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OECD appreciates Finland’s ambitious environmental targets – more effective policy measures needed

Ministry of the Environment
Publication date 13.12.2021 15.01
Press release

According the OECD’s review, the development of Finland’s environmental policy has been positive in recent years. The OECD considers the carbon neutrality target and targets related to promoting biodiversity and a circular economy as highly relevant. However, the current measures will not be enough to reach the targets that have been set and, according to the OECD, this will be a challenge for Finland in the coming decade.

These are the conclusions of the OECD review published today, on 13 December, that evaluates Finland’s environmental policy and its effectiveness. The review sums up the results of the OECD country review on environmental policy carried out in 2020-2021 and gives recommendations on how Finland could further improve the performance of its environmental policy. The recommendations concern nature conservation, air quality, waste management, circular economy, water protection, environmental administration and green growth measures, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

As a theme that further deepens the analysis, the report discusses measures related to climate change mitigation. The OECD recommends more coherence in the implementation of Finland’s climate policy. Accessible and low-emission transport, low-carbon energy production and improving the energy efficiency of buildings and residential areas are the means by which Finland’s climate targets could best be promoted.

“Finland is committed to carbon neutrality by 2035. The target alone is not enough, but we must also make it come true. Further actions will be needed, and these will be included in the Climate Change Policy Plan to 2035 to be adopted within the next few months and in the Climate and Energy Strategy. The OECD report gives good insights regarding the national commitment to be prepared next year for the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which will guide Finland’s work for the benefit of the natural environment, especially in terms of protecting the biodiversity of forests,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari.

The OECD considers that the high level of environmental awareness among the Finns in general and our deep connections with nature may support the implementation of environmental policy. However, further measures are needed so that the goals that have been set can be achieved in practice.

“Finland should turn its ambitious strategies into effective and coherent action. Integrated policy packages are needed to encourage behavioural changes and steer the transition towards carbon neutrality. More efforts are also needed to reduce threats to biodiversity, curb waste generation and improve material use”, says Director for the Environment Directorate, Rodolfo Lacy.

State of environmental policy reviewed on a regular basis

This was the third OECD country review on Finland’s environmental policy. The previous one was conducted in 2009. Finland’s membership in the OECD requires regular reviews to be made on the state of the national environmental policy. The purpose of the country reviews is to produce an independent assessment of how Finland implements the national and international environmental policy targets.

The OECD Secretariat collected the data used as a basis for the review in 2020-2021 through surveys and discussion events. A large group of experts from e.g. several ministries and research institutes participated in the collection of the data. The OECD publishes the results of the reviews as individual reports. A summary of these is published in Finnish as well. The results and recommendations in the reports serve as an important knowledge base for the development of environmental policy.