Finnish Futures Research Center

Turku, Finland

Finnish Futures Research Center

Turku, Finland
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Makela M.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2017

Despite its good environmental track record, the Finnish forest industry nonetheless causes harmful environmental impacts. This paper studies corporate environmental reports within the Finnish forest industry to determine the environmental performance of the industry at large. Fifteen years of environmental reports from the three biggest Finnish forest industry companies are analysed. The majority of these reports focus on inputs needed for production (especially energy) and unwanted outputs (especially air and water emissions) in the industry. The environmental impacts in areas of the industry taking place outside of mills, however, are less often reported and appear to be less important to the companies. This paper makes five contributions to the literature: First, the forest industry's reporting, as a less researched field, is studied in detail. Second, the forest industry's environmental reporting is diverse, comprised of multiple indicators and units of measurement. Third, the energy indicator reporting is both established and diversified. The diversity makes the reports as a weak source of comparison of environmental performance. Fourth, the case companies seldom report the environmental performance of their supply chains. Fifth, while the prior literature has analysed multiple environmental impacts of the forest industry, the case companies report on very few of them. The paper concludes by stating that future environmental reporting should especially address supply chains and multiple environmental impacts caused by the industry. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Haapanen L.,University of Helsinki | Tapio P.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2016

The concept of degrowth has refuelled the criticism of unchecked economic growth. The purpose of this paper is to identify the central themes of the 21st century growth critique. Qualitative content analysis is conducted for three contemporary classics of the expanding degrowth literature: Peter Victor's Managing without growth: Slower by design, not disaster, Serge Latouche's Farewell to Growth and Tim Jackson's Prosperity without growth: Economics for a finite planet. The analysis reveals three central themes, which provide different perspectives on growth: 1) Growth as a phenomenon, focusing on the forms and impacts of growth and degrowth; 2) Growth as an institution, investigating institutions that either support or depend on growth; 3) Growth as an ideology, perceiving economic growth as an overwhelming and hegemonic political goal above other goals and the need for emancipation. The themes complement each other. Together they provide a new framework for understanding the diverse aspects of growth and degrowth. The analysis shows that the growth critique is essentially a critique of growth societies, not only a critique of GDP growth and that the growth critics are more elaborate in describing what they oppose than what they support. An inner tension within growth critique regarding attitudes to agrowth and degrowth is also revealed. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S.I.,Wageningen University | Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S.I.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Natural Resources Forum | Year: 2012

Twenty years of international deliberations on sustainable development reaches another peak in 2012 during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. However, with every review of the implementation of the ambitious Agenda 21, it becomes more difficult to reignite the "spirit of Rio" and in this paper I argue that one contributing factor is the inability to find a way to vertically integrate institutions and other actors across governance levels. The paper analyzes this long deliberation process and its normative outcome with respect to its multi-levelness and approach to vertical integration. It concludes that both the first Earth Summit in Rio 1992 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development expressed high ambitions for dynamic interaction between governance at different levels, both in the deliberation and implementation stages. Yet, the actual number of practical links between levels could have been much higher and the references to vertical linkages in the conference process decreased over time. The preparations for Rio+20 continue this downward trend despite a widespread recognition that the need for coherence and integration were major motivational factors for Rio+20. The prospects for the process to stimulate the forming of coalitions of the willing that could bring closer vertical integration and implement multi-level governance are thereby limited. © 2012 The Author. Natural Resources Forum © 2012 United Nations.

Lyytimaki J.,Finnish Environment Institute | Tapio P.,Finnish Futures Research Center | Assmuth T.,Finnish Environment Institute
Land Use Policy | Year: 2012

New information is often emphasized as a basis of effective and scientifically sound environmental policy and management. However, outdated or incorrect information is not automatically nor instantly replaced by new insights. This article focuses on the various ways environmental information can be unintentionally left with insufficient attention or purposefully neglected. Energy-related emissions caused by road traffic in Finland are used as an illustrative example and light pollution caused by artificial lighting is identified as an emerging issue that has gained especially low recognition in the environmental agenda. Four different reasons for this lack of recognition are discussed: recognized unawareness, false awareness, deliberate unawareness and concealed awareness. Paying attention to light pollution is important because of various ecological, socio-cultural and economic effects but also because implementing measures aimed for reducing light pollution create possibilities for alleviating other social and environmental problems in transport and land use policies. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Koskela M.,Finnish Futures Research Center | Vehmas J.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Business Strategy and the Environment | Year: 2012

Environmental reporting is a tool of corporate environmental management that can also be used as research material. The aim of this paper is to produce a comprehensive definition of eco-efficiency based on the literature and then compare it with definitions identified in the environmental reports published by selected companies. In addition, this paper presents a conceptual framework of the relationship between environmental and economic performance in the companies. Three Finnish companies in the forest industry are selected as case companies. This analysis reviews environmental reports published by the companies from 1998 to 2007. In short, eco-efficiency can be seen either as an indicator of environmental performance, or as a business strategy for sustainable development. The case companies very seldom give an exact definition of eco-efficiency in their environmental reports. However, different aspects of eco-efficiency are often referred to. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Vinnari M.,University of Eastern Finland | Tapio P.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Ecological Economics | Year: 2012

