Kaisu Annala: A lot has been said lately

10.2.2015
OECD Ministerial Council Meeting stated in May 2014 the commitment to limit effectively the increase in global temperature below two degrees celsius above the pre-industrial levels. A number of actions were mentioned, including markets for green goods and services, phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and to jointly mobilize 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020 from variety of sources, public and private.

US Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Foreign Secretary of UK Philip Hammond declared in October: “Smart Energy Policy is a Win to the World”.

The presidents of USA and China, Barack Obama and Xi Jinping gave in November 2014 a Joint Announcement on Climate Change, in which, first of all, China intends to achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030.

In last July the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker had selected his priorities: “We need smarter investment, more focus, less regulation and more flexibility” when using public funds. This should allow us to mobilize up to 300 billion euros in additional public and private investments over the next three years. These should be targeted in infrastructure, education, research and innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and especially in projects that can help the younger generation back to work.

In January Minister of Economy Jan Vapaavuori stated: The Finnish companies contain hidden growth potential which must be mobilized. The first campaign will concentrate in cleantech companies.

Great for the future of the youngsters and great for the clean technologies! There is the will and there is funding.

The global cleantech markets continue growing. The markets grow fast in China and elsewhere in Asia, but they do grow also in Europe. Finland positions well in the EU’s eco-innovation and in Cleantech innovation indices, which is promising for the future. Until now, we have not been able to tap our fair share of the growth, as can be seen in the environmental business numbers of Statistics of Finland.

In the Green Growth Day success stories developed with the funding through Tekes Green Growth programme were presented: the Finnish offering is growing through innovation.

Another study over the Finnish cleantech business ecosystem has been done. An interpretation, if a company is cleantech, is a bit cumbersome, and the overall results depend on the interpretation. Nevertheless, one of the main take-aways is: Cleantech SME’s do need help to grow, the more help they need to innovate, and cleantech is no exception among SME’s.

When saying this: we cannot forget the large companies either. The prerequisites to do business in and from Finland must prevail.

A number of growth programs have been and will be started to assist the growth oriented companies in different cleantech sectors through Team Finland. It is a no-brainer to remind that small companies have difficulties first to reach the potential customers and second, the easiest found customers are often far too big to be served by single SME’s from the other side of the globe. Co-operation is needed in the limits the competition laws allow. It is worth to follow the news to join the gangs. Team Finland will do our best to try to reach you as well.

An example of a fantastic cleantech target would be the plan of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to clean-up the Ganges river. It has to start by cleaning most of the industrial and municipal wastewaters led to the river. We have the technology. Who would participate? Anyone? Equipment? Chemicals? Services? The region is near and Finglish is understood at least to start with.

Whether we talk about bio or circular or green or blue economy and growth, clean technologies are the enablers. Without technology, to reach the global targets, we should head back towards the life, in which most of the people were functioning in small farm-size circles like hundred years ago or so. There were reasons, why it started to change, and this is too short a story to get into those reasons. We don’t want to and we cannot go back: we are quite too many to do so.

Instead of playing with the buzzwords, we need to concentrate the efforts in doing the real thing, realistic, targeted, profitable projects, which is the only way ever to reach even close to the common target: max two degrees temperature increase above the preindustrial levels.

The keyword to do this is: together.

Kaisu Annala
Strategic Director in Cleantech
Ministry of Employment and the Economy

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