Low up-take on government, Sitra carbon footprint pledge

The 'Commitment 2050' website aimed to encourage people to promise to make changes in their lives - but very few have signed the official pledge.

File picture of planet earth / Credit: iStock

A year after Sitra and the government launched a ‘Commitment 2050’ website to encourage Finns to reduce their carbon footprint, only 1400 people have pledged to take concrete action.

That’s despite tens of thousands of individuals marching all over the country this year
demanding more radical climate actions.

Pledges so far made at the website show people are more willing to make small lifestyle changes rather than bigger ones.

Many people have promised to buy local food or only use their washing machine with a full load of laundry – while fewer committed to purchasing only recycled items or spending their holidays in Finland.

When it comes to flights, only 20% of people who signed up to make a pledge to cut their carbon footprint said they would stop flying for a year. Meanwhile a significant percentage of those people 44% said they hadn’t flown anyway in the past 12 months.

“These 1400 people who made pledges are already aware of climate and it’s reflected in the actions they have committed into” says project leader  Riina Pursiainen.

“However, you do not have to be a pioneer in reducing your carbon footprint. Instead of
veganism, you can even have a vegetarian meal once a week” she suggests.

According to Pursiainen, those people who signed the pledge have committed to cutting their carbon footprint by an average of 22%, while a third of them promised to go vegan.

“At the same time it is however good to remember that even small acts matter. For example, on Black Friday today, each of us can decide whether to increase our carbon footprint or have ‘don’t buy anything day’ or otherwise start a sustainable lifestyle” she suggests.

File picture of healthy vegetarian food / Credit: iStock

Prime Minister makes his own modest pledges

Finland’s Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) has also made a pledge to reduce his own carbon footprint, joining the 1400 others.

The pledges come after taking a test to measure your own individual carbon footprint, which shows areas where it is possible to make changes for example in transport, eating, recyling or sustainability.

However, while more than 65,000 people took the test it only lead to 1400 making pledges to reduce their carbon footprint.

Rinne was one of those who decided to make some changes in his own life.

“From now on I will choose local groceries and prefer Finnish lake fish. In addition, I buy wind-generated electricity and monitor water consumption” he says.

“As Prime Minister, I seek to influence climate policy both in Finland and in international forums. With my personal actions to reduce the carbon footprint, I want to encourage all the Finns to take action in their everyday lives”.