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Finland continues to set sustainable pace

The Finnish welfare model provides a solid foundation for it pursuing the goals of becoming carbon neutral and fossil free by 2035.


Finland sits atop the Sustainable Development Index, a UN tool tracking progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, for the third consecutive year.

The country continues to set the pace globally for progress toward the goals with a score of 86.8 and a spillover one of 73.7 on the index, having achieved three of the 17 goals: no poverty, quality education, and affordable and clean energy.

The spillover score reflects the societal and environmental effects a country causes through trade, security, and economic and financial activity.

Invest in Finland suggested Finland has managed to remain the pacesetter for sustainable development in part because the social trust and societal stability stemming from the Finnish welfare model provide a solid foundation for pursuing the ambitious goals of becoming carbon neutral and fossil free by 2035.

Finland was assessed to have improved moderately on 10 goals, although challenges persist for eight and significant challenges for two of them. Further efforts are required also on the remaining four goals: zero hunger, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, and climate action.

The country has to overcome major challenges to eradicate hunger, transition to responsible production and consumption, and take action to combat the climate crisis. Climate action was one of two dimensions, along with reducing inequalities, in which the country was assessed to have regressed.

Finland has achieved three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including that of providing the population access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.


The UN pointed out that global progress toward the goals has stagnated for the third consecutive year, cautioning that there is a risk that the gap in outcomes between high-income and low-income countries will be larger in 2030 than when the goals were universally agreed upon, in 2015.

“Halfway to 2030, the SDGs are seriously off track – with the poor and highly vulnerable countries suffering the most,” summed up Jeffrey D. Sachs, the lead author of the Sustainable Development Report.

He implored the international community to step up at upcoming multilateral meetings: “It would be unconscionable for the world to miss this opportunity, especially for the richest countries to evade their responsibilities. The SDGs remain fundamental for the future we want.”

A Nordic leader

Finland has also recognised as a trailblazer in sustainable development within the Nordic region. According to a six-year sustainability performance report from France conducted last year, Finland has taken the lead among Nordic countries, closely followed by Sweden, while Norway has made exceptional progress. According to the report, Finland's success can be attributed to its holistic approach to sustainability. The country has made significant strides in renewable energy production, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting circular economy practices. Finnish companies have also embraced sustainability in their procurement processes, fostering responsible supply chains. Moreover, Finland has prioritised sustainable innovation, with a focus on clean technologies and eco-friendly solutions.

By: Aleksi Teivainen