Finland has reduced pollution but must now green the economy


05/06/09 - Finland has reduced pollution and improved its environmental quality through pioneering approaches like green taxes. However, it must do more to green its economy by reducing the amount of energy and materials used per unit of GDP, tackling climate change, and addressing health impacts of pollution and management of waste.


The OECD Environmental Performance Review of Finland recommends reinforcing its environmental efforts, particularly by further strengthening green tax initiatives and promoting eco-innovation.


Finland has made an effort to decouple environmental pressures from economic growth as it moved from an inward-looking agricultural society to an open, competitive and technology-oriented economy. Its highly educated work force and track record in innovation put Finland in a strong position to weather the global economic crisis and respond to environmental challenges.


The report highlights Finland’s environmental achievements:

  • good urban air quality,
  • Finnish lakes recovering well from acidification,
  • abatement of noise pollution,
  • low municipal waste generation by OECD standards,
  • high share of renewable energy (biomass),
  • an innovative programme to protect biodiversity in its forests (METSO), and
  • proactive engagement in multilateral environmental co-operation.

And notes the challenges that remain:

  • greenhouse gas emissions currently above Finland’s Kyoto Protocol commitments,
  • energy use and CO2 emissions per unit of output higher than most OECD countries,
  • overall biodiversity declining
  • hazardous waste generation increasing, and
  • eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.

For more information, interested journalists are invited to contact Helen Fisher in OECD Media Relations at or phone: (33 1) 45 24 80 97.


This review, part of the OECD’s regular Environmental Performance Reviews of member countries can be accessed via the password protected site or for more information visit


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