Commerce may achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 – tax solutions and energy investment support will help in reaching the target
The aim of the commerce sector’s low carbon roadmap is to enable Finnish commerce to be the global climate pioneer in the industry and achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, and in 2050, the industry’s emissions will be practically zero. By way of a reduced electricity tax and subsidised small-scale production of renewable energy, commerce can bring carbon neutrality forward by 15 years. Climate work by commerce sector companies, which serve the Finnish society as a whole, has a significant positive handprint impact on the entire value and delivery chain and customers’ possibilities to operate sustainably.
The Renewable Commerce 2035 roadmap, published on 5 June 2020, which is World Environment Day, outlines the effectiveness of climate action in the sector. If the operating environment provided by the public sector, and policy measures, remain as they are today, the sector will be able to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. If the transition in commerce is supported by a reduced rate of electricity tax, carbon neutrality can be achieved in 2038. If, in addition to electro-intensity, the introduction of small-scale production of renewable energy is subsidised, the commerce sector can become carbon neutral as early as in 2035.*
“In the Renewable Commerce scenario, in 2035, direct greenhouse gas emissions from energy produced by us, and purchased energy, will be approximately 80 per cent lower than in 2020 when the roadmap was drawn up,” says Marja Ola, Chief Policy Adviser at Finnish Commerce Federation about the roadmap’s expected results.
Fair competition and a tax incentive policy support commerce with carbon neutrality
The vision of Renewable commerce is to be carbon neutral in 2035, 15 years earlier than if the operating environment created by the public sector and political measures remained unchanged – and have almost zero emissions in 2050. However, a wide range of measures is required to attain the goal.
”Finland must have an international lobbying policy. We need incentives for investments and acquisitions and new tax solutions that promote the cost competitiveness of commerce sector companies, and a fair competitive playing field in the global economy without borders. Public procurements must also be targeted so that they make the provision of climate-resilient solutions financially profitable,” says Managing Director Mari Kiviniemi of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The proposals in the Renewable Commerce 2035 roadmap include lower electricity tax for the service sector, support for small-scale production of renewable energy, extending the same obligations to international web platforms, ensuring the long-term development of transport and infrastructure, climate-resilient land use planning and improved compilation of statistics.
“Finnish commerce has always operated in an international environment, and competition benefits our customers. However, fair competition is a must,” Kiviniemi points out.
Commerce sector companies are already doing a lot – the sector’s handprint has a significant positive impact on society
Commerce, which operates closely with consumers and companies and employs almost 300,000 professionals, is a socially and financially important facilitator of climate change mitigation.
“Shops contribute to ensuring that climate-resilient products and services, as well as sellers and buyers, meet in a resource-wise way throughout the value chain,” says Managing Director Mari Kiviniemi of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
The transfer to carbon-neutrality is one of the key cornerstones in the strategies of commerce sector companies. The emissions from commerce itself account for less than one per cent of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions. The sector has engaged in ambitious climate work for a long time, and companies have determinedly transferred to emission-free, low-emission and renewable energy and power sources.
“Sustainability for the future has been the key word in developing the competences of commerce sector employees, and customer solutions. The federations in the sector have also concluded several voluntary agreements and made commitments towards mitigating climate change. Prime examples of this are the joint voluntary Green Deal agreements of commerce and the Ministry of the Environment,” says Ola.
Commerce sector companies’ climate work has a significant positive handprint effect
Even though the emissions from commerce account for a considerably lower share than those of energy-intensive sectors, climate work by commerce sector companies has a significant positive handprint impact on the entire value and delivery chain and customers’ possibilities to operate and live in a carbon-neutral, sustainable way.
Daily consumer goods and specialty goods trade provide an interface with private consumption and, by offering alternatives, can influence the key emission sources of consumption, whereas the carbon handprint of technical trade considerably exceeds the size of this sector of trade, accelerating, enabling and implementing customers’ renewal for example in industry, infrastructure investments and housing. Wholesale trade also ensures the availability of products essential for the industry and ensures their quality.
“Commerce actively offers solutions to reduce the customers’ carbon footprint and emissions, and tools for measuring and reducing own use and consumption,” Ola says.
*All scenarios require compensation from commerce in order to achieve carbon neutrality.
Explore the commerce sector’s low carbon roadmap (only in Finnish):
Uusiutuva kauppa 2035 – Elinkeinoelämän suurimman toimialan yritysten ääni ilmastonmuutoksen torjuntaan >>
The Renewable Commerce 2035 roadmap will be presented alongside the roadmaps of other sectors at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s event on 9 June 2020.
Explore the contents and companies’ low-carbon action Renewable Commerce 2035
For further information, please contact:
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, the Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 50 511 3189, mari.kiviniemi(at)kauppa.fi
Marja Ola, Chief Policy Adviser, the Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 50 383 7711, marja.ola(at)kauppa.fi
A large number of commerce sector operators have participated in the Renewable Commerce 2035 roadmap work, launched in autumn 2019. The steering group members were experts from the Finnish Commerce Federation, its member associations and member companies. In addition, an extended Opportunities Workshop was organised in cooperation with Service Union United PAM. The roadmap work was facilitated by a team of experts from Demos Helsinki Oy.