Companies play a key role in the implementation of climate targets. The decisions made by pioneering companies make a transition towards a carbon-neutral society possible; a transformation that will affect all of society.
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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Solving the challenges brought about by climate change can lead to profitable business and huge opportunities for Finland. Carbon neutrality provides companies with a strategic competitive edge (link in Finnish only). The first companies to understand this will be the future winners. Their innovations, products and solutions will make a carbon-neutral society possible. They can also enhance their own competitiveness in the process.
What did we do?
Future winners are resource-wise
Without the participation of large companies, the transition to a carbon-neutral society will not take place fast enough. Other companies will follow suit in making the change, including smaller companies that are often the ones to create new jobs and improve the regional economy. The need for change applies to all industrial activities, material and energy flows, and production. By developing the necessary products and services for the transition to a carbon-neutral society, companies can also generate significant exports.
Many companies have already started making the change. In Finland, for example, the companies that are members of the Climate Leadership Council see low-carbon products and solutions as a part of their competitive edge. Investors have also started to realise the need to examine the carbon and climate risks of their investments in addition to their technical and economic risks.
Large companies pave the way to carbon neutrality
In 2014, Sitra launched its Carbon-neutral industry focus area. A group of major leading companies committed themselves to acting as an example in making decisions that contribute to Finland’s efforts to become carbon neutral.
A comprehensive transition towards carbon neutrality does not mean just keeping an eye on the CO2 emissions. It affects the entire operation of the company: its strategy, management and above all the development of new clean business (in Finnish only). The change takes place slowly and requires long-term investments. Therefore, we have to make decisions now that will still be sustainable in 2050.
What did we achieve?
In co-operation with companies, we developed practical tools for becoming carbon neutral (in Finnish only). We produced information, methods and models that will help companies and other decision-makers in the transition towards carbon neutrality. We also helped develop Sitra’s own operations to become carbon neutral.
We compiled the climate.now training package together with universities to ensure that Finnish students in all fields of expertise receive up-to-date information on climate change and its effects on their own field.
In Central Finland, we investigated how a regional biogas ecosystem can promote the carbon-neutral circular economy in the countryside. We also explored new business models for two-way production in district heating.
We founded the Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation in co-operation with cities and companies in June 2016. The foundation is building an international-scale reference area for the development of new low-carbon solutions for the circular economy, the testing of innovations and the showcasing of cleantech expertise. Together with the foundation, we support the target set by the Government in its cleantech strategy – to make Finland a superpower in the cleantech business by 2020.
The focus area worked in co-operation with many companies, cities, organisations, associations, universities, universities of applied sciences and ministries.