NutriTrade hosted a workshop on flexible mechanisms in protection of the Baltic Sea at the premises of U.S. embassy in Helsinki on May 16 and 17. The outcomes of the workshop were then delivered to stakeholders, journalists and academic audience in a roundtable meeting at the embassy on May 19.
The workshop brought together members of NutriTrade projects as well as participants from United States and the Baltic Sea countries. Presentations were given by Professor James Shortle from Pennsylvania State University and Dr Marc Ribaudo from the United States Department of Agriculture – two experts who have been deeply involved in studying and developing water quality trading programs. There are numerous lessons that can be learned from the earlier trading schemes, in particular the experts emphasized policies that are pragmatic and tailor-made for specific circumstances.
In addition, our guests included Mikhail Durkin from Coalition Clean Baltic, a network of environmental non-governmental organizations with long international experience; Seppo Knuuttila, a dedicated scientist with a deep knowledge on ecology of the Baltic Sea; Ing-Marie Gren, a professor from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who has been a pioneer and one of the leading experts in economic analysis of the Baltic Sea; Tommi Fred from Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, who is an expert in wastewater treatment plants and Roland Magnusson from GreenStream Network, who has a lot of experience in CO2 trading and green certificates in electricity production.
In the workshop we identified three scales on which flexible mechanisms could be introduced to Baltic Sea protection: (1) local scale, with voluntary demand for nutrient reduction, (2) national scale, where nutrient offsetting could be used to increase flexibility in permission procedure and (3) international scale, where trading could offer ways to reach the internationally agreed targets, such as those defined in the Baltic Sea Action Plan, in a fair and cost-efficient manner.