting arrangements and expand electronic services. We will take steps to sustain the countryside and cities and ensure that the development of rural and urban areas is mutually supportive and generates new forms of cooperation. Efforts will also be made to support rural living and entrepreneurship. We will prepare for changes in the climate and water conditions and facilitate local adaptation to climate change.

We will promote sustainable urban and community development and planning, and improve the opportunities for local communities to participate in decision-making also in the international context.

 

5. A carbon-neutral society

Our objective is a carbon-neutral society. To achieve it, we will implement the national roadmap towards a carbon-neutral society by the year 2050 and the Paris Climate Convention. Key measures to reach this objective are to improve energy efficiency, increase the share of renewable energy sources sustainably, produce and export climate-friendly products and services, and develop the low-carbon sectors of the economy.

We will develop intelligent and interconnected structures, such as transport and energy systems, to enable and promote the use of renewable energy sources and achieve energy savings, while at the same time encouraging people to reduce energy consumption. We will invest in the development of innovative energy technologies and forms of energy, as well as the creation of new business. We will harness the ability of the forests and fields to bind carbon by promoting sustainable farming and forestry. We will promote carbon neutrality in construction. We will restore ecosystems to regain the benefits enjoyed by people and society. These are some of the steps that will help mitigate climate change and facilitate the transition to a carbon-neutral society both in Finland and beyond.

 

6. A resource-wise economy

Finland and Finns will promote and offer sustainable and competitive solutions, both nationally and globally. We will enhance resource and materials efficiency, promote the circular economy, adopt business models that multiply the efficiency potential of natural resources, encourage investments and facilitate experimentation in all sectors. Another trend offering unprecedented potential for new concepts is digitalisation. Finnish companies will be globally respected for their socially responsible business operations.

Wise utilisation of resources and free access to knowledge give a competitive advantage to companies and communities, providing a sound basis for environmental business. Finland will offer the best test market and operating environment in the world for environmental innovation and a sustainable economy. In particular, we will invest in clean technology, high-quality research, the bioeconomy and renewable energy, as well as in the development and production of non-material goods and services. Finland will be a pioneer in sustainable public procurement and the development of sustainable food production, water resources management and forestry.

 

7. Lifestyles respectful of the carrying capacity of nature

We will contribute to the efforts to bring the global consumption of natural resources to an environmentally sustainable level. To make it possible to adopt a lifestyle respectful of nature, it is necessary to develop the existing technology and have society adapt to a more resource-wise low-emission economy. We will focus on encouraging both consumers and companies to reduce their ecological footprints. At the same time, we will intensify efforts to promote exports of sustainable cleantech solutions and by doing so will enlarge our positive carbon handprint. We will make it as easy and cost-effective as possible for consumers to make choices that conserve natural resources in terms of housing, transport and food. In these efforts, the public sector can serve as an enabler and set an example. We will encourage companies and communities to offer sustainably produced products and services to consumers. We will strengthen people’s relationship with nature, educate the public in eco-social issues and promote positive attitudes towards sustainable choices. We will support lifestyles based on non-material consumption and services that sustain such lifestyles, such as sustainable nature tourism.

 

8. Decision-making respectful of nature

We will increase people’s respect for biodiversity and raise their awareness of its importance in order to persuade administrative agencies, municipalities, companies and citizens to give due consideration to sustainability issues in their decision-making and actions. The objective is to stop biodiversity loss by 2020.

We will allocate more resources to education and guidance that promote biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources with due regard to the rights of ownership. We will harness the benefits offered by nature on a sustainable basis for the good of the people and society at large. We will reassess environmentally harmful incentives with due regard to the local social, economic and cultural conditions. We will promote the use of scientific evidence in support of decision-making.

We will support decision-making that is respectful of nature and measures to reverse biodiversity loss and contribute to the conservation of seas.