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Nordic countries take joint action to cut climate emissions from construction

Ministry of the Environment
1.3.2021 11.32
Press release

The Nordic countries have intensified co-operation in recent years to curb climate emissions from the built environment. This partnership focuses particularly on working to ensure corresponding principles for assessing and guiding the climate impact of construction in these countries.

Press release from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the Swedish Ministry of Finance

“We have moved from words to deeds in Nordic climate co-operation for the construction and housing sector. Finland and Sweden took a step today to tackle construction emissions by opening services that were jointly created by openly sharing information and best practices. I am pleased that the Nordic countries are setting an example to the entire European Union on how climate change mitigation tools can be developed in partnership,” says Finnish Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

The Finnish and Swedish construction emission databases provide impartial and comparable information openly and free of charge concerning the greenhouse gas emissions of construction products and processes. Even though the information in the databases is country-specific, it has been collected and compiled in the same way, in partnership with the construction industries of the respective countries. The Nordic construction sector will benefit in particular from a uniform assessment of the climate impact of construction in the Nordic countries.

“Achieving the global climate target of the Paris Agreement will require a significant societal shift towards low emissions. I am pleased that Sweden and Finland are at the forefront of boosting the transition to more sustainable construction with lower environmental and climate impacts. Together, the Nordic countries can show the potential for combining the climate transition with prosperity and good competitiveness,” says Swedish Minister for Housing Märta Stenevi.

“In autumn 2020 the Nordic Ministers for Housing and Construction approved a new action plan for 2021–2024 seeking a more climate-friendly Nordic construction sector. This initiative is part of work to realise a vision of the Nordic countries as the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by the year 2030. The emission database services opened by Finland and Sweden today are an important step towards ambitious goals for the Nordic construction industry, which has significantly lower environmental and climate impacts,” says Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

There are major opportunities for Nordic co-operation in harmonising the regulations and standards that govern the construction industry. Many Nordic countries are preparing new legislation and other measures to boost low-carbon construction. The climate impact of the entire life cycle of buildings, from manufacturing building materials to preventing the formation of construction waste through reuse or recycling, must be considered more effectively in future.

One challenge for the construction industry has been disparate building regulations between the Member States, which at worst hinder trade both within the European Union and between Nordic countries. In spring 2020 the Nordic countries set up a joint steering group to co-ordinate the harmonisation of Nordic building regulations. Several new co-operation projects will be launched in 2021 with a view to making the Nordic construction and housing sector more sustainable and competitive.

For further details, please contact:

Timo Juurikkala, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 40 555 4013, [email protected]

Frida Färlin, Press Secretary to Minister for Housing Märta Stenev, Ministry of Employment, tel. +46 73 078 5224, [email protected]

Kristian Henriksen, Senior Adviser, Nordic Council of Ministers, tel. +45 29 692 993, [email protected]