The NutriTrade project will create an online platform where all Baltic Sea stakeholders can introduce their methods for reducing nutrient discharges in a measurable way. Using the platform, the general public and organisations can support the methods of their choice. Moreover, the project will test new measures to curb nutrient discharges.
The objective of the NutriTrade project is to launch voluntary nutrient trading in the entire area of the Baltic Sea. The project will create an Internet-based platform that can be used to channel financing to efficient nutrient removal, first in Finland and Sweden, and later in the entire catchment area. Financing for the measures that reduce nutrient discharges is sought from public sources, private individuals, and companies who wish to protect the Baltic Sea, or seek to offset their nutrient footprint.
NutriTrade encourages the public and various organisations to make estimates of their nutrient discharges, implement discharge reductions, and offset the remaining discharges by funding a discharge reduction project. In the future, the platform that is now under development will provide a tool for finding a suitable discharge reduction project.
The first to catch on to the idea of offsetting nutrient discharges were the City of Helsinki Environment Centre and the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY. After their decision to support the project, Helsinki will become the Baltic Sea’s first phosphorus neutral city in terms of its communal wastewaters. In a joint project of the City of Helsinki and the John Nurminen Foundation, Helsinki offsets the phosphorus footprint of the Viikinmäki treatment plant by funding the treatment of wastewaters in Vitebsk, Belarus.
The platform is called Nutribute, combining nutrients and contribution. The platform will go online in 2017 at nutribute.org. At the same time, we will continue the process that aims at developing steering methods for waterway protection.
In 2017, pilot projects will implement measures that reduce nutrient runoff and promote the removal of nutrients from the Baltic Sea. Participants for the fish and mussel pilots are being recruited, while the gypsum treatment pilot will focus on monitoring results (including e.g. the quality of runoff waters, ground waters, the status of cultivated soil, and research related to toxicity tests). The project will actively communicate its progress to stakeholder groups in meetings, events, social media, and newsletters.
NutriTrade is a three-year EU project (2015–2018). Its main funder is the Interreg Central Baltic programme, and the project is implemented by three Finnish and two Swedish expert organisations. The John Nurminen Foundation leads the project, and project partners include the University of Helsinki, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Anthesis Enveco from Sweden.
Project Manager, NutriTrade
‘Nutrient discharge trading can reduce the costs of the reductions we aim for locally, nationally and internationally. By designing trading models that encourage the development of new and innovative nutrient reduction measures we create new opportunities for bringing the Baltic Sea ecosystem back to health.’
– Katarina Elofsson, Associate Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
‘Utilising its expertise, the Natural Resources Institute of Finland seeks to support the development and deployment of smart environmental steering methods. In this project, we are responsible for surveying the financial and institutional ecosystem of the Baltic Sea, which will accommodate these flexible steering mechanisms. We will support the project with our research history and our cooperation networks. When flexible mechanisms are being planned on the Baltic level, it is worthwhile to learn from existing nutrient trading systems elsewhere in the world. Participating from the Natural Resources Institute are researchers Antti Iho and Lassi Ahlvik, who have previously studied the application of flexible mechanisms to environmental questions and, amongst other things, compared protection institutions in the Baltic Sea area and in the US.
From the viewpoint of the researchers, the project is a unique opportunity to promote and boost the efficiency of water protection in the Baltic Sea area. The mechanism that will be built in the project will enable protective measures that would be laborious to implement with public funding. In the best case scenario, the project will encourage citizens to protect the waters they love, and to act as forerunners for environmental protection implemented with public funding.’
– Antti Iho, Principal Research Scientist, Natural Resources Institute of Finland