Finland – FIBS
What is your country’s government doing with respect to the SDGs and how have they engaged business around this agenda?
Finland is actively taking national measures to implement the 2030 Agenda and the
17 Sustainable Development Goals by showing Government’s political leadership and commitment, and by engaging the society and various stakeholders in the implemen-tation process through participatory partnerships.
The following national plans, mechanisms and bodies are key in driving sustainable development in Finland forward:
- Early 2017, the Government adopted the National Implementation Plan (NIP) for the Agenda 2030 focusing on two main areas: 1) Carbon-neutrality and resource-wisdom, and 2) Non-discrimination, equality and competence. Most importantly, the NIP urges to include the principles and objectives of sustainable development in foresight activities and budget preparation considering how activities of different ministries and governmental sectors contribute to the SDGs.
- The Committee for the Future, a standing committee in the Parliament, has taken the overall responsibility for Finland’s contribution to the realization of the Agenda 2030. Since 2017, the Government included the promotion of sustainable development in its Annual Report to the Parliament and established an annual public discussion forum for measuring and taking stock of progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
- Furthermore, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, chaired by the Prime Minister, is an influential multi-stakeholder forum responsible for adapting international SDGs into national strategies, policies, administration and social practices, and to promote multi-stakeholder cooperation.
- The main instrument for implementing the SDGs in concrete ways is the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, a shared long-term vision of “The Finland we want by 2050” as well as an online platform where different actors – including municipalities, ministries, businesses, NGOs and private citizens – can make commitments linked to 8 objectivesthat carry out the 17 SDGs.
- In its NIP, the Government committed itself to a comprehensive evaluation of the national implementation efforts of the Agenda 2030 once per electoral term. In 2019, the PATH2030 project has thus produced An Evaluation of Finland’s Sustainable Development Policy and formulated concrete recommendations for the future.
- Results of the sustainable development work will be tracked through a national indicator programme.
What are some of the key trends with regard to how business is engaging with the SDGs in your country?
Finnish companies have a major contribution to make towards achieving the SDGs by aligning their business models in a way that meets the needs of future generations. In 2019, 52% of the large companies report taking the SDGs into account in their business activities, which is 11% more compared to the previous year (see FIBS Sustainability in Finland 2019 survey).
In 2017, FIBS asked 125 sustainability professionals to evaluate the progress made on each Global Goal. According to the survey, the most important goals for the Finnish companies are SDG 13, 12 and 9, the least attractive ones are 2, 16, 1 and 14. More than half of corporate experts surveyed said that their business contributes to the SDGs by developing products or services that will provide solutions in line with the Global Goals. Many corporate experts also said their organizations pursue partnerships or collaborations related to the SDGs or apply the Global Goals as a lens when setting strategies and goals. Very few corporate experts mentioned philanthropic contributions or providing financing as a way to contribute towards the SDGs, which suggests that corporates may prefer to take a direct role in providing solutions.
It seems, that more and more Finnish companies are taking concrete actions on strategically implementing SDGs. For more information, please see the FIBS Business 2030 survey 2017 (full report in Finnish only).
What is your organization doing with respect to the SDGs?
FIBS acknowledges the importance of the SDGs as part of a jointly agreed global ambition to end poverty, protect our planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Therefore, we continue to integrate the SDGs into our strategy and promote them in our work through trainings, seminars and awareness raising activities. During our SDG workshops we aim at sharing experiences and enhancing peer to peer collaboration, practical policy integration, coherence as well as knowledge and skills acquisition. SDG 17 is our main goal as we act as a platform which brings together various actors and encourage collaboration, but we also promote other goals and themes through thematic sessions.
More specifically, in 2018, we organized two webinars on how businesses can implement SDGs in their strategy. In addition, we held a workshop in cooperation with DNV GL on “Moving ahead with sustainable development – Business impact on SDGs”. In 2019, our priority is to train businesses to understand how they can advance the SDGs in practice by providing good practice examples from Finland. Furthermore, we’ve studied how (many) Finnish companies consider the SDGs in their business activities through our FIBS Sustainability in Finland 2019 survey (full report in Finnish only).
Websites: FIBS databank (use SDG as key word to find relevant resources), VNR 2016 on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (VNR 2020 forthcoming)
Contact: FIBS (Finnish Business & Society)