Explaining the consensus behind implementing biodiversity offsetting in Finland

Biodiversity offsetting is a controversial policy mechanism that has faced both enormous hype and setbacks around the world. A recent study by Climakedo researcher Kamilla Karhunmaa and Thomas Karlsson argues that support for implementing biodiversity offsetting in Finland was installed in the early stages of policy development.

The study, published in Critical Policy Studies, shows how Finnish experts largely agreed on the necessity of implementing biodiversity offsetting through an interplay of three policy framings: i) viewing biodiversity offsetting as necessary and with no alternative solutions, ii) accommodating divergent views through a flexible understanding of what biodiversity offsetting is and iii) addressing concerns over past failures as a prompt to develop an experimental approach to policy.

New article on Finnish citizens’ views on voluntary carbon offsetting published

Citizens’ views on voluntary carbon offsetting are ambiguous. Despite a generally positive inclination towards voluntary carbon offsetting, citizens expressed doubts on its functioning, had little unreserved support for offsetting and showed significant distrust towards the sector.

These results were published in a recent journal article by Climakedo researchers together with researchers from the University of Helsinki and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). The study analyzed the results of a nationally representative citizen survey conducted in 2021.

The full study can be found here and a press release (in Finnish) of the study here.

Opinion piece on voluntary offsets

Kamilla Karhunmaa and Mikko Virtanen published an opinion piece (in Finnish) in the Finnish periodical Suomen Kuvalehti. In the piece, they argue for a broader debate on the moral and societal implications of carbon offsetting in the Finnish context.

Kamilla Karhunmaa ja Mikko Virtanen kirjoittivat Suomen Kuvalehden Puheenvuoro-palstalle vapaaehtoisen päästökompensaation yhteiskunnallisesta merkityksestä ja sääntelystä. Ajankohtainen aihe on herättänyt paljon keskustelua Suomessa, mutta keskustelu on keskittynyt kompensaatiojärjestelyjen tekniseen todentamiseen ja parantamiseen. Samalla päästökompensaatiotoimintaan kytkeytyvät moraaliset ja yhteiskunnalliset kysymykset ovat jääneet katveeseen.

Puheenvuoro: Vapaaehtoisten päästökompensaatioiden yleistyminen voi ylläpitää nykyisiä kulutustottumuksia 


Recording of policy dialogue available

The recording of the 2022 Policy Dialogue “Voluntary carbon offsetting – a response to climate change” is now available.

The event and the recording are in Finnish.

The policy dialogue brought together researchers, policy-makers, NGOs, businesses, and politicians to discuss the role of voluntary carbon offsetting in Finland.  The event is held annually and organized together with the Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science and the Forum for Environmental Information.


Policy dialogue 2022: Voluntary offsetting as a solution to climate change?

The Climakedo project is organizing a policy dialogue on voluntary carbon offsetting in Finland on June 9th 2022.

The aim of the event is to discuss the high hopes set for voluntary offsetting as a form of climate action, the tensions and controversies of offsetting and how offsetting is taking shape in citizens’, businesses’ and organizations’ life.

The event is an annual Policy Dialogue organized together with the Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science and the Forum for Environmental Information. The event is in a hybrid format in Helsinki and online. The language of the event is Finnish and more information can be found here.


Panel at EASST 2022 conference

We are involved in a panel at the next EASST (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology) conference in Madrid, 6-9 July 2022. Kamilla Karhunmaa, together with Kristin Asdal (U. of Oslo) and Trine Pallesen (Copenhagen Business School) is hosting a panel called “Refracting the good in and through environmental markets” at the conference.

The deadline for abstracts has been extended to Monday, February 7th.

The panel focuses on how environmental markets perform, refract and invest in notions of the good. We are interested in papers that examine how notions of the good are performed in and through environmental markets as well as in the production of environmental goods and services.

Funding news

Climakedo researcher Kamilla Karhunmaa has received two years of funding through the Säätiöiden post doc –pooli from the Emil Aaltonen foundation to conduct her post-doctoral research in Belgium. Her research project “Offsetting the way into carbon neutrality” examines how voluntary carbon offsetting is perceived as a form of climate action amongst consumers, carbon offset producers and policy makers. In Belgium, Kamilla will be based at the Spiral centre at the University of Liège.

Saara Salmivaara was granted a 4-year doctoral school funding for her thesis which investigates ‘climate-conscious’ consumption strategies through voluntary carbon offsetting and ‘slow fashion’. Saara was selected one of the 10 applicants who received a Sustainable Development themed salary position, granted by the University of Helsinki through the Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences.

Tomi Lehtimäki’s PhD Defense

Climakedo researcher Tomi Lehtimäki defended his thesis “Organizing natures: Justification and critique in the development of organic agriculture in Finland” on December 4, 2021. Grounded in pragmatic sociology, the thesis examines how discussions over the values of organic agriculture developed from the 1980s onwards in Finland. The thesis highlights ways in which the difference between organic and conventional agriculture has been constructed. The defence was held at the University of Helsinki with Professor Anders Blok serving as the opponent.

Working group on carbon markets at YHYS fall colloquium

Together with researchers from the University of Tampere and the University of Eastern Finland, Climakedo researchers organized a working group at the Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science’s fall colloquium. The theme of the working group was the problematization and enquiry into the growing carbon and biodiversity markets.

Our researchers were involved in two presentations. The first one examined citizen’s views on voluntary carbon offsetting based on a nationally representative survey, showing that offsetting is still a relatively unknown and unsettled phenomenon amongst consumers. The second presentation analysed carbon offsetting from an infrastructural perspective, focusing on the types of continuities and disjunctions that are present in the post Paris Agreement climate negotiations.