Collective Commitments to Implement Constitutional Right

Section 20 of the Constitution of Finland establishes a right to a healthy environment. Among other things, it places the responsibility for protecting the environment on the collective, stating that “Nature and its biodiversity, the environment and the national heritage are the responsibility of everyone.”

A program developed by the Ministry of Environment seeks to promote the collective responsibility provision in section 20. In 2014, the Ministry launched a nation-wide competition for a wide spectrum of actors, including institutions, corporations, individuals and communities, to make commitments related to their own actions and sustainability. The entity making the commitment defines the scope of the commitment, indicators of how to monitor the achievements, and a timetable. The Ministry provides a guidance document (see on how to develop and register commitments online and establish indicators to monitor their implementation. The document provides examples of different commitments, and describes various categories of objectives to which they relate, such as promoting well-being or improving transparency of decision-making.

The project encourages participation in sustainable development by involving the whole society to help create environmental policies by making a difference in their daily practice. Some of the commitments include lowering energy, water and paper consumption, reducing food waste, and working toward a sustainable future. The full list of commitments is available at

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