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Finland at COP28: Finnish Digitalization Paving the Way to Carbon Neutrality

Finland has emerged as a global leader in the race towards carbon neutrality, harnessing the power of innovation, digitalization and new technologies to drive unprecedented change. Participating at COP28 with its own pavilion for the first time, Finland's message has been clear: we must take action over words and, according to Nokia, there is no green without digital. Finland and its partner companies have shared insights into how the country is leveraging digital tools and technologies to reach its target of carbon neutrality by 2035.

Speakers at Nokia's 'No Green Without Digital' session at COP28; from left: Subho Mukherjee, Vice President Sustainability and Global Head of ESG at Nokia; Melissa Schoeb, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Nokia; Guangzhe Chen, Vice President Infrastructure at World Bank; Araceli Fernandez Pales, Head of Technology Innovation Unit at International Energy Agency; Sebastien Weber, Global Chief Information Officer at E.On; Hatem Dowidar, Group Chief Executive Officer at e&; Heikki Malinen, President and CEO at Outokumpu. Image Credit: Business Finland

A key driver in Finland's success in its fight against climate change is the country's robust digital infrastructure. The Nordic nation has strategically invested in cutting-edge technologies, combining smart investment with technical know-how to create an ecosystem that fosters innovation and efficiency. From smart grids to advanced data analytics, Finnish businesses and government agencies are embracing digital solutions to optimize energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint and go beyond carbon neutrality in efforts to create a positive global handprint. In a series of interactive panels and discussions held at Finland's COP28 pavilion, Business Finland and its partner companies have shared their journeys and provided practical, actionable recommendations for organizations and policymakers looking to replicate Finland's success.

Finnish partner company Nokia presented a range of technology solutions, including 5G and artificial intelligence, which the networking leader is utilizing to accelerate the green transition. In a session introduced by Finland's Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, and Melissa Schoeb, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Nokia, speakers discussed digitalization and how it can help organizations and governments achieve the critical goal of net zero.

Speaking of the need for private sector support in the fight against climate change, Orpo said: "Urgent action is needed to tackle climate change and its impact. I look forward to COP28 delivering a strong, forward-looking political message. We all, especially the largest contributors to climate change, need to commit to more ambitious emission reductions. Finland has set an ambitious target to be carbon-neutral by 2035 and become a leader in green energy. We are taking action to phase out the use of fossil fuels in heat and electricity production by the 2030s at the latest. Our goal is to double our production of green electricity. There can be no climate action without the private sector.

"The Finnish business community supports ambitious climate targets, which are actually good for business. In Finland, 14 sectors, from agriculture to technology, have developed low-carbon road maps in a unique joint effort with the government. Finnish companies have a great deal of expertise when it comes to the green transition. They are leaders in waste-to-energy solutions, energy efficiency equipment, battery technologies, wind energy infrastructure and weather systems."

Orpo went on to say that twin green and digital transitions go hand in hand, and the green transition would not be possible without connectivity and network solutions. He expressed the strong link between Finland's green transition and the country's objectives for climate-neutral digital industries. Orpo said: "Our vision is that the Finnish manufacturing industry will be clean, efficient and digital by 2030."

The panel of speakers included Hatem Dowidar, Group Chief Executive Officer at e&; Araceli Fernandez Pales, Head of Technology Innovation Unit at International Energy Agency; Heikki Malinen, President and CEO at Outokumpu; Sebastien Weber, Global Chief Information Officer at E.On; and Guangzhe Chen, Vice President Infrastructure at World Bank. In a discussion moderated by Nokia's Vice President Sustainability and Global Head of ESG, Subho Mukherjee, the speakers explored the importance of the twin green and digital transitions.

For its part, Nokia is facilitating the successful integration of growing amounts of distributed renewable generation while maintaining power quality, reliability, and a reasonable price by helping power utilities digitize, automate, and extend communications further out in the grid. From cutting-edge connectivity solutions offered by private wireless - 4.9G/LTE and 5G - to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, robotics, augmented and virtual reality and big data analytics, the latest digital innovations are helping to significantly speed up the drive towards decarbonization.

An example of these technologies in use is Nokia's fully digitized 5G "factory of the future" in Oulu, Northern Finland, which has been recognized by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum as an Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Lighthouse, reflecting leadership and proven success in adopting and implementing 4IR technologies at scale. The factory incorporates all 5G+ technologies to drive machining and assembly using robotics, autonomous transportation through mobile robots, advanced quality control methods, including video analytics, and maintenance schedules driven by augmented intelligence and machine learning recommendations based on real-time asset condition data.

Factory output has increased by 250 per cent while maintaining the same level of resources and energy consumption. Nokia also recorded a reduction of energy consumption per produced product by 54 per cent, and 70 per cent of CO2 emissions have been avoided. In addition, both process defects and product time to market were reduced by half.

Rather than being the outlier, Nokia's commitment to and progress in utilizing technologies to get closer to net-zero targets is mirrored by Finnish companies operating in the country and internationally. Finland's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality through the utilization of smart technologies extends beyond its borders through international collaboration. The country actively participates in global initiatives to share knowledge, world-class expertise and know-how, and technologies to accelerate the green transition. By fostering partnerships with other nations and promoting collaboration between public and private sectors, Finland is creating a ripple effect that has the potential to propel the world towards a collective commitment to carbon neutrality.


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