Piloting a Nutrient Trading Scheme in the Central Baltic

P2 Sustainable use of common resources

2.4. Reduced nutrients, hazardous substances and toxins inflow into the Baltic Sea

Central Baltic

01.09.2015 - 28.02.2019

€2 068 104

€1 551 078

Project Summary:

The project NutriTrade aims at reducing nutrients in the Baltic Sea area by piloting a nutrient trading scheme in the Central Baltic region. The idea is to develop new cross-border innovative policy instruments for a cost-effective, cross-sector nutrient reduction measures in the Baltic Sea basin.

The project pilots a platform connecting nutrient removal sources with voluntary financiers willing to acquire nutrient offsets and neutralize their nutrient footprint. In the pilot scheme, several proven nutrient abatement measures including e.g. mussel farming, gypsum treatment of fields, and fishing of cyprinids are implemented, which result in phosphorus load reductions. The project develops assessment mechanisms to find and support innovative and proven nutrient reduction methods which have not yet become market-driven or integrated into governmental policies.

As a result of the project the lessons learned in the pilot scheme are used for analysing nutrient trading as a water policy instrument on a national level, and also for the analysis of a Baltic Sea wide inter-governmental nutrient trading. Based on these, NutriTrade will produce policy recommendations for the Baltic Sea region. The project is of high policy relevance for the Baltic Sea region and has been nominated as a flagship project of the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy.

Lead Partner

John Nurmisen Säätiö

Country: FI

Partner budget: 678.726 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 509.045 EUR ERDF

Project Partners

Luonnonvarakeskus (Luke)

Country: FI

Partner budget: 250.000 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 187.500 EUR ERDF

Helsingin Yliopisto

Country: FI

Partner budget: 400.000 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 300.000 EUR ERDF

Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

Country: SE

Partner budget: 639.378 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 479.534 EUR ERDF

Anthesis Enveco AB

Country: SE

Partner budget: 100.000 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 75.000 EUR ERDF

Achieved results

Project result in category -
Reduction of nutrients, hazardous substances and toxins inflow into the Baltic

NutriTrade - Reduced nutrient load through cost-effective measures

NutriTrade reduced nutrient load to the Baltic Sea through cost-effective pilot measures. These included pilot projects, creating a crowdfunding platform for nutrient offset and policy analysis.

Pilot projects

  • The Pilots developed new concepts for nutrient reduction and provided new information on the feasibility of the methods and on their cost-efficiency as a nutrient removal measure
  • In total, the pilots contributed to the removal of 6 t of phosphorus from the Baltic Sea in 2015-18 and will continue to cut phosphorus loading in the future.
  • Pilot Gypsum reduced phosphorus runoff by 50% (1.3-2.3 t in the first 1,5 years).
  • Pilot Fish resulted in phosphorus removal of 4,2 t by 2018 and will continue to remove phosphorus in the future, too.
  • Pilot Mussel removed 65 kg phosphorus.

Pilot measures are being put into practice in other geographical areas and institutionalised:

  • Finnish authorities are planning the introduction of gypsum amendment of fields into the public support schemes.
  • Up to 3500 hectares will be treated by gypsum in 2018-20 in river Vantaa and Porvoo catchment areas.
  • Gypsum treatment will be tested e.g. in Poland. 

The Nutribute crowdfunding platform

  • A functioning nutrient offset platform for the Baltic Sea available at enables the meeting of project owners and voluntary donors.
  • A transparent framework for measuring cost efficiency (€/kg) of nutrient reduction efforts and identifying new innovative reduction methods.
  • A mechanism that enables companies, municipalities, associations, private citizens etc. to neutralize their nutrient footprint.
  • A sustainable financing mechanism for innovations/measures which reduce nutrients from the Baltic Sea but have not yet become commercially viable or included in institutional financing frameworks

The policy briefs published by Pilot Gypsum recommend large-scale use of gypsum amendment in Finland and consider it also elsewhere in the Baltic Sea region. The Policy Briefs have been utilized by HELCOM as well as the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the Finnish Ministry of the Agriculture and Forestry in planning a support scheme for the measure.