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WWF: Finland Leaves Hefty Ecological Footprint

Finland is one of the European Union's biggest per-capita consumers of natural resources, according to a new report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The report lists Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland and France as leaving the largest 'ecological footprint'. This refers to the usage of renewable natural resources in proportion to their replenishment abilities.

The entire 25-nation EU's footprint is 2.2 times as large as the area's regenerative capacity. The Union includes just seven percent of the world population, but consumes 17 percent of its natural resources, the WWF notes.

The average resident of Finland leaves an ecological footprint of seven hectares, which is 3.7 times higher than the world average, it says.

Boosting the Finnish figure is heavy usage of wood and paper, as well as imports such as oil and bananas.

A working group set up the government to study sustainable development is to submit its recommendations to Environment Minister Jan-Erik Enestam and Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen on Thursday.

The EU, meanwhile, is scheduled to discuss its own sustainable development strategy at this week's Brussels summit -- if there is time amid issues of more short-term urgency. YLE24 WWF Finland

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