Principles of Sustainable Development

Global responsibility

The effects of our actions reach far beyond our national borders. The world’s challenges are also Finland’s challenges, and we have the potential to assume the role of a pioneer in solving shared global problems. Accepting global responsibility requires a sense of fairness: through its actions, Finland must ensure that others also retain their potential for sustainable development and the resulting security and peace.


Cross-generational thinking

The consequences of our actions must be assessed far into the future. Instead of promoting short-term interests, we should weigh the effects that our decisions will have on future generations. A cross-generational perspective requires us to grasp large-scale issues, understand the interwoven consequences of our solutions and take responsibility for our actions.

The limited carrying capacity of nature

The wellbeing of the systems that maintain life on Earth is paramount to the well-being of humanity.  While the number of people on the planet continues to rise, the amount of natural resources available to each person is decreasing.  As a result, the capacity of nature to produce and sustain the functions that are vital to the wellbeing of both people and all other species has been exceeded. Our activities must be adapted to the carrying capacity of nature and its natural regeneration, so that we can safeguard humanity’s chances for a good life, both now and in the future.


Sustainable development requires everyone to work together.  All people must be prepared to make sustainable choices and make their voices heard. In Finland, we solve our differences together and have trust in the fact that our society works. Wellbeing that lasts for one’s entire lifespan and social security create the basis for a sustainable society.

Creative use of knowledge and expertise

Research lays the foundation for solving the greatest challenges faced by society and the mankind. A prerequisite for prudent action over the long-term is to combine skills, knowledge, expertise and creativity.  We need to constantly develop both experience-based knowledge and evidence-based scientific knowledge in an open manner. We also need to utilise the existing information and skills more effectively in finding sustainable solutions. To find new solutions, we also need cooperation, initiatives, and trial and error.

The operational commitments must comply with these principles of sustainable development.