Kestävä rahoitus – vihreitä investointeja koskeva EU:n luokittelujärjestelmä
Sustainable finance – EU classification system for green investments
Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto (The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation) is the oldest and biggest non-governmental organisation in Finland.
We welcome the Taxonomy Regulation. It is an essential basis for the Green Deal and implementation of the Do Not Significant Harm principle into practice. Of course, it doesn’t solve all the problems and the methodology has still some restrictions. However, it is a good start towards more sustainable funding.
In our national discussion there discussion about some special items:
Peatlands: In Finland farmers are still draining new carbon-rich peatlands for cultivation. This is often connected to livestock production and the need for more space to spread manure from a farm. Peat burning is still going on in Finland. Some companies take peat also for gardens and farms. They are trying to find new uses for peat and moss, because higher price of CO2 emissions has made peat burning less profitable than some years ago. Peat taking is extremely harmful for climate and biodiversity. It is essential to exclude all peat and moss products from sustainable financing also in the future. It is now better to invest in peat-free products, restoration of peatlands and paludiculture.
Afforestation: It can be harmful for traditional rural habitats, cultural landscape areas and High Nature Value Farmland. We have more effective and less controversial ways to combat Climate change.
Forestry: It is the biggest problem for biodiversity in Finland, a big problem for waters and in most years also a climate problem (massive clear-cutting causes loss of carbon from trees and soil). National legislation, national and regional forest strategies, most used certification (PEFC) and current forest planning system have not been enough to halt the loss of forest biodiversity. We really need Improved Forest Management with preservation of landscape and consultation of stakeholders. (Finnish forest legislation is now not in the line of Aarhus Convention: no participation and access to justice.)
Hydropower: Nearly all of our rivers are blocked by dams, which is extremely bad for migratory fish and water habitats. In addition, hydropower dams are usually connected to artificial lakes. Companies are taking water from these lakes when the price of electricity is the best, so there can be rapid big changes of water level in lakes and rivers. This leads to many other environmental problems. That is why we don’t need any new dams – in the Western Europe we are removing them and restoring ways for migratory fish (e.g. Finnish National Fishway Strategy).
Bioenergy. Forest biomass can be used only as a transition time solution temporarily – in the long run, burning even this kind of carbon is not a wise and sustainable solution. Peat, which is worse for Climate than Coal, should not be used in the same power plants. It is important to understand that an EIA or IED licence for a bioenergy power plant doesn’t include the impacts from taking the raw material.
Waste incineration: we have lost recycling targets because of incineration, so this kind of projects should be excluded from any sustainable financing also in the future.
Nuclear energy: It causes the biggest risks in energy production. The nuclear waste question is still largely open even in Finland, which has the most developed plans. In addition, Uranium mining can cause large environmental problems: it is not only because of radioactivity, but also chemistry (harmful substance to waters). We have some lessons learnt from Talvivaara/Terrafame mine, which has already now become extremely expensive for Finnish taxpayers. Nuclear projects should be excluded also in the future.
On behalf of
Head of nature conservation unit
Ympäristöpäällikkö, va. toiminnanjohtaja Tapani Veistola
- +358 400 615 530