The Finnish Government has implemented a national programme that proposes numerous measures for the advancement of material efficiency. The programme’s objective is to facilitate ecologically sustainable growth and employment, promote competitiveness and balanced operational preconditions for business, use non-renewable natural resources sustainably and promote the production of high value-added products through strong knowledge and skills. Read more…
Based on current rates of development, the consumption of natural resources is expected to double by 2030. An increasingly limited supply of natural resources will present significant problems to national economies, addressing climate change, and the security of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Promoting material efficiency represents one answer to all of these global challenges.
The programme aims to achieve ‘sustainable growth through material efficiency’ by focusing on economic growth and sustainable use of natural resources, and avoiding harmful environmental effects. This is based around two core proposals.
Firstly, the programme proposes that a research and innovation programme be established to increase knowledge, improve the flow of information and create synergies among stakeholders. This will facilitate increased material efficiency by identifying new technologies and business development areas. To make the introduction of new technologies and experimental facilities easier, it will also be important to reduce the administrative burden on companies (for example, through clarifying the waste and environmental permit system).
Secondly, the programme proposes support for a fixed-term material review project, which would encourage businesses to clarify the flow of materials and recognise possibilities for greater efficiency. This would be facilitated by a model developed by Motiva Oy, which has been successfully trialled in several companies and yielded material cost savings of up to 20%. Furthermore, a trial period for a material efficiency contract between the Government and companies has been suggested as an effective method of encouraging greater material efficiency. This has been successfully used in the Netherlands.
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