The Finnish way – charting the path towards carbon-neutrality

Tackling the climate crisis is a must. We need ambitious targets, but more importantly, we need a shared vision on how to achieve them. This calls for collaboration, and Finland has taken a novel approach by combining the ambitious climate target with integrated sector-specific low-carbon roadmaps that chart the pathway towards carbon-neutrality. Integrated sectoral roadmaps are more than a vision, they are the blueprint for a climate pilot project the size of Finland.

Finnish industries have been instrumental in driving the transition, as we believe that Finnish companies can provide the solutions required to tackle climate change. In 2019, Finland set the ambitious target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035 and being the world’s first fossil-free welfare society. This paved the way for a unique joint effort between the public and private sectors to work together towards the common goal. The different sectors, who had already been active in this area for a longer period, created their own roadmaps to support the national target. The emphasis was on coordination and compatibility flavoured with each sector’s own specific nature.

Business-driven approach, bottom-up

Finnish industries were given the task and the opportunity by the government to explicate how they would achieve carbon neutrality and what governmental support would be needed. A bottom-up approach enabled the sectors to come up with their own solutions. These then also served as common ground for joint action. Moreover, the industry commitment to their self-set goals for carbon neutrality has proven to be notably strong.

What came out was a global first: a national low-carbon roadmap effort where the outcome was interactively produced by the sectors themselves, but in a compatible fashion. The linkages and trade-offs between the sectors were considered since the beginning.

The roadmaps provided the government with an increased understanding about the sectoral needs to meet the carbon neutrality target. These insights could be used in national climate strategies and climate policy planning.

Integrated roadmaps with sector-specific details

The first group of core export industries, namely the chemical sector, the forest sector, the technology sector and the energy sector, ran a roadmap process where every sector did its own low- carbon plans in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Keeping in mind the special needs of every sector while highlighting the cross-industry links and advancing sector integration, the outcome was a unique collection of integrated roadmaps. The roadmaps were made to be summed up and to match each other in a larger puzzle.

The energy sector, for obvious reasons, had a special role to play in low-carbon roadmaps. That is why the other sectors interacted with the energy sector to ensure that the supply of energy matches the demand.

After and along with the export industries, ten other sectors did their roadmaps during 2019-2020. These were commerce, food, logistics and transport, agriculture, hospitality, construction, real estate owners and developers, sawmill, bioenergy and textile.

Typically the roadmaps include a comprehensive overview of the current and target situation, a scenario analysis, means to achieve the target, requirements for the operational environment and other inputs needed.

Sharing learnings for inspiration

On this website we would like to introduce the Finnish low-carbon roadmaps to an international audience and share the insights gained from this work. Please find here the roadmap summaries for each sector and the most significant insights linked to national decarbonisation.

While these roadmaps were processed to be a consistent whole, they also reflect the diversity of Finnish economic activities and the creative solutions resulting from different perspectives. Meanwhile, continued work to implement and refine these plans goes on, for the best of the interests of not only Finland but the whole world.

Further information about the Finnish climate roadmaps and the process can be found in the publication of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Finnish government officials can be reached via the ministry website

Finland’s Low-Carbon Roadmaps