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The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency aims for zero-emission construction sites through a Green Deal agreement

Published 12.5.2022 9.00

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has joined the Ministry of the Environment’s Green Deal agreement on zero-emission construction sites and sustainable procurement. The aim of the agreement is to reduce emissions generated at contracting entities’ construction sites through public procurement. The Green Deal between the state and the business sector is a voluntary agreement aimed at promoting sustainable development goals and achieving carbon neutrality. The agreement will be in effect until the end of 2030.

As a significant operator in infrastructure construction, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is focusing increasingly on climate and energy perspectives in its objectives concerning the development of procurement activities. In addition, the reduction of other emissions is also perceived as valuable. Joining the Green Deal agreement for zero-emission construction sites is a significant step towards achieving these goals.
 
The transition to fossil-free construction sites will be gradual. The aim is for the infrastructure and construction sites of the Green Deal signatories to be fossil free by the end of 2025, meaning that fossil fuels will no longer be used at the construction sites in question. The share of electricity, biogas and hydrogen has been set at 20 per cent of mobile machinery by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030. 
 
The targets set by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency are lower than the target levels stipulated by the Green Deal in this respect. This is because, with regard to the use of alternative fuels, transport infrastructure projects are located in areas where access to electricity is often challenging, and also because the machinery used in the projects is larger than the machinery typically used at urban construction sites. The agency’s targets are for 5 per cent of mobile machinery to run on electricity, biogas and hydrogen by 2025, and 20 per cent by 2030. 
 
As part of the agreement, the participating organisations will also have jointly drafted procurement criteria that will be applied in future procurement activities.
 

Green Deal requirements apply to contracts in challenging operating environments

 
At the time of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency joining the Green Deal for zero-emission construction sites, the agreement only applies to investment projects in challenging operating environments, as defined by the agency. This primarily concerns transport infrastructure projects in urban areas and includes roads, railways and waterways. The types of mobile machinery that the requirements apply to are wheeled excavators, crawler excavators, loaders, road-rail excavators and rollers. The requirements concerning lorries only apply to the transport of materials and soil.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency assessed the environmental requirements before joining the Green Deal by drafting a report and roadmap concerning environmental requirements to be implemented during the period 2022–2030 for transport operations and mobile machinery used in the construction of roads, waterways and railways. The report focused on the exhaust discharges generated by mobile machinery and transport operations. Emissions generated by the production of materials and the use of the transport infrastructure were not included in the assessment.

“For the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, joining the Green Deal applies to the project category of challenging operating environments, and it will be implemented in our contracts in 2023. At this stage, the requirements do not apply to maintenance operations. Joining the Green Deal with regard to maintenance activities will be considered at a later time,” says Director of Procurement Pekka Petäjäniemi from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.