Finland: Social security with inequalities and big footprint

The presentation by Finland of its second VNR in 2020 initiated a new kind of cooperation between state authorities and civil society, with non-governmental actors presenting their assessment in the official report. Both views are largely in line, but civil society is more critical.

There is no extreme poverty in Finland and a comprehensive social security covers the whole population. Still there are challenges in relation to poverty and inequality. A crucial problem is that increasing in inequalities and social exclusion seem to accumulate and extend across generations, causing intergenerational transmission of poverty.

While gender equality situation is considered “good”, Finland is the second most violent EU country for women. As many as 47 per cent of Finnish women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence.

The biggest challenge of Finland is the consumption of raw materials. It is high in relation to gross domestic product and per capita, the highest in the world. Total energy consumption was 1.38 million terajoules in 2018, and 40 per cent of fossil fuels. Finland’s economy produced 0.21 kg of carbon dioxide per EUR 1 of GDP, more than double that of Sweden or Switzerland. The average material footprint among Finns is over 40 000 kg per person a year, and the trend is rising. The accounting of greenhouse gas emissions does not consider the impact of Finnish consumption beyond its national borders.

“Ecological footprint of Finland is more than three times larger than the global average and our consumption has negative effects abroad”, concludes the Finnish civil society report.

By Outi Hakkarainen, Finnish Development NGOs Fingo.

Read this national chapter here.

Source: Report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2020.