Public debates / Stakeholder activities

Public debate and stakeholder opinions

Little debate on co-existence has taken place in Finland. Nevertheless, the government has stimulated stakeholder involvement during the setting up of the draft law on
co-existence. NGOs are the predominant catalysts for debate on GM food and GM trees, but they do not focus on co-existence matters.

Stakeholder opinions

Co-existence is a topic little discussed in Finland. Thus, few stakeholders have stated official positions on co-existence. When preparing the draft law, an open seminar was arranged, and a request for (written) comments was delivered to a large number of stakeholders. A seminar presenting the comments received in the process was organised for mid-September 2008.


The Finnish government has been relatively balanced in considering the possibilities of using GM plants in Finland.


The Farmers' Union MTK has no clear opinion on GMOs and co-existence. If consumers will be willing to buy GM foods, farmers will be open to growing them.

The Finnish government has been relatively balanced in considering the possibilities of using GM plants in Finland.

Seed industry

Seed production in Finland is dominated by Tilasiemen, a company owned by farmers. They are little interested in developing and lobbying separation distances and other co-existence measures, as there are no GM crops suitable for Finnish agriculture at the moment.


Finnish consumers have a calm approach to most things, including issues concerning food. Consequently, the Finnish Consumers' Association takes a practical view on GMOs. Since some of its members approve of genetically modified foods, the association focuses on the choices made by consumers. Therefore, the association supports the labelling of GM foods and welcomes food producers who offer alternatives – GM, conventional and organic foods. See also the opinion paper of the Finnish Consumers' Association (PDF).

Consultation activities

A Finnish language website hosts public discussion on genetic engineering.

The campaign "GMO vapaa Suomi" promotes a GMO-free Finland.
The campaign "GMO vapaa Suomi" promotes a GMO-free Finland.
Initiatives against GMOs

The organisation GMO Free Zones has also begun to be active in Finland. The municipalities of Hyvinkää, Loppi and Espoo have declared themselves GMO-free in relation to publicly managed diners (kindergartens, hospitals, schools etc.).

The Union of Organic Farmers, the Union of Organic Forestry, Friends of the Earth, and People’s Biosafety Association founded an initiative for a GMO-free Finland. They encourage public discussion, but are opposed to GMOs in general and consequently show little interest in co-existence.

There has been much resistance to the use of GMOs in forestry. In June 2004, protesters destroyed a field trial with genetically modified birch trees. The perpetrators have not been identified.

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:

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