Foreign trade Tons of stone are imported to Finland from China every year – According to the study, domestic stone would be cheaper if emissions were included

Over the years logistics chains, which have been honed as cost-effectively as possible along the way, have brought world trade to the point where it makes economic sense to transport things that sound absurd to the other side of the world.

However, from an environmental point of view, chartering everything from tens of thousands of kilometers does not make sense. You can bring anything you want from the ends of the earth, even rocks.

A recent study by the Economic Survey reminds us that this is exactly what is being done in Finland: 66,500 tonnes of rock were imported from China in 2019.

According to the study, Chinese stone is used in Finnish public procurement probably because it is cheaper than Finnish stone. According to calculations based on customs statistics, the export price of domestic stone is 10% higher than the import price of foreign stone.

Research funded by the Finnish Natural Stone Industry Association Kivi ry. Executive Director of the Association Sini Laine notes that the procurement law emphasizes price in tenders.

“We want to point out that the use of Finnish natural stone has an employment effect. Our member companies are often located in provinces all over Finland and are quite employers there. Of course, they also pay their taxes to Finland. ”

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According to the study, the use of Finnish stone would be cheaper than the use of Chinese stone if the climate effects of Chinese stone imports and the income effects of Finnish stone production were taken into account in domestic projects.

“Here’s an easy way to reduce emissions.”

The end result was achieved by finding out the calculated emissions from maritime traffic when stones are transported from China to Finland. For the time being, the calculation is theoretical, as emissions from maritime transport are not covered by emissions trading. However, the European Union is extending emissions trading to maritime transport.

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Wave links the use of domestic building materials to Finland’s climate goals.

“This study presents one simple way to reduce emissions from public construction. The production of building materials is one of the major emitters in the world. Here we offer an easy way to reduce emissions. ”

Laine highlights the cities of Espoo and Vantaa. According to him, in Espoo, for example, there are pilot construction sites where the use of materials and work machines has been considered very carefully.

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“There are still not many electric machines in Finland. Emissions from these machines can be offset by taking the Building Material closer. In other words, stone has been imported to Espoo from Loimaa instead of China. ”

Finnish Exports of natural stone decreased significantly during the 2010s, both in euros and in tonnes of stone.

According to Laine, the development is driven by large countries such as China and India.

“China’s quarries are able to produce a huge amount of raw stone compared to Finland, which affects the market situation.”

According to the survey, 207,000 tonnes of stone were mined in Finland in 2019. The 66,500 tonnes imported from China to Finland are thus less than a third of this.

At one time, Finland was one of the world’s leading exporters of natural stone.

According to Laine, the use of natural stone in Finland is not recorded. However, he estimates that 100,000–150,000 tonnes of domestic natural stone would be used in Finland each year.

There are no statistics on the use of foreign imported stone either, but Laine thinks it moves in the same scale.

Once Finland was one of the world’s leading exporters of natural stone. According to Laine, Finland has not dropped “terribly” on the list of export countries, but it is no longer at the top.

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Laine says that most of the stone is exported from Finland to China, but exports of natural stone products have also typically been to Sweden and Denmark. In addition, some stone is exported to Italy, Spain and Poland.

Finnish natural stone also has a historical export relationship to the St. Petersburg area.

“The old buildings and bridges in the St. Petersburg area are almost invariably made of Finnish granite,” says Laine.

Stone industry The interest group is happy to highlight the carbon footprint of transport when comparing the use of domestic and Chinese stone in Finland.

Doesn’t exporting Finnish stone to the rest of the world bring with it exactly the same emission problems as bringing Chinese stone to Finland?

“If the stone comes or leaves on the same ship, it will cause the same emissions. We do not deny that. We hope that the logistics side will come up with new solutions that will make transport lower for everyone. That would be a win for everyone, ”Laine replies.

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