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Vanhanen calls for sustainable investment

Matti Vanhanen, Finland’s Minister of Finance, promotes the urgency of sustainable investing. The criteria for sustainable investments must remain moderate so that sustainable businesses will attract enough financing.

Finland and Chile lead the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. According to Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party), the coalition’s main global goals are mobilising finance for climate action, and setting large enough tariffs for CO2 emissions. Vanhanen supports the EU’s action to create common rules for sustainable investing but notes that the criteria must remain moderate.

As we’re working to revitalise the society after the coronavirus crisis, how is the prevention of climate change taken into account?

“The prevention of climate change and Finland’s carbon neutrality for 2035 are some of the most important objectives of the government programme. It is estimated that renewable energy and the reforms of industrial processes will require tens of billions of euros. We want to speed up those kinds of investments as they will also revitalise the economy and improve employment. Developing and implementing new technology are good ways to boost competitiveness in the long term.”

What would be the best way for the government and the financial sector to cooperatively curb climate change?

“Finland leads the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action together with Chile. The coalition’s main global goals are mobilising finance for climate action, and setting large enough tariffs for CO2 emissions. Turning the flow of funding from fossil to renewable technologies is the globally shared responsibility of the financial sectors and the authorities.”

In your opinion, how should sustainable finance be promoted?  

“It is a good thing that we’re getting common rules for sustainable finance in the EU, because the financial markets need improved visibility of the sustainability properties of investments. The sustainability criteria must not be too restrictive, however, so that sustainable activities will receive an adequate volume of investments. Lots of funding is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

What is your take on the idea that climate change mitigation should be one of the criteria for business subsidies related to the coronavirus crisis? 

“Business subsidies must be set into motion quickly to avoid a wave of bankruptcies. Applying for subsidies must therefore be easy and the processing of applications must happen smoothly. That in turn requires that the criteria aren’t too extensive. For this reason I think climate criteria are unsuitable for the corona crisis subsidies.”

”On the other hand, many companies can turn the crisis situation into development of their operations, and I believe there are many concrete plans for corporate environmental action as well. Sustainable growth after the crisis will also require sustainable funding.”



Finance Finland (FFI) interviewed key policy makers with a set of four questions on sustainable finance and economic recovery. Other interviews published in this series so far:

Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change