Insights | May 10, 2019

Climate change and employment in Finland?

Finland's climate has already been affected by climate change more than most other countries in the world. The temperature has increased by 2 degrees compared to 1850. How does climate change affect employment in Finland?

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), climate change will seriously impact employment across economic sectors and regions in the world. In addition, fighting climate change by transitioning to a low-carbon economy will equally impact employment in several ways. In emerging green sectors, new jobs will be created. Certain jobs will be eliminated without direct replacement, and some will be substituted. ILO claims that the majority of the existing jobs will be transformed in terms of their profile requirements and working methods. A transition to a low-carbon economy will lead to a net increase in employment: 24 million jobs will open up in the green economy worldwide. In Finland, according to the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, climate issues will also create jobs. Finland is in a good position: The greatest negative impact will be felt by the least developed countries and small island states. Existing social protection systems also help Finns cope with the negative impacts of climate change.

Workforce reductions determined by climate change

What does Roschier’s employment practice have to do with climate change? Scaling up business in certain sectors and scaling down in others is likely to require large employment consultations (FI: YT-neuvottelut). An employer may terminate an employment relationship on collective grounds provided that the amount of work has decreased (or will decrease) substantially and permanently for economic, production-related or re-organizational reasons. Climate change can be one of these factors. The reasons for reducing the workforce can be within the employer’s control: A decision to cut back certain business areas (like oil-based enterprises) and grow the business in other sectors (like renewable energy) can be made by the employer after completing the employee consultations.

It is required that the employee to be made redundant cannot be given suitable alternative work within the employer company (or, in certain cases, within the group companies) or be retrained for other duties. This point should be carefully examined if a company is transferring its business to a new type of a company.

Additionally, workforce reductions, business transfers and other transactional employment procedures will be necessary to fight climate change. Climate change will be an underlying reason for many M&A transactions. From the positive side, starting a new type of business may also require employment specialist’s view of the setting.