Finland's true potential for global environmental impact is "handprint", which is realized when advanced climate technology is exported from Finland to the world market.
I've been an entrepreneur and investor in the environmental technology sector for 20 years. I believe in science, technology and entrepreneurship and I have been using them in helping to solve the greatest challenges of our time, climate change and biodiversity loss.
Scalable technology and growth are prerequisites for environmental impact in business. If they materialize, it will be possible to grow the business, which will increase both economic well-being and have positive environmental impacts.
During the past 20 years I have been involved in dozens of technology companies whose technologies reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment. These companies also reduce transport sectors emissions and promote the transition to a sustainable transport system, produce energy and increase energy efficiency. They also save energy, e.g. in industry and real estate and promote the transition to a sustainable energy system. They save water in industry and society and prevent microplastics from entering the seas. They also save and recycle food and valuable raw materials and contribute to the transition to a circular economy. I really do not want to exaggerate my own role in all this, but for 20 years I have been involved in taking these and many other environmental technology companies on to all continents of the world (except Antarctica). These companies have had a significant and measurable positive impact on the environment, and I have had the change to be part of the process of creating that impact. These growth companies have also created hundreds of jobs and plenty of alumni, many of whom continue to work on environmental technology in other companies.
Entrepreneurship is demanding but also a huge resource where a person is refined at best when he takes responsibility for himself and sees the results of his own efforts. I believe that conserving natural resources and combating climate change is also a unique business opportunity. In entrepreneurship, I see a huge opportunity to change the world in a more resource-efficient direction.
In the environmental debate in Finland, large and small issues must be distinguished. Finland's carbon footprint is not a global problem, and Finnish production is often cleaner than that of competing countries. Finnish production is an eco-act that we must protect.
Finland's role in managing global environmental issues is to be a place where, through education, science and business, state-of-the-art environmental technology is developed to meet the needs of the world. In politics, we must not implement domestic policy for only symbolic environmental impact in case that approach will weaken the international competitiveness of Finnish industry and business.
Compared to many countries, Finland has harsh natural conditions. For only symbolic environmental impact, we must not implement policies that e.g. complicate the mobility and life of Helsinki’s residents, and thus reduce Helsinki's attractiveness as a comfortable place for people to live and work. We absolutely should not make any policy decisions that have only a symbolic environmental impact but that stifle the economy and reduce Helsinki's chances of building the largest possible environmental handprint in the world.
Finland's real opportunity for global impact is the “handprint” that is realized by exporting advanced climate technology from Finland to the world market. These technologies and solutions can be a significant source of economic growth and well-being for Finland.
The introduction of environmental technology must not stunt the Finnish economy, but increase it.
A clean and safe living environment is the foundation of a good life. Now and in the future.
Helsinki's responsibility is to lead and be a pioneer but also understanding realities. Responsible politics and the interests of citizens require that Helsinki does not waste taxpayers' money on adventures or virtue signaling, but that decisions are made prudently, on the basis of facts and with an understanding of the real environmental and economic consequences.
Measures to protect the environment usually also incur costs for citizens. Care must be taken to ensure that the transition is fair and does not place an unreasonable burden on local people's finances.