Climate and energy
The “Global Warming of 1.5°C” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that emissions must be reduced considerably faster than previously assumed. Curbing climate change creates costs, but they are estimated to be clearly lower than the detrimental effects of climate change.
Because climate change weakens global and thus also Finnish economic development and causes direct economic losses, combating it is in the interests of SMEs.
Countries’ current emission reduction promises would see the climate warm up by approximately 2.5°C. In addition to economic instability, this would cause large scale environmental problems, increase extreme weather phenomena, and affect peoples’ living conditions around the world, increasing refugee flows.
Finland has set itself the goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. The EU is targeting carbon neutrality by 2050. The EU’s climate and energy policy has a strong impact on Finland’s emission reductions.
Cost-effective emission reductions
Suomen Yrittäjät wants to see emissions reduced as cost-effectively as possible, creating as few costs as possible for the national economy and businesses. This would mean reduced emissions leading to reasonable energy rates and SMEs’ voices being better heard in decision-making. Stringent SME-focused regulation should be avoided, and subsidy policy must not discriminate against small businesses. Effective solutions for emission reduction can be achieved by investing in market solutions and the development of new technology.
Emission trading and taxation key to emission reduction
Emission trading and taxation are key tools for cutting emissions. They put a price tag on environmental damage. Increased environmental taxation and more efficient emission trading can steer economic participants, on market terms, towards an environmentally friendlier and often more entrepreneur-driven activities, such as using cleaner technologies and fuels.
As charges for pollution are increased, business and income taxation can be reduced. This would promote the transfer towards a carbon-neutral economy, stimulate employment and improve Finland’s competitiveness. In taxation, however, businesses should continue to be guaranteed reasonably priced energy. The limited technical opportunities in some sectors for moving to lower-emission operations should not be penalized with tax increases.
Investments in RDI essential
New technology and the circular economy can also be used to reduce environmental impact. Suomen Yrittäjät wants to see greater investments at both the Finnish and EU levels in Research, Development and Innovation (RDI). This can speed up businesses’ shift to a low-carbon economy and promote their globally pioneering status in low-emissions technology.
SMEs develop the circular economy
The transition to the circular economy is important in curbing climate change. All actors’ inputs are needed to achieve the goals of the circular economy.
SMEs are in a key position to deploy and develop new circular economy models. More efficient paths to increasing SMEs’ resource efficiency and waste and material recycling will generate cost savings and new business opportunities.