The Fair Data economy for business

We’re creating new rules for fair data exchange and utilisation. Pioneering companies can multiply the amount of data they use for product development and gain unique opportunities for new business.

What is the Fair Data Economy?

The fair data economy is a new Finnish-led European initiative for better, trust-based use of personal data, which contributes to more personalized services, market competitiveness, better public services and overall well-being.

In the fair data economy, people are in control of how their data is used and shared, while all businesses, no matter the size, have access to larger data pools, maximising their ability to succeed.

Believe it or not - instead of a handful of super platforms there is a myriad of new winners in the fair data economy!

This is how it works:

  • In the fair data economy, individuals will have the ability and confidence to share their personal data through consent and portability. 

  • When people have better control over their personal data and confidently grant access to it, new services and competition will emerge. Data sharing enables businesses to innovate greater personalised services. Winner: Businesses!

  • Services that combine data from a myriad of diverse sources with respect for privacy increases people’s well-being and leads to a better life. Winner: Individuals!

  • A new kind of entrepreneurship and economic growth can bloom, which in turn generates cost savings and tax revenue for the whole society. Winner: Society and the public sector!

The fair data economy enables the widest circulation of data not only between the individual and the service providers, but also between service providers themselves. 

Sitra has set up a training programme for small and medium-sized companies on the data economy. The companies will gain insight into how data as a resource can benefit their business, and what the business potential of fair data means.

30 companies in Finland are selected to participate in the first phase of the training program. The program will be launched later on a larger scale in other European countries. 

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A roadmap for a fair data economy



Stay tuned to the field of data economy.

How can businesses profit from a fair data economy?

Here’s a fun fact: fairness and profitability are not mutually exclusive. 

In just about every sector of the economy, new, successful business models and offerings based on trust, consent-based data sharing and portability are taking hold. 

These services rely on data about the individual to offer qualitatively enhanced services. And in the end, improved customer experience is in everyone’s interest. 

Services that offer users value via extraordinary user experience motivate individuals to give them access to higher quality data – data that they know to be genuine and for which they don’t need to pay for separately. 

Starting to make sense?

Companies aim to establish a more in-depth and trustful relations with clients, using the broadest range of data to improve their services. Customers are willing to offer access to individual data when they know it will be treated respectfully and in confidence. 

But what to do with all the data? 

Innovate, cultivate and let it grow! 

And share it! Data sharing is what the fair data economy is all about!

The concept of a fair data economy invites companies to share data and to recognise data sharing as a future competitive advantage. 

Joining the training programme is the stepping-stone for a company that is striving for business advantage through data-driven innovation. 


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Businesses are responsible for the fair use of data

How are companies reacting to the fair data economy?

Sitra conducted a survey in April and May 2019, "The future of European companies in data economy", into the attitudes and preparedness of companies towards the business potential and risks posed by the data economy.

The target population consisted of large enterprises and SMEs (excluding entrepreneurs) in Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The survey reveals that companies have started to recognise the potential of data sharing for their business.

Read more about the survey:

Survey: The future of European companies in data economy

Most businesses see possibilities in the data economy now or in the future.




Maintaining trust – Europe’s biggest opportunity in a data-driven world


Approximately 11 billion smart devices, e.g., refrigerators, electricity metres and alarm systems, connect to the Internet already. That figure is expected to triple to 30 billion by 2020 and then triple again to 80 billion by 2025. As a result, data is expanding at a rapid pace. 

In the last few years, criticisms and concerns have begun to coalesce into a more aggressive political backlash, also known as the  “techlash”. “Techlash” manifests itself both in people’s reluctance to provide personal information and concern about the creation of data monopolies and a “winner-takes-all” economy starring super-platform powers in the U.S. and China.

However, Europe is taking the initiative

Europe’s biggest opportunity may, in fact, be political, regulatory and deeply ethical rather than technical. 

The European Union now has the toughest data protection standards in the world, the general data protection regulation (GDPR), and an updated payment services directive (PSD2). With this and other legislation, Europe has placed a bet on strong legal standards and ethical norms. It’s a key factor that differentiates Europe and turns it into a world-leading fair data economy.

It’s time to build on early success and turn the fair data economy into a competitive advantage for Europe! 

It’s possible if we do it together.

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