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NATURAL RESOURCES STRATEGY

Sustainable use of natural resources is becoming the driving force behind global development. Finnish natural resources are a source of work, new business operations, well-being and added value.

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Intelligently powered by nature

Global competition for raw materials is tightening. Productive land and water are becoming scarce goods, while the demand for biomass is expected to increase. Competition for natural resources will affect the global power balance, which may lead to an increased number of international crises.

Finland possesses relatively rich natural resources and a high level of know-how and competencies. This means that we have particular opportunities to promote the sustainable and innovative use of natural resources to secure national well-being and carry our share of global responsibility. It is also in our own interests to do so.

Sitra’s strategy – a new way of looking at natural resources

Future success, built on the intelligent use of natural resources, requires extensive changes from the various operators within society. Sitra’s aim in gathering the operators within one national strategy process has been to help identify and enable the changes.

Natural resources became a central national issue for the future in the national natural resource strategy Intelligently powered by nature coordinated by Sitra. The strategy was handed over to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in April 2009.

Based on a suggestion by Prime Minister Vanhanen, the working group on climate and energy policy, chaired by Minister of Economic Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen, decided in December 2009 to begin preparations for a natural resource strategy for the Government.

Two teams were created to support the work. The bioeconomy team worked to prepare a description and strategic evaluation of the concepts and developments in the bioeconomy up until 2050. The mineral strategy team focused on preparing a Finnish mineral strategy.

The natural resources report delivered by the Government to the Parliament in December 2010 sums up the viewpoints presented in the processes mentioned above and turns them into a unified strategy. Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s government programme also uses the Finnish natural resources strategy presented in the report as a basis for sustainable use of natural resources.

A shared framework for different natural resources

Sitra’s natural resource strategy, compiled by a large team of experts, encourages a new way of looking at natural resources. A pioneering approach of a global scale was applied: the strategy Intelligently powered by nature is one of the world’s first national natural resource strategies to combine all natural resources under a shared strategic framework.

The strategic objectives that promote the implementation of the vision Intelligently powered by nature: well-being and pioneering work in Finland are as follows:

1.    Finland has a successful bioeconomy of high additional value
2.    Finland utilises and recycles materials efficiently
3.    Regional resources create national value and local well-being
4.    Finland is a proactive pioneer of natural resource issues

The strategy was created under Sirkka Hautojärvi’s leadership and in extensive cooperation with political, administrative, economical and research operators as well as various organisations and the media.

The natural resource strategy process was awarded the national first prize in the 2010 European Business Reward for the Environment contest.

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