The recently published IPCC report on how fast climate change is happening reminded us of the harsh reality of this worrying fact. Millions of people around the world are thinking: what can I do? What kind of an impact will my actions have? Does it help if I cut back on flying, recycle my plastics and eat less meat if someone else doesn’t?
Us Finns are a small nation that leads a pretty minimal, ecological lifestyle. We realize that sustainability standards are not the same in all parts of the world, which presents a morale problem. After all, it’s pretty clear that a nation of some five million people is not as significant a contributor to climate change as a country with ten times the population.
Solving the world’s biggest problems
Frustration put aside, what Finns don’t perhaps fully realize is our impact potential as an innovator. Whereas every single everyday decision of everyone of us counts, what is really needed is a systemic change on several fronts. The fact is we are heavily involved in solving the world’s biggest problems.
Finns have long invested in R&D and innovation, especially in our legacy industry; pulp and paper. With some 80% of our geography being forest, we have lived on it for hundreds of years, and these days our scientists in this area are the top experts on the planet. Cellulose-based innovation could help replace e.g. plastics and mitigate climate change in many ways.
Invention > Innovation
This is obviously revolutionary. However, an innovation is merely and invention before it’s made commercial. What we need after an innovation is found viable is scale and volume; means of spreading the impact as wide as possible. This is why accelerating innovation must focus on both making something disruptive a commercial reality as well as making sure it can be implemented around the world.
For example, if five million Finnish people start buying cellulose-made clothes, there is of course an impact. If 1.4 billion Chinese people start buying them, the impact on climate change contributing emissions, water and energy spend and waste amount is huge. It’s all about scale and volume.
At least that’s our way forward.
Stay sustained <3