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Well-being and competitiveness are the aims of the Natural Resource Strategy for Finland

The recently completed Natural Resource Strategy for Finland will meet the increasingly difficult challenge of the increased global use of natural resources. The strategy, which was compiled by a comprehensive group of experts and managed by Sitra, supports an approach to natural resources that promotes competitiveness, well-being and environmental responsibility. The strategy has been presented to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

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The recently completed Natural Resource Strategy for Finland will meet the increasingly difficult challenge of the increased global use of natural resources. The strategy, which was compiled by a comprehensive group of experts and managed by Sitra, supports an approach to natural resources that promotes competitiveness, well-being and environmental responsibility. The strategy has been presented to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

The consequence of global growth in the population and consumption is the increase in the use of natural resources and negative environmental impacts. Competition for natural resources is becoming more intense and there will be a shortage of productive land and water. The rise in demand for biomass as a result of combating climate change will intensify the competition.

“Well-being and prosperity must be created in a more sustainable way, and for this reason new operating models are needed in business, policies and daily behaviour. Finland, which is rich in natural resources, has the potential as a country with a high level of know-how to attain a competitive advantage, create well-being and to bear, for its part, global responsibility by acting at the vanguard. The natural resource strategy examines natural resources and their inter-linkages across sectoral boundaries, and covers the perspectives of both use and protection and over a sufficiently long period,” says Sirkka Hautojärvi, Chair of the strategy group, of the importance of the strategy work.

The strategy emphasises the intelligent use of natural resources. Innovativeness together with sustainable and responsible operations are essential to future success. Natural resources can in this way be used as a source of diverse well-being and to create sustainable business operations that will also safeguard the natural environment and its diversity.

“In Finland, investments will need to be made in the future in successful sustainable production and know-how that supports employment, competitiveness and regional development. When it comes to questions about natural resources, we must be able to take the initiative in the EU and internationally. Through the strategy, a successful bio-economy with high added value will be created in Finland, which will require considerable skills in bioprocesses in the manufacture of products. The efficient use of resources will be a significant future competitive factor. The strategy aims at keeping natural resources that have been taken into use within the economic system for a long time so that as little as possible of the valuable materials are wasted. Sparing use and recycling together with raising the degree of processing will improve efficiency. Rural natural resources are also an important social resource and the basis of industrial activity,” Sirkka Hautojärvi concludes.

The strategy shows the path that will be taken step by step. Eighteen of these steps have been listed in the strategy. The strategy proposes, for example, the creation of local biorefinery operations as a regional network, increasing product-specific resource efficiency, developing natural resources accounting and drawing up a national minerals and aggregates strategy.

The background to the strategy work is the Luodin preliminary report drawn up by the Finnish Forest Association, which was written through extensive cooperation with various public and private sectors in 2007. Sitra took the lead role for drawing up the strategy on the basis of the report. An extensive group of representatives from the worlds of politics, administration, business, research, organizations and the media have been involved in the strategy work. The group was supported by an expert network as well as online questionnaires open to all, with the themes presented in them being used in the work.

“Natural resources featured prominently in the statement on the Government’s recent mid-term policy review, in which one of the stated objectives was making Finland a leading country in the sustainable and economical use of natural resources and materials. Achieving the objectives will require simultaneous and mutually supportive changes in several sectors of society. The completion of the strategy and its implementation will make Finland a global pioneer in issues on natural resources,” says Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen on the importance of the strategy.

The strategy proposes the establishment of a high-level coordinating body within a rapid time frame, which is something that Mikko Kosonen believes to be extremely important in terms of implementing the strategy.

“Sitra has put together a comprehensive network of social actors for the strategy work, who have been able to examine natural resources from an overall perspective and not in the traditional manner of a single resource at a time. It is through this way of working in particular that systemic changes based on extensive consideration and innovativeness can be promoted in society,” says Mikko Kosonen.

The Natural Resource Strategy for Finland can be downloaded from Sitra’s website. The report can also be ordered from Sitra by calling +358 9 618 991, or sending an e-mail to: julkaisut@sitra.fi. 

The seminar related to strategy publishing can be viewed online on Thursday 9 March 2009 at 12.00 at http://webcast.magneetto.com/sitra/

Natural Resource Strategy for Finland »

For further information, please contact:   

Eeva Hellström, Project Director of the Natural Resource Strategy, tel. +358 50 351 2412, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi 

Sirkka Hautojärvi, Chair of the Strategy Group, tel. +358 50 590 6809, firstname.lastname@elisanet.fi

Elina Kiiski, Communications Officer, +358 44 540 3367, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi