The amount of EU environmental legislation has increased at a fast clip. Preparing and implementing new legislation at the national level and the application of legislation within companies uses government and corporate resources. Over-regulation restricts companies’ voluntary actions and limits innovation.
The fact that many policy instruments—for example, permits, norms, taxes, fees, agreements and emissions trading—are applied simultaneously has become a problem. In order for environmental policy to support competitiveness and success, it must offer companies opportunities and encouragement to make improvements. It must not be limiting and it must not penalise companies that have goodwill.
Finnish forest industry companies are frontrunners in environmental protection
Forest industry emissions in Finland have been reduced to a fraction while production has been increased. Forest industry companies have invested in the best available technology and processes have been optimised and adjusted so that disruptions can be minimised. The adoption of additional policy instruments will not necessarily lead to any major emissions reductions, or the realisation of emissions reductions may not have a notable impact on the environment, as emissions are already low.
All pulp and paper mills and most sawmills and plywood mills in Finland employ environmental management tools such as ISO 14001 and/or EMAS. When considering various policy instruments, these voluntary systems should be employed more broadly than they are currently.
The competitiveness of companies operating on the global market must be guaranteed
Forest industry companies operate globally. When contemplating environmental policy instruments, we must be sure that they will lead to emissions being reduced cost-effectively and that reduced emissions also translate into benefits for the environment. The necessity and effects of policy instruments on companies’ international competitiveness must be carefully investigated beforehand.