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Release 05.03.2020

Finnish manufacturing industry to the forefront of sustainability

Although manufacturing industry is the backbone of Finnish exports, the sector needs to continuously reinvent itself in order to succeed in international competition. In addition, global warming poses additional challenges. Business Finland’s Sustainable Manufacturing Finland program supports companies in their efforts to renew, grow and expand internationally.

Economic growth of Finland today relies on increase in productivity, which in an industrial environment can be achieved through digitalization, advances in business models and expertise in internationalization. Business Finland's program will use these findings to create a competitive edge for Finnish exports.

"If we can help Finnish manufacturing industries to improve their productivity and sustainability through renewal of their business, this program can have a significant impact on our national economy", emphasises Program Manager Toni Mattila.

Finding solutions to mitigate climate change and helping companies to find related international business opportunities is another important goal of the program. The Sustainable Manufacturing program offers a framework for implementation of the industrial low-carbon economy roadmap.

"Improving the competitiveness of companies in an environmentally sustainable manner is a principle that we will keep in mind at all times", says Mattila.

The program encourages collaboration

The Sustainable Manufacturing Finland program supports growth of ecosystems in manufacturing industries. It encourages companies to renew and seek new international markets in collaboration.

"Companies can become more efficient by joining forces both in innovation and in finding business opportunities abroad. Companies with complementary offerings are stronger in the international market and are able to win much larger business opportunities that any one company could do alone", stresses Mattila.

Although the program covers manufacturing industries widely, during the first year emphasis is placed on heavy machine industries, (opto)electronics and photonics, and companies providing solutions for digital transformation of manufacturing industries.

Finland must remain at the forefront

Matti Mannonen, the executive director of innovation and economic policy at Technology Finland, considers Business Finland's new program to be extremely important: "Finland's manufacturing industry can grow and thrive in the future if our companies have the ability to make the most of latest technology such as robotization, automation, and the utilization of data, and the opportunities offered by new manufacturing methods, sensor technology and rapid data transfer. We must stay at the forefront of development, and this program will help companies improve their competitiveness, innovate and expand internationally."

"Finland's ambitious climate goals encourages companies to innovate technologies, services and products that comply with the principles of sustainable development and help tackle global warming," adds Mannonen.

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment takes action to improve digital skills in SMEs

Studies show that companies with advanced digital skills have the highest growth rate, yet, despite Finland's digital prowess and advanced infrastructure, the low level of investment in digitalisation and the inability to effectively tap into digital opportunities still represent a challenge. To overcome these obstacles, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is preparing measures designed to drive digital productivity in SMEs nationwide.

"Digitalisation is a key tool for achieving the objectives set out in the Government Programme. Digitalised processes are easier to improve, manage and optimise. Similarly, the effective use of data and artificial intelligence enables us to pursue carbon reduction and the circular economy. Higher productivity is necessary as it will boost the growth of SMEs, helping to create jobs and wellbeing across the country," says Director-General Ilona Lundström.

Part of a national digital programme, the planned measures will focus on emerging technologies, skills and competence development, and industrial renewal. Preparation of the programme will begin in spring 2020.

The Sustainable Manufacturing Finland program offers a platform for collaboration between companies in their efforts to create innovations, develop new business models and seek new markets. The program will also benefit from European collaboration via the EU's framework programs. In addition, it will focus on promoting foreign investments that contribute to ecosystems and attracting international labour for the manufacturing sector.

The launch event for the Sustainable Manufacturing Finland program was held at Hotel Scandic Park in Helsinki on 5 March 2010. The event was attended by almost 200 decision-makers from companies, research institutes and other organisations. Watch the recording of the event.


For further information

Program Manager Toni Mattila
Business Finland
Tel. +358 40 500 9909
toni.mattila (at)

Director-General Ilona Lundström
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Tel. +358 2950 47 186
ilona.lundstrom (at)

Business Finland is a public organisation that offers innovation funding, as well as internationalisation, investment and travel promotion services. It employs 600 professionals in its 40 offices the world over and in its 20 regional offices in Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.