1. Work and the economy

    A sustainable economy is also socially and ecologically sustainable.

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    1. On the edge of social welfare...

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      Christmas and New Year are getting closer. Christmas is a time of wishes and New Year is all about starting something new. This winter those...

      3 months ago by Henna Keränen
    2. Megatrends 2016

      Publication 0

      The future happens now

      Published annually, Sitra's megatrend listing casts light on the phenomena that we already see as affecting our society and especially our future....



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      10 months ago by Elina Kiiski Kataja

A sustainable economy and work will safeguard well-being

Our economic structures and established practices are under pressure, both globally and locally. This time the reason is not the usual cyclical fluctuations, but a radical economic transformation. Adapting to it will require a bag of new tricks – bold and innovative initiatives.

Sitra will be involved in the testing and introduction of novel solutions related to work and the economy in Finland. For this task, we launched a new theme at the beginning of 2014 – New working life and sustainable economy.

The way we work is changing while the public economy is coming apart at the seams

Jobs are disappearing in Finland due to increasingly fierce international competition and automation, which are chipping away at the funding base of our welfare state. The ageing population is also adding to the pressure on public services and their funding. There are now more than 120 non-wage-earning Finnish citizens per every 100 wage earners and this number will keep rising in the years to come.

People with expert skills will not run out of work in the future – and neither will “routine” workers, as long as the pay and incentives for doing such work remain at an adequate level. Average-wage work falling between these two extremes is transforming, and many jobs will disappear altogether.

The situation is not being made any easier by the fact that the Finnish economy and society are running below capacity: for many, in financial terms, unemployment is often a better alternative to working. Many factors make self-employment or starting a business difficult and increasing job flexibility – for example by making the best use of part-time employment schemes – seems to be more about talking the talk than walking the walk. Those that survive a round of employer–employee negotiations are under pressure to work long hours to meet the higher expectations placed on them.

The labour market and financial policies are headed for drastic reform. Labour market rules need to be revised in a way that will help to make the most out of the changed circumstances, in order to meet individual needs and serve the economy as a whole. The key financial policy issue consists in determining the appropriate level of income tax.

A holistic approach will enable sustainable solutions 

Finnish society aims to maintain its status as a Nordic welfare state built on the foundation of a competitive national economy and stable public finances (Finland’s national strategy for sustainable development).

This will not be achieved if our decision-making focuses on short-term problems. The concrete ecological, social and economic value of decisions can take time to emerge – in many cases, such value is appreciated only after it has been lost and yet another burden is imposed on public sector expenditure. For example, climate change and its various consequences are a clear indication that our production and consumption habits are ecologically unsustainable. There is also a call for building a socially more sustainable society when social inequality and the income gap threaten to grow. We need a new mindset: instead of focusing on the costs, resolving these challenges should be viewed as an investment in building a better future.

Change is inevitable; we need to be smart and we need to work together. We at Sitra want to play our part in challenging existing practices and building a new economy and working life based on sustainability.

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Publication Climate impact assessment of Nasdaq Helsinki

The leading climate change specialist, South Pole Group (SPG), together with Oekom Research AG (oekom) have been commissioned by Sitra to assess the climate impact of the companies listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Main Market. The results were compared against the equivalent impact of four other indexes; Nasdaq Stockholm, MSCI World, DAX and Eurostoxx 50, with a particular focus on the comparison with...

Robert Rosenberg, Harshpreet Singh (South Pole Group)

Event Climate Impact Assessment of Companies Listed on Nasdaq Helsinki 2016

Sustainability and climate issues have become more and more important to investors, companies and the stock exchange market. But where are the biggest climate risks in Finnish investment portfolios?   Sitra invites you to join us for the release of this year’s results of the climate impact screening of the companies listed on Nasdaq OMX Helsinki on 15 December 2016 at 09.00-10.30 at Hotel...

3 months ago by Tuula Sjöstedt

Blog On the edge of social welfare reform

Christmas and New Year are getting closer. Christmas is a time of wishes and New Year is all about starting something new. This winter those Christmas wishes and New Year promises are becoming true: in Finland we´re starting the very first Basic Income experiment to help non-standard workers and to simplify the basic security safety net. The timing is couldn´t be better – the forthcoming year...

3 months ago by Henna Keränen

Publication Leading the cycle

Finland's circular economy road map describes the concrete actions that can accelerate the transfer to a competitive circular economy in Finland. The road map highlights best practices and pilots that can be easily replicated and provide added value on a national scale. In the road map tangible actions for growth, investments and exports are emphasised.

News Companies want to prove their societal impact

Sitra's Impact Accelerator has provided more than a dozen companies and organisations with tools for demonstrating the benefits of their activities to society. The third accelerator has started this autumn.

4 months ago

Blog Economic growth on terms of well-being but not at any cost

Our belief in the future is sorely tested by the well-argued weekly writing of experts dealing with weak economic growth and the disappearance of middle-class jobs. These developments cannot and should not be denied. They are consequences of the interactions of two strong megatrends: globalisation and technology development. There is no reason for despair, however, because ways for sustainable...

4 months ago by Mikko Kosonen

News World’s best circular economy solutions come to Helsinki in 2017

The  World Circular Economy Forum 2017 will bring together a large number of world economy reformers. The world is in serious need of solutions concerning how to sustainably create growth and jobs. A pioneering event will offer those solutions in June 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The agenda features the world’s best circular economy solutions based on the implementation of the UN’s...

4 months ago

Article Leading the cycle – Finnish road map to a circular economy 2016-2025

The world's first road map to a circular economy has been published. “Leading the cycle – Finnish road map to a circular economy 2016-2025” outlines the steps to sustainable success. Finland has a real opportunity to create sustainable well-being and a successful carbon-neutral circular economy over the next 5 to 10 years. The world needs pioneering solutions to ensure that economic...

4 months ago

Publication Perspectives on new work

The concepts that govern our thinking and language in relation to work are not just semantics, but influence what we perceive and what we think is possible or not possible. Usually we are not aware of how these ideas prime our thinking. We simply think and act along certain lines. The narratives of work can be helpful but also outdated and crucially incorrect. As we are passing through a...

Esko Kilpi

Publication Perspectives on new work

The concepts that govern our thinking and language in relation to work are not just semantics, but influence what we perceive and what we think is possible or not possible. Usually we are not aware of how these ideas prime our thinking. We simply think and act along certain lines. The narratives of work can be helpful but also outdated and crucially incorrect. As we are passing through a...

Esko Kilpi

Article A neckerchief that shows the way to the future of the circular economy

Right now, at the end July, future visions for the circular economy have set up camp for awhile in the middle of the Häme region's forests. Over 17,000 Scouts have spread out over the patchwork landscape of ponds and lakes in Hämeenlinna's Evo Camping Centre. Each and every Scout carries a glimpse of the circular economy with them. But first, let's take a spin around Tallinn on a June day: The...

7 months ago by Samuli Laita

Project Toolkit with building blocks for carbon neutrality for companies

The world is moving towards a low-carbon economy at unprecedented speed. Pioneering companies are already creating products and services for this in Finland. The transition is progressing rapidly, and the competition is hard. But what does carbon neutrality mean for a company? In the markets of the future, the most successful companies will be the ones that are the first to take advantage...

January 2014 to September 2016

News Article series – Carbon-neutral climate business

We have interviewed nine companies, which are already on the road towards carbon neutrality. We will be publishing their stories throughout the summer on our website. We hope that you will be inspired by the examples and will find your own path to carbon neutrality! S Group's systematic approach to energy savings bears fruit   SKF's products help its customers reduce emissions ...

8 months ago by Tuula Sjöstedt


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