Clean transition creates growth for Europe

Ambitious climate goals and green transition will create new opportunities and competitive advantages for both Finnish and European industry, if they are boldly and persistently seized, states Wilhelm Ehrnrooth, Vice President of ESG at YIT.  

On the eve of the European elections, the Climate Leadership Coalition Network has published its policy recommendations, which are intended to serve as a guide for the European Commission to boost Europe's competitiveness and clean industries.

As Finland's leading construction company and urban developer, we want to be part of the solution to combat climate change. We support the CLC's view that the EU's climate targets must remain ambitious also in the future. We believe that the green transition will create new opportunities and competitive advantages for both Finnish and European industry, if they are boldly and persistently seized. 

The green transition requires innovative technical solutions, political will, securing funding and broad cooperation between different actors. We need clear signals and incentives that low-carbon production, and consumption are viable and attractive options. We also need common, long-term regulation and indicators for how emissions are measured and reported. 

One major climate challenge is reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment. The use and construction of the built environment consumes about half of the world's natural resources and accounts for about 30% of energy consumption. It is therefore important that the construction industry adopts low-carbon materials and methods that reduce the energy consumption of buildings, extend their lifespan and enable a circular economy. Reducing carbon emissions in supply chains requires first and foremost cooperation in supply chains. This, in turn, requires a clear signal to product manufacturers that there is a functioning European market for low-carbon products.  

YIT has ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions in its own operations. We are committed, among other things, to reducing our own emissions (scope 1 & 2) by 90% and value chain emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to the 2019 baseline. In addition to science-based emission reduction targets, YIT aims to be carbon neutral in its own operations by 2030.  We are committed to reporting our carbon footprint transparently and reliably, and we are the first construction company in Finland to have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative for our emission reduction targets.  

However, it is not possible to achieve these goals without working with our entire value chain. We cannot reduce carbon emissions alone, but we need our suppliers, subcontractors, customers and other stakeholders to get involved in the work. Above all, we also need the support of regulators, decision-makers and the EU to create market-based and predictable conditions for low-carbon solutions. Reducing carbon emissions is vital for our future, but we also see huge opportunities for sustainable business. 

YIT wants to be part of a solution that guarantees a viable future for both people and the planet in terms of the built environment. Together with the CLC, we challenge EU policymakers to work to accelerate the green transition towards a more dynamic and sustainable Europe.   

Wilhelm Erhnrooth
Vice President, ESG