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Finnish environmental know-how must be exported more efficiently

Environmental exports in the spotlight at the Exporting environment -seminar on the 18th October

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Press release 18 October 2005 Finland is a world leader in environmental matters, technological innovations and competitiveness, yet Finnish environmental exports are growing slower than the world markets. The good level of co-operation between different sectors has promoted the development of environmental consciousness in Finland. The Finnish model should be exported more efficiently. In order to increase environmental exports networking between companies in the field should be enhanced and economic incentives for exports should be offered. Environmental exports were in the spotlight today at the Exporting environment seminar jointly organised by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and Sitra, the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development. The markets for environmental technology are worth approximately 550 billion euros. Investments in the field have grown significantly in several of the European countries, as well as in North America. It is estimated that the environmental technology markets will grow in the near future by approximately 10 per cent a year. The driving forces behind investments and the markets are regulation, climate change and energy costs. There are approximately 300 technology companies working in the field of environmental technology in Finland. Their overall turnover is approximately 3.4 billion euros. During the first years of the new millennium, there has been a deceleration in the growth of old companies and the founding of new companies. According to Sitra’s President Esko Aho, Finland has forward-looking environmental technology and know-how. However, more customer and market-based export efforts, as well as stronger and more efficient networking of the fragmented field, are needed. Sitra considers the funding and strengthening of the capital of start-ups and growth companies in the field to be an important tool in realising growth. According to Aho, the environmental industry needs a common action programme aimed at internationalisation. Lea Kauppi, Director general of the Finnish Environment Institute, says that one of Finland’s strengths is good communication and co-operation between authorities, business and various interest groups. The Finnish model should be exported more efficiently. The environmental issues should be seen as an opportunity, not a burden. According to Kauppi, Finnish industry has often turned threats and challenges into successful products, examples of which can be found from forestry to the preservation of the ozone layer. Kauppi challenges industry to reflect on whether the EU’s new chemical regulation REACH that has caused a great deal of worry could already function as an impetus for innovations. Kauppi thinks the material service centre proposed by the KULTU committee on sustainable consumption and production is a good example of how the co-operation of various participants helps gather knowledge capital pertaining to the environment and sustainable development and offer it to businesses while promoting the Finnish economy and exports. The centre would produce material saving services for industrial production and models for increasing effectiveness. It would maintain data banks on best practices, economic calculations, lifecycle inventories, material-efficient product design and the environmental effects of raw materials. According to Kauppi, Finland has the responsibility to support sustainable development in accordance with the Lisbon strategy. In Kauppi’s view, it is worrying that Finland’s development co-operation contributions to environmental projects have decreased for several years even though the environment is one of the focal areas of Finnish development co-operation. Kauppi further points out that environmental know-how can also be sold through research projects. A good example is a project currently being implemented in SYKE, in which the future environmental effects of electricity produced by oil shale and coal are compared in Estonia. In addition, a lifecycle assessment has been drawn up for electricity produced with oil shale. The project is realised in collaboration with Eesti Energia. The impetus for the export seminar is the tenth anniversary of SYKE and Sitra’s recently launched Environmental Programme. At the event a panel of experts on the field discussed export opportunities of environmental know-how. In addition to the panel discussion, addresses were given by the President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen and Juha Rantanen, CEO of Outokumpu Plc. Further information: Lea Kauppi, Director General, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. +358 9 4030 0701, +358 40 7401668, lea.kauppi@ymparisto.fi Jukka Malm, Expert Services Director, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. +358 9 4030 0714, +358 40 740 2639, jukka.malm@ymparisto.fi Esko Aho, President, Sitra, tel. +358 9 618 991 Jukka Noponen, Programme Director, Sitra Environmental Programme, tel. +358 9 6189 9430, +358 40 587 4323 Mervi Kukkonen, Press Officer, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. +358 9 4030 0703, +358 40 558 1939, mervi.ukkonen@ymparisto.fi Kirsi Suomalainen, Press Officer, Sitra, tel. +358 9 6189 9243, 050 369 9975 www.ymparisto.fi/kutsuseminaari 

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Construction

Buildings account for the largest share of energy use, and therefore have the greatest potential for improving energy efficiency.

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