Circular economy to put the economy on a sustainable track

News 2017-08-29 at 12:40

Circular economy has remained at the core of the EU’s environmental policy as a desirable economic model since the Commission in 2015 published the first Circular Economy Package, or the action plan for the transition to circular economy, and proposals on legislative changes in support of the plan.

Circular economy is one of the tools with which the economy can be directed to a sustainable track. The economic model conformant to circular economy aims at preserving natural resources, products and materials and the value committed to them for as long as possible and at creating maximum added value from a variety of services. Circular economy requires a multifaceted and comprehensive paradigm shift and change of operating and business models. The change applies to all product and service value chains, from design to consumer behaviour and waste management.

The idea of circular economy has rapidly made a break-through in Finland

The publication of the circular economy package triggered extensive and important discussion on the national will in Finland for implementing circular economy and what it requires and means. The traditional models must be overhauled and the different fields must be networked extensively.

The work on deploying circular economy in Finland culminated in the creation of the national road map. The road map shaped a common position on means that will result in circular economy, which will support Finland’s growth into a pioneer of circular economy. The work was carried out under Sitra’s co-ordination in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Employment and the Economