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Sitra encourages businesses to invest large amounts in environmental technology

The growth of environmental business has also become profitable in Finland. Sitra encourages Finnish business and industry to invest more in the commercialisation and internationalisation of environmental technologies and services. The global market in the field is now vibrant.

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The growth of environmental business has also become profitable in Finland. As Sitra’s Environmental Programme nears completion, it encourages Finnish business and industry to invest more in the commercialisation and internationalisation of environmental technologies and services. The global market in the field is now vibrant. The closing seminar of the Environmental Programme, Cleantech – Global Opportunity for Business, highlighted the global business opportunities and the challenges Finland is facing when looking to share in recent growth in the field.  

The relatively moderate expansion of environmental business in Finland was the starting point when Sitra’s Environmental Programme was launched three years ago. At that time, similar business elsewhere in the world was flourishing, and the flow of venture capital into environmental technologies was clearly evident. The Environmental Programme and its collaborative partners drew up a national plan to increase environmental business. Sitra highlighted opportunities created by environmental business and conducted projects to help enterprises network into the growing market. A major achievement of these endeavours is the Nordic Cleantech fund that is currently being established, which will continue Sitra’s activities in venture capital investments in companies in the field.  

– Commissioned by Sitra in October, a survey based on a sample of 300 SMEs showed that net sales in environmental businesses increased by as much as 18 percent in 2006, says Jukka Noponen, Executive Director of the Environmental Programme.

– This alone meets the criteria set for the national plan.There is, however, no room for complacency. Finland is still facing several challenges in this field. Now that the course is right, we need to increase investment and collaboration, so that the positive growth trend can be maintained. The actions have to benefit all environmental business. The sector covers a large amount of business activity, and is so far fragmented. Now that several actors are committed to continuing the development of environmental business, Sitra can concentrate on other sectors. The planning of a new energy programme is already underway, continues Noponen. 

– In the past two years, the leading politicians in the world have come to acknowledge the economic and human risks that are associated with climate change, says Petteri Taalas, Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Insitute. – Climate change has become a key threat to humankind, and our readiness to combat it has improved. Climate change has already caused some significant financial losses, and such repercussions will only increase in the coming decades, regardless of the measures we take. Taalas continued: – Despite its adverse effects, fighting climate change also offers new business opportunities. These are linked to such innovations as energy-saving technologies, early-warning systems for natural disasters and the export of expert skills.    

– The Japan Low-Carbon Society Scenario Development Study (http://2050.nies.go.jp) contributed to launch Japanese government proposal Cool Earth 50 that aims to reduce 50% GHG emissions by 2050. This long-term scenarios has inspired central and local governments, business sectors, mass media and other stakeholders in Japan and other countries to consider setting long-term goal and set short-term actions, says Dr. Junichi Fujino from the National Insitute of Environmental Studies of Japan when describing Japanese contribution to the environmental field.  

The President and CEO of Lassila & Tikanoja, Jari Sarjo, says that there is great demand for environmental business. – Environmental problems cannot be solved without the contribution of companies, he says. ­– Some of the worst damage has been caused by large-scale industry, so that is where we have to turn for solutions, too. The forces of the market economy need to be harnessed to solve global environmental problems.  

– The programme-based strategy Sitra has adopted has proved a success, says Esko Aho, President of Sitra. – The first three-year programmes are now drawing to a close – the Environmental, Russia, and India Programmes. The right timing of programmes has been of major significance. The Environmental Programme managed to bring to the fore the challenges and opportunities of environmental business at precisely the right time. Now a global race to capture new markets created by environmental business has started.  

Further information

Jukka Noponen
Executive Director, Sitra
tel. +358 9 6189 9430 or 358 40 587 4323, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Laura Niemi
Communications Manager, Sitra
tel. +358 9 6189 9421 or 358 50 373 8602, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

The webcast of Sitra’s cleantech seminar »

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Climate change

Human activity contributes to climate change, and the consequences are serious. Curbing global warming requires a drastic reduction in emissions – right now.

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