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News 04.12.2020

Green Light, Go!

Foreign-owned companies contribute considerably to the sustainability of Finnish economy

Finland is quickly establishing a reputation as a stronghold for combating climate change and sustainability in the eyes of foreign-owned companies. Discussing this trend, the new ‘Finland as a Business Location 2020’ Barometer declares that “sustainability is the new black” among international companies.

The barometer reveals that foreign affiliates are active in using different sustainability mea­sures, covering economic, soci­etal and environmental sustainability. Almost half of the foreign affiliates measured more than five different dimensions of sus­tainability; and, probably more tellingly, only 3% did not use any sustain­ability measures.

And why does Finland have such “green appeal”, then? – Well, for one, Finland has established a very ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, which is 15 years prior to European target of 2050. Additionally, Finland has achieved or is close to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, health, education, water and energy (Voluntary National Review 2020 Finland). In international comparison, Finland has achieved these objectives the third best in the world (Sustainable Development Report 2019).

Sustainability 360°

Markku Kivistö, Head of Invest at Finland Cleanteach, Business Finland, says that environmental, social, economic sustainability is very much on the minds of the corporate decision-makers right now. 

”These sustainability issues already provide a very important competitive advantage for companies and its significance will even increase in the future,” Kivistö says, adding that there are a lot of international forerunner companies that have established operations in Finland so far – and there are plenty more seriously considering it, too. 

“The Finnish Government promotes the transformation towards carbon neutral, sustainable society and welcomes likeminded companies and research organizations to come to Finland to grow their business,” he adds.

Google Goes Carbon-Free

It does seem that a green country attracts green companies. For example, Google is committed to running its expanding data center, located in Hamina, Finland, on carbon-free renewable electricity. Google is investing additional €600 million to expand its presence in Hamina (€2 billion in total), which serves as a model of sustainability and energy efficiency for all of the company’s data centers.

Furthermore, Google is launching two new wind energy projects that will more than double its renewable energy capacity in Finland. This way Google will ensure that it continues to match almost all of the electricity consumption of its Finnish data center with local renewable carbon-free sources – even as it keeps growing its operations.

Bayer is a Happy Taxpayer

Another player making strong moves is German pharmaceutical company Bayer which is investing EUR 35 million in its production plant in Turku, Finland. Bayer’s production volumes in Finland have grown every year – and the company also made headlines by being one of the best corporate taxpayers in the country.

Forking up €141 million in corporate taxes was heralded as a great way to contribute to the building of the Finnish welfare state. Bayer commented in press release that the company wants to pay taxes in the same place where the value is created – and that it believes in Finland’s “unique and innovative ecosystem”.

What’s more, as Bayer is seeking carbon-neutrality by 2030, it is cutting down on its CO2 emissions in Finland by over 80% by the end of 2020. This is no small feat from a company that is, at the same time, considerably ramping up its Finnish operations.

BASF Secures Sustainable Future

One more green example: BASF is building a new battery materials plant in Harjavalta, Finland, to support the sustainable European battery value chain. Tor Stendahl, Country Manager Finland, General Manager Nordic Battery Materials & Metal Services, says that BASF’s investments in Harjavalta and also in Schwarzheide, Germany, constitute an integral part of the EU Commission’s target to build a sustainable and competitive battery value chain in Europe.

“Our factory in Harjavalta will make use of regionally produced raw materials, renewable energy, state-of-the-art technology and recycling, thereby playing an important part in the EU Commission’s target and enabling the transition towards a fossil free transportation,” Stendahl says.

Taking Charge

According to Stendahl, BASF’s purpose is to create chemistry for a sustainable future and the company wants to act as the thought and action leader in this area.

“We see chemistry as the enabler for reaching the CO2 targets needed to fight global warming. The investment into battery materials is a very good example of our actions in this respect,” he says.

More information about Finland as a business location 

Want to know more?
Head of Industry, Cleantech, Invest in

Markku Kivistö

+358 50 5577 968
Head of Industry, ICT & Digitalization

Janne Kari

+358 40 5410 580