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European Sustainable Development Week
Climate policy influencing forums discuss the building blocks of a just transition – a shared vision plays a key role

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of the Environment
24.9.2020 12.41
Press release 601

The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, the Economic Council and the Climate Policy met on Thursday to discuss the just transition to a carbon-neutral society. Discussions at the meeting focused in particular on the effects of the just transition on income distribution and green recovery, and explored the roles of the state, businesses and citizens in the transition. The participants highlighted the importance of building a shared vision and of coming together to tell the story of a climate-sustainable Finland.

The aim of the joint meeting at the House of the Estates was to bring together the three climate policy influencing forums so they could exchange views on how to achieve the Government’s carbon neutrality target by 2035 in a way that is just and sustainable. Prime Minister Sanna Marin is the chair of all three influencing forums.

The meeting featured talks from Aalto University Professor Minna Halme, Research Director of Pellervo Economic Research Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen and Climate Panel Chair Markku Ollikainen

In her talk, Professor Minna Halme from Aalto University explained the importance of a just transition from the point of view of wellbeing and economic growth, addressed the challenges associated with the transition and discussed what the state, businesses and citizens can do to make the transition a reality.

“Citizens can be inspired to come together in building the story of a responsible and innovative Finland. Research on strategic change management confirms that a strong narrative vision provides significant momentum for change,” Halme said.  

Research Director Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen from Pellervo Economic Research reported on the preliminary results of a study on the effects of climate policy on income distribution. Conducted by a consortium led by Pellervo Economic Research, the study examined the impact of six climate policy measures on the distribution of income between households and the development of the national economy. The study is set to be completed in October. 

“Climate policy measures can contribute to the sustainability of the economy and fair burden sharing between households,” Ruuskanen said in his talk.
Climate Panel Chair Markku Ollikainen spoke about green recovery and promoting climate measures from the perspective of a just transition.

“When it comes to green recovery, we need to reject employment-boosting measures that are based on increasing fossil fuel emissions and opt instead for measures that enable us to reduce emissions. Deep heat is an excellent example of how recovery resources can be used to promote the sustainability leap we are after: it creates the technological conditions for replacing peat and, in the longer term, generates new skills and helps to promote a just transition,” Ollikainen said.

The panel discussion that concluded the meeting also addressed the COVID-19 crisis and its aftercare from the perspective of climate policy, a sustainable economy, sustainable development and the just transition.

The panellists were Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen, Minister of Education Li Andersson, MP and member of the Environment Committee Mari-Leena Talvitie, member of the Agenda 2030 Youth Group Sara Nyman, Managing Director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries Jyri Häkämies, Chair of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions Jarkko Eloranta and CEO of WWF Finland Lisa Rohweder.

Decisions made on the carbon neutrality target in the Government budget session provided a framework for the discussion. For example, the Government decided in its session to establish Finland's sustainable growth programme, which will allocate EUR 0.9–1.2 billion in EU recovery funding to climate action.

The joint meeting was one of the events that took place in Finland during European Sustainable Development Week.
Annika Lindblom, Secretary-General, tel. +358 295 250 163, Commission on Sustainable Development, Ministry of the Environment, Pekka Sinko, Secretary-General, tel. +358 295 160 189, Economic Council, Prime Minister’s Office, Merja Turunen, Secretary-General, tel. +358 295 250 387, Climate Policy Roundtable, Ministry of the Environment