What is the green transition?
The green transition means a shift towards economically sustainable growth and an economy that is not based on fossil fuels and overconsumption of natural resources. A sustainable economy relies on low-carbon solutions that promote the circular economy and biodiversity.
For companies, the manufacturing industry and municipalities, the green transition can mean investments in clean energy production, circular economy solutions and hydrogen technology, and the introduction of different kinds of new services and operating models. Low-carbon roadmaps and sustainability strategies drawn up by different sectors are an important part of this package.
What the green transition means in our daily lives includes, for example, phasing out fossil oil heating and shifting to electric cars. For the society as a whole it can mean different kinds of incentives and subsidies for these and legislation that supports the green transition. The green transition also means that we must question our individual consumer habits and ways of thinking: could we e.g. use machines and appliances that consume less electricity? Would we be prepared to pay more for products manufactured near us that cause less emissions?
Why is the green transition necessary?
The green transition is necessary because, at the moment, we are overconsuming the natural resources, both fossil and renewable ones. This overconsumption has further aggravated the climate and ecological crisis. For this reason a comprehensive change is needed in the way we use our natural resources.
The key challenge is to limit consumption within the carrying capacity of our planet while at the same time keeping the wheels of the economy turning. Broadly speaking, phasing out fossil fuels will turn the climate and environmental challenge into an opportunity: the green transition becomes a driver of new growth and lays the foundation for business and a sustainable economy. By offering a more comprehensive range of products and services we will also provide better opportunities for the end users to reduce their own burden of emissions.
How does the Ministry of the Environment lead the green transition?
The Ministry of the Environment leads the green transition by supporting it with various kinds of grants, developing legislation and guidance, and assessing and creating criteria for new projects. Together with other ministries and stakeholders, we will ensure that those implementing the measures needed for the transition can expect a stable regulatory environment and financial and informational incentives to carry out reforms and investments. Practices and regulation required for a society that is in line with the green transition are being prepared nationally, within the EU and globally.
Priority treatment in permit procedures to boost the green transition in 2023–2026
Investment projects that are important in terms of the green transition will be prioritised in the permit procedures at the Regional State Administrative Agencies in 2023–2026 and in the administrative courts in 2023–2028. The key target is to promote certain investments in the green transition by speeding up the processing of permit applications concerning these by the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the processing of appeals concerning these by the administrative courts.
In their permit procedures, the Regional State Administrative Agencies will give priority to certain projects concerning renewable energy, low-carbon hydrogen production, electrification of industry, carbon capture and utilisation and battery industry that follow the Do No Significant Harm principle.
Do No Significant Harm principle
What is also at the core of the green transition is that, when e.g. reducing emissions, we will not cause harm to other environmental objectives. This is the key content of the principle of Do No Significant Harm (DNSH) principle included in the EU taxonomy for sustainable financing. In Finland the DNSH principle has been applied in the preparation of investments and reforms under the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The Do No Significant Harm principle will also be used for other targeted elements governed by the national legislation to boost the green transition.
In addition, Finland has launched the first DNHS project in Europe through support from the European Commission. The aim of the DNSH in Finland project is to use investment and legislative analyses, guidance and training to boost the green transition in processes where the DNHS principle is already in use or could be helpful.