The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are a tool for evaluating a company’s or an issuer’s operations’ sustainability. The factors are divided into three groups, each letter representing a different area of sustainable responsibility. The Environmental (E) criteria concentrate on, for example, emissions, energy industry, natural resource management and climate change. The Social (S) criteria include topics such as human rights, political freedom, health care, education, public safety and security. The Governmental (G) criteria cover corruption, international relations, trade, quality of data and transparency, among others.
Many of these criteria are often attributed to Finland in international discussions about sustainability. The history of sustainable and social responsibility has long traditions in Finland. Free education and the public health care system have been corner stones of welfare in the Finnish society for a long time.
There is significant public transparency – an ESG measure in itself – on government activity, and ample data published by both local authorities and international organisations. The State Treasury wishes to provide guidance and support investors’ data discovery, facilitating their independent ESG evaluation and investment decisions. In this section, we have gathered links to Finnish and international information sources on ESG and sustainable development. We hope that the data in these links can help investors in their ESG integration efforts and decision making.
Finland is committed to sustainable development
The aim of Finland’s Government is to transform Finland into a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society by 2030. The Government will work to ensure that Finland is carbon neutral by 2035 and carbon negative soon after that.
Government programme, 6 June 2019 (pdf)
Finland’s report on the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development (3 June 2020), presents how Finland has made progress in implementing the Agenda2030 and achieving the sustainable develooment goals over the past four years. According to it, Finland has achieved or is close to achieving sustainable development goals related to reducing poverty, health, education, water and energy, reducing inequality and peace, justice and strong institutions.
The website www.kestavakehitys.fi provides information on sustainable development, work done by the National Commission on Sustainable Development, Agenda 2030 and Society’s Commitment to Sustainability. The Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for the website.
The Finance Ministers of Finland and Chile co-lead the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. In February 2019, Finland hosted the coalition’s first meeting in Helsinki, in which government representatives from 19 countries agreed on the Coalition’s goals and actions and gathered a set of principles, known as the Helsinki Principles. The principles are meant to support Finance Ministers to share best practices and experiences on macro, fiscal, and public financial management policies for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.
An overview of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action (pdf)
The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action (Coalition’s website)
Helsinki Principles (Coalition’s website)
Sustainable Development Goals
In Finland, Statistics Finland is responsible for the national collection, updating and publication of UN indicator data. Statistics Finland also reports follow-up indicator data concerning Finland.
Statistics Finland: UN indicators for sustainable development
See also information on key social indicators on Findicator.fi.
Finland ranks third on the SDG Index, which summarizes countries’ performance on the 17 sustainable development goal indicators.
Towards a more sustainable budget
Finland is one of the first countries in the world that is seeking to identify the connections between government budgeting and sustainable development. Under each main title of expenditure in the 2019 budget proposal, the connections that the appropriations have with sustainable development have been identified. The identified appropriations will promote, among other things, biodiversity and the well-being of the environment and nature, reduce emissions, advance bioeconomic solutions and develop Finland towards a low-carbon society.
Sustainable development in the Government’s budget
Budget review, Sustainable development
ESG factors and credit rating decisions
Fitch Ratings has started to publish ESG relevance scores for sovereigns. The relevance scores show how ESG factors affect individual credit ratings decisions. Fitch’s assessment on Finland can be found on the Credit Ratings page.
Finland in international country comparisons
Visit the Statistics Finland website to see a list of studies that have placed Finland among the best countries in the world in various comparisons.
Statistics Finland: Finland among the best in the world
The State Treasury is a part of the WWF Green Office network.