The Decarbonized Cities Program launched by Business Finland on April 18, 2023 aims to make Finland a globally recognized provider of sustainable, carbon-neutral solutions for cities. The program helps Finnish companies and organizations to find international cooperation and business partners. New exports are estimated to amount to several billion euros.
“The program will create long-term close cooperation with selected cities, large and small companies, researchers, and other stakeholders. Finland’s strength also lies in the way we work. Cities are not looking for small partial solutions – they are looking for comprehensive solutions that individual companies cannot offer. We will be able to combine expertise and offer cities multidisciplinary solutions globally,” said Nina Kopola, Director General of Business Finland, at the launch event of the program on April 18, 2023, adding that the market is huge.
Urban development has a significant impact on climate change: cities consume 78% of the world’s energy and account for more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the near future, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. The largest challenges in urban environments are related to the built environment, energy, and traffic. From the point of view of the cities of the future, the utilization of digitalization and data as well as new business models have great potential.
“Cities are important decision-makers in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. They can shape the market and provide testbeds for new, innovative solutions. Cities are becoming hubs for planning, developing, and piloting climate-smart solutions,” says Outi Suomi, Head ot Program at Business Finland.
Most major cities in Europe and in many other OECD countries have set a challenging goal to become carbon neutral by 2030 or 2035. The EU has selected 100 cities to implement the EU’s Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities mission. Six of these are located in Finland: Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, and Turku. The goal of the mission is to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 through developing smart and sustainable solutions.
Partner cities in the program include, for example, Madrid and Los Angeles. Jose Luis Moreno Casas, director of Madrid’s regional government, and Christine Peterson, director and representative of the Mayor’s Office at the City of Los Angeles, shared the challenges facing their regions and invited Finnish companies to contribute to the development of future cities.
The launch event of the Decarbonized Cities program also included speeches by company representatives. Jussi Herlin, Vice Chair of the Board of KONE Corporation, emphasized cooperation and information sharing.
“When developing sustainable cities of the future, it is crucial that operators come together to share ideas and innovate together in people-oriented solutions. No single company or government can do this alone, as the challenges span multiple sectors and industries. At KONE Corporation, we are excited to be a part of this development and want to cooperate with all other operators involved in building carbon-free cities. Business Finland’s program is a great platform for this kind of cooperation that brings together larger and smaller companies as well as universities and public-sector entities,” Herlin says.
Eemil Rauma, Head of Government Relations at Virta Oy, believes that the program will be beneficial for the company’s operations:
“Our Virtual Power Plant service portfolio combines the batteries of electric vehicles with the wind and solar energy system. It is particularly well suited for cities pioneering in climate action that strive to combat the emission challenges of energy and transport at the same time. We hope that the Decarbonized Cities program will provide us with such forward-looking partner cities and that it will help Virta to increase its carbon handprint.”
“Some cities focus on promoting wellbeing and some on sustainable technology platforms. Others focus on efficiency and functionality or inclusive urban development. However, most of them have the same goal in the long term, which is to create cities that are habitable and provide wellbeing for the citizens,” says Mika Klemettinen from Business Finland’s Shanghai office.
“We need to build long-term cooperation with selected city partners,” he continues.
outi.suomi (at) businessfinland.fi
Tel +358 50 572 7530
mika.klemettinen (at) businessfinland.fi
Tel. +358 50 483 6661
eemil.rauma (at) virta.global
Tel. +358 50 511 7876