The production of food for consumption produces environmental stress and raises ethical issues. As humans are able to choose different foodstuffs in their diets, food consumption guidance may have large benefits for the environment. Meat consumption is often identified as the most environmentally harmful foodstuff to produce and animal welfare and rights issues are receiving ever more attention. By combining both issues, this article proposes a conceptual framework for combining alternative dietary habits and agricultural production styles in general environmental policy strategies. Two means to lower meat consumption are proposed: 1) Redeveloping the Pigouvian food taxation system introduced by Goodland (1997), in which foodstuffs are taxed according to their environmental burden. An elaborated version could also include an ethical tax that incorporates consumers' attitudes on animal welfare and a coefficient that takes into account the inherent value of animals; 2) Taking the composition of a national stockpile as a starting point and designing the agricultural production system from a combined environmental and ethical perspective. In this system, the environmentally and ethically preferable foodstuffs would be purchased by the government and sold to the global markets. The premiums between these two prices would constitute the subsidies for the national production. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

In developing countries, providing all citizens an access to modern forms of energy is among the central energy policy objectives, as the linkages between modern energy services and human development are widely recognized. This paper presents in a scenario analysis of rural energy consumption, how energy services in different sectors of a village economy contribute to the achievement of the UNDP Millennium Development Goals. In a rural village in Lao People's Democratic Republic, household energy demand and energy uses were surveyed immediately prior to the electrification of the village. Based on the situation preceding electrification of the village, the development of village electrification was studied by simulating the village energy system, accounting for all village energy uses but transportation. To study the potential development of electricity demand in the village, three scenarios were constructed using the LEAP model: "residential demand", "income generation" and "public services". Energy demand in each scenario was analyzed with reference to the Millennium Development Goals. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Koskela M.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Safety Science | Year: 2014

There is a current lack of research on occupational health and safety (OH&S) reporting as a part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. The aim of this paper is to analyse the OH&S reporting in (CSR) reports. Five years of CSR reports from three companies representing different business sectors are here used as research material. The results show the OH&S reporting to consist of reporting on occupational health, occupational safety and well-being at work. The companies report mainly about occupational safety with a variety of subareas, whereas the reporting of well-being at work is more seldom and with less variation of subareas. In each theme, the companies report both the results that their OH&S work has yielded and the processes behind these results. As the results show more similarities in OH&S reporting than differences between the companies, more research on OH&S reporting is encouraged. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Koskela M.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

The aim of this paper is to discuss the measurement of eco-efficiency in the Finnish forest industry from three perspectives. First, the paper introduces a way to measure eco-efficiency in the Finnish forest industry. Second, the paper evaluates the suitability of public data for calculating eco-efficiency in the Finnish forest industry. Third, the calculations of selected eco-efficiencies are presented. The main method used in this research is the Delphi panel, and eco-efficiency indicators are based on the experts' rating. The environmental and economic performance information of the three biggest Finnish forest industry companies are used here as examples. According to the experts of the Delphi panel, the economic performance of the eco-efficiency should be measured using the 'value added' indicator. In environmental performance, they preferred the environmental impact or emissions groups. Based on public data, the value added data can only be calculated at the company level, although the environmental impact and emissions groups could be presented in detail as site-level figures. Eco-efficiencies can be calculated only with selected environmental aspects and for a limited time frame. The eco-efficiency calculations show varying trends for the three companies: improvements, declines and fluctuations in eco-efficiencies. The current research raises questions regarding the usability of public data as a source of research material, suitability of the indicators suggested for decision making of the forest industry, the need for more detailed data to study the development of the eco-efficiency of the Finnish forest industry and the need to compare the eco-efficiency performance of the Finnish forest industry with that of its international counterparts. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Akgun O.,Finnish Futures Research Center | Luukkanen J.,Finnish Futures Research Center
Energy Procedia | Year: 2012

Reliable and affordable electricity is one of the biggest problems in Cambodia. Only 24 % of the population has an access to electricity while the others suffer from insufficient electricity supply. This paper shows the current situation in Cambodian electricity facilities and offers rice husk gasification systems as an option for electricity generation. In this paper rice husk gasification system has been inspired by Batt Daeng Electrification Company in Kampoung Speu province in Cambodia. The idea of the study focuses on the extension of biomass gasification technology and calculates the potential of using all rice husk produced in a year in Cambodia. The rice husk produced in 2007 has a potential to generate about 1377 GWh electricity yearly in a gasification system similar to one Batt Daeng Electricity Company has. This amount of electricity is comparable with the total electricity consumption in the same year. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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