On the

Green economy – How to reach the goal common for Poland, Scandinavia, Europe?

Summary of the ON THE GREEN WAY opening conference

A conference which inaugurated a new initiative of the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce On The Green Way was held on 26th of November 2020. The speakers and participants in the panel discussions included the ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and highranking representatives of the Polish and Nordic economy.

Climate change is happening right before our eyes and the awareness of the seriousness of the situation is growing. While the pandemic and the crisis it has caused heighten fears about the future, they also create a unique opportunity to rebuild the current economic model.  The Nordic countries are advanced in the implementation of green solutions and technologies and have set very ambitious targets for themselves in this regard. Competence, capital, experience and their openness to cooperation can become a real support for the green transformation in Poland – stresses Agnieszka Zielińska, Managing Director of the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce.

The European Union wants to become climate-neutral by 2050. Climate change is not a question of the future, we are already experiencing it today, therefore a more efficient use of resources and moving towards a circular economy is a must.

During the conference “Green economy – our common goal. Scandinavian experiences in Polish reality” the ambassadors of Scandinavian countries accredited in Poland unanimously stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation between European countries.

In unstable times, with the global economic crisis and problems that cannot be solved individually, cooperation at European level is essential. The European Green Deal covers all the areas we need to work on and sets out lines of action accompanied by funding, including the fair transition mechanism and resources from the Reconstruction Fund. Once the funding is in place, the green transformation across Europe is likely to accelerate.

In the context of the energy transition, Ole Toft, the Ambassador of Denmark, cited his country’s experience. It was the fuel crisis and the desire to become independent from imported fossil fuels that initiated investment in renewable energy sources in Denmark and gas proved to be a transitional fuel.

– The Baltic-Pipe project, on which we cooperate with Poland, will play an important role in Poland’s energy transition. I’m glad we are involved in this project. – emphasised Ole Toft. He also pointed out that:

– The social context of the transformation must not be forgotten. Its aims are not only technological changes, but also the creation of wealth and conditions to counteract social exclusion, which is why it is so important to ensure that the professional groups affected by the energy transition are retrained.

The Nordic governments are taking a number of measures to stimulate business to implement green solutions. Finland uses, among others, fiscal mechanisms, as the government introduced, for example, a tax on heating fuelled by fossil fuels.

– We are firmly committed to a consistent implementation of the green transformation, so about half of Finland’s Reconstruction Fund will be used for this purpose. – said Juha Ottman, the Ambassador of Finland.

The Ambassador of Norway, Anders Eide, emphasizes that Norway, like other Scandinavian countries, uses a number of tools to promote green transformation. A “carrot and stick” method is used, for example through tax incentives to promote green technologies or a carbon tax on burning fossil fuels. Norwegian authorities are also increasingly using their purchasing power to promote green and innovative solutions. An example is the new public tender for the longest ferry link in Norway (Vestfjorden, between Bodø and Moskenes), which includes a requirement to provide hydrogen-powered ferries. Public requirements for zero emissions have already led to an electrical revolution in the Norwegian ferry market, with more than 450 zero-emission vessels with battery technology now operating or under construction.

– The Nordic countries are advanced in the implementation of green solutions and technologies. Competence, capital, experience and their openness to cooperation can become a real support for the green transformation in Poland- stresses Agnieszka Zielińska, Managing Director of the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce.

Scandinavian solutions in the Polish business reality

Both business and consumers are increasingly aware of the risks posed by climate change. We already know that the way we produce and consume must change.

What tools do entrepreneurs in Poland need to accelerate the green transformation?

A stable legal framework, regulations that take a long-term view and the removal of legislative barriers were at the forefront of our panelists’ expectations. At the same time, there is a need for flexibility and regular updates of legislative acts to take account of rapidly changing technologies and new technical standards.

For companies originating from Scandinavia, the pursuit of climate neutrality and conducting circular economy is often already an implemented element of a long-standing growth strategy.

This year the Velux Group announced an ambitious plan to achieve Lifetime Carbon Neutrality  by the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding, i.e. by 2041; the commitment involves not only reducing current CO2 emissions to zero, but also neutralizing the historical carbon footprint through reforestation and forest protection projects.

– If we meet the minimum assumptions of the Paris Agreement, the temperature will still rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius. We need to do more. – emphasized Jacek Siwinski, President of Velux Polska.

Significantly reducing carbon emissions or running a circular economy requires working closely with partner companies and finding solutions together. In the case of Velux, only 6% of the carbon footprint is created at the group’s factories, the rest of the value chain is responsible for the remaining 94%.

The construction industry is a high-emission industry and there are no ready-made technologies to solve this problem, but Scandinavian companies have a lot of openness and willingness to test innovative solutions.

Skanska will use construction timber to build CEE’s first climate-neutral office building. This is just one example of the Swedish company’s innovative solutions. Katarzyna Zawodna-Bijoch, president of Skanska‘s office company in CEE,cites the spectacular example of cooperation with the Polish company Saule Technologies:

– A few years ago, I saw Olga Milinkiewicz’s presentation on perovskite solar cells, and I immediately knew that this solution had a great potential and had to be commercialized. Flexible and lightweight perovskite cells are a breakthrough technology and I am glad that Saule with its team of talented scientists is our partner.

– The collaboration between Skanska and Saule Technologies began when the new technology was only a plan on paper. Thanks to mutual trust and Skanska’s willingness to take risks, we were able to develop a commercial product. I wish every company developing new technology had such a partner as Skanska at the beginning of its journey – emphasizes Bartosz Bursa, COO Saule Technologies.

Scandinavian companies share common values which influence the creation of solutions that foster the achievement of ambitious goals to protect the planet and its inhabitants. This resonated strongly with the participants of the conference.
– Business and government climate partnerships are key to introducing the changes needed, while leading to the innovative solutions we need so desperately now to accelerate the pace of the green transformation. – summarized Agnieszka Zielińska, SPCC.