ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Finland is already considered a global leader in eco-innovation and the development of new clean technologies. According to figures from the Finnish government, about 2,000 companies operate in its cleantech sector, generating annual exports of €12 billion, or 20% of Finland's total exports. But the government is not complacent. It aims to embed cleantech into its economy even more.
In February 2012, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy started a Strategic Programme for Cleantech. Its goals are to create 40,000 jobs by 2020 and to double the revenues of Finland's cleantech businesses by 2018. To do this, the Finnish government recognises that its companies will need to travel far beyond their small home market.
The programme is thus based on using the Finnish home market as a developing ground for cleantech innovation, and preparing Finnish companies to export, especially to emerging markets, such as China. The government will support the strategy by providing coherent support, with a common goal for all parts of the public administration to promote cleantech.
The most recent example of the government commitment to cleantech promotion was the adoption in June 2013 of a rule on public procurement. Under this, all government purchasers must, when planning a procurement, consider if new cleantech solutions are appropriate. The explicit aim is to reduce public sector materials and energy use throughout the lifecycle of products and services, with a particular focus on waste management, transport, energy generation and energy efficiency.
The effect of the decision will be to make a substantial budget available for cleantech in Finland, as a springboard to international growth: the government's aim is for 1% of its total procurement budget to “support the home market references of cleantech businesses aiming to go international.” This equates to about €325 million per year.
The cleantech procurement programme will help in particular small, innovative companies to establish their products and grow. The government will also back these companies with support for entry into foreign markets. The aim is to help 80 new companies get a foothold in international markets by 2018.
Overall, the government says, Finland should become to be seen as “the world's best-known cleantech brand.” Its companies will then be “desired partners in international value networks and value chains,” helping to secure Finland's future through eco-innovation and cleantech.
Information about the Strategic Programme for the Cleantech Business is available at: http://www.tem.fi/en/current_issues/pending_projects/strategic_programmes_and_flagship_projects/strategic_programme_for_the_cleantech_business