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Amendment to the Money Collection Act concerning voluntary carbon offsetting sent out for comments

Ministry of the EnvironmentMinistry of the Interior 6.11.2020 13.13
Press release

The Ministry of the Interior sent the draft government proposal on amending the Money Collection Act out for comments on 6 November 2020. By this amendment, voluntary carbon offsetting services would be excluded from the scope of application of the Money Collection Act. In future, no money collection licence would be required for operations concerning voluntary carbon offsetting.

Voluntary carbon offsetting provides a mechanism for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from e.g. travel or products by means of a payment. Such operations have increased considerably in Finland in recent years. This has led to questions concerning the relationship of these operations to the Money Collection Act, which mainly regulates money collection for non-profit activities.

The Ministry of the Interior launched a background study in April 2020 to consult the different stakeholders and explore the legislative amendments that may be needed and their impacts. The views of the stakeholders were collected in workshops and through interviews. Based on the background study, the proposal is that voluntary carbon offsetting would be excluded from the scope of the act.

“The climate crisis will not wait, and we must take all actions we can to combat climate change. Among these is voluntary carbon offsetting that companies have offered to their customers. The status of carbon offsetting with respect to the Money Collection Act has been ambiguous and it has been difficult for companies to know how to proceed. I am very happy for the work done to clarify the situation and the conclusion to amend the act, which will make it easier for individuals and companies to offset climate emissions,” Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo says.

Ministry of the Environment to examine the regulation of voluntary carbon offsetting

The background study of the Ministry of the Interior identified the need to examine and clarify the regulation concerning voluntary carbon offsetting to make sure that the operations are reliable.

The Ministry of the Environment has launched studies on the current state of the regulation of voluntary carbon offsetting and the related future needs. The Ministry is funding a project at the Finnish Environment Institute that aims to create a comprehensive understanding of where we stand in the use of carbon offsets and the acceptability of the emission reduction units that have been offered. The purpose of this project, and of another project also funded by the Ministry of the Environment, is to examine in more detail what kind of regulation would be needed concerning the voluntary carbon offsetting services The key issues are related to ensuring the desired climate impacts, including the additionality, verifiability and permanence of the offsetting projects.

“Voluntary carbon offsets are purchased to boost climate actions, which is why we must make sure that all the services and projects sold as offsets are such that they produce genuine climate benefits. This is important in terms of both the climate work and consumer protection. At the moment there are various kinds of international and domestic offsetting services in the market. Those who are offering offsets to be purchased are also hoping for clearer rules,” Minster of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen says.

Government programme aims at a carbon neutral Finland

The legislative amendment is related to the objective of the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government to achieve carbon neutrality in Finland by 2035. The aim is to encourage companies to develop new voluntary carbon offsetting services and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoid these, or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The deadline for comments is 18 December 2020.

Inquiries
Anna Kivimäki, Senior Specialist, +358 295 488 331, [email protected]
Sameli Sivonen, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, +358 50 4066 855, [email protected]
Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, +358 50 414 1682, [email protected]