Baltic Sea nutrient trade developed through joint Finnish-Swedish effort

The NutriTrade project, led by the John Nurminen Foundation, aims to create the world’s first nutrient trade system for marine areas.  In addition to the Foundation, project participants include the University of Helsinki and the Natural Resources Institute (LUKE) from Finland, and the Sustainable Seas Initiative and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences from Sweden.

The planned nutrient trade system can include any verified means that will cost-efficiently and quickly reduce the volumes of eutrophicating nutrients in the Baltic Sea. The objective is to create a mechanism that identifies, finances and implements such measures.

Nutrient trade can take place between stakeholders who are prepared to reduce nutrient discharges to the Baltic Sea with their own, clearly measurable actions. Such stakeholders could include water utilities willing to improve their wastewater treatment measures beyond the compulsory minimum. Purchasing parties could consist of cities, municipalities, private enterprises and citizens who wish to improve the status of the Baltic Sea and neutralize their own phosphorus footprint.

The project involves various concrete measures that can be used to pilot nutrient trade. Moreover, the project will study the opportunities for launching nutrient trade on the national level in Finland and Sweden, and throughout the area of the Baltic Sea. The project has been named one of the flagship projects of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Plans are to launch the three-year project in the autumn of 2015; the project will continue until 2018.

‘This is an extremely important and interesting project, and one that we really believe in  – it is inspiring to cooperate with our Finnish partners.  We will focus on active project communications, and on distributing and developing project information and results’, says Göran Lindstedt, CEO of the Sustainable Seas Initiative.

Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Secretary General of the John Nurminen Foundation, says: ‘for some time now, we have seen nutrient trade as a promising opportunity for the cost-efficient reduction of the nutrient load of the Baltic Sea. The NutriTrade project intends to turn these plans into reality and launch, for the first time ever, a voluntary nutrient trade system covering all of the Baltic Sea. It is wonderful that we can develop new solutions for the problems of the Baltic Sea in cooperation with our Swedish partners.  With their lengthy coastlines, Finland and Sweden are the ones to suffer most because of the poor status of the Baltic Sea, and also the ones that would benefit most when the status of the sea improves.’