In order to achieve sustainable production in the future, it is essential to continuously improve industrial operations and energy systems. The production of products, components, and materials should prioritize maximum energy efficiency and economic viability, while simultaneously minimizing the use of natural resources such as raw materials, chemicals, and water. Furthermore, it is crucial to reduce emissions and mitigate environmental impacts.
The lower the expenses, the better the outcomes. By implementing intelligent energy usage and effective resource management, significant savings can be achieved. This not only improves the company’s financial performance but also positively influences its brand, reputation, and perception as an employer. Simultaneously, it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. The Circular Economy Academy offers businesses access to information, expert services, and training, empowering them to become more resource-efficient and socially responsible.
Large companies have a legal obligation to carry out energy audits every four years. For SMEs, energy audits are voluntary and can be subsidised by the state. To qualify for the aid, a company must employ fewer than 250 people and cannot be classified as a large enterprise on the basis of its ownership structure. In addition, the company must have a turnover of less than €50 million per year or a balance sheet total of less than €43 million. Energy audits are carried out by qualified energy auditors who are trained experts in the field of heating and electricity.
A materials audit can identify stages in production processes where it is possible to reduce the use of materials. The material audit is carried out by an expert trained by Motiva, and it is possible to apply for support from Business Finland. The aid granted will be covered by de minimis aid. According to the European Commission Regulation (1407/2013), the amount of aid granted to companies within a group or under the same control may not exceed €200,000 (note: in the road transport sector, €100,000), with a maximum of 50% of the cost of the material survey and a maximum of €15,000. On average, the savings potential of a material review is around 3% of a company’s turnover. The duration of the review process varies from a few months to half a year, depending on the size of the company and the resources available.
Voluntary energy performance contracts are a way for governments and industries to meet energy efficiency requirements without new legislation or other coercive measures. A company that joins an agreement can receive energy aid from the state for energy efficiency investments. Improving energy efficiency directly improves the company’s business performance. By joining the Energy Efficiency Agreement, a company commits to investigate and improve its energy use, to take energy use into account in planning and procurement, to report on annual efficiency measures, and to increase its use of new technologies and renewable energy.
Material Efficiency Commitments are a voluntary approach between government and industry to promote the circular economy. The Commitment delivers significant benefits in terms of both business profitability and the environment. Under the Commitments, industry federations have agreed on industry-wide material efficiency targets, and companies can choose the most effective means of achieving the common targets for their own operations. In practice, material efficiency translates into measurable financial savings and thus improves the profitability of a company’s business.
The Materiaalitori is a professional platform for companies and organisations to exchange waste and by-products from their production with businesses, public organisations and private operators. The reform of the Waste Act, which came into force at the beginning of 2020, obliges companies that need the services of a municipal waste management company for more than €2,000 per year to use the Materiaalitori. You can also search and offer related services, such as waste management and expert services, through the Materiaalitori. Access to the Portal is free of charge and open to the industry, but the platform requires registration. The service is provided by the Ministry of the Environment and maintained by Motiva Oy.
In most provinces, energy advice is available for consumers, housing associations, municipalities and SMEs. The service is provided on a regional basis. It is funded by the Energy Agency. Advice is also provided on a sectoral basis and through various projects. For example, energy advice for farms is offered through Neuvo 2020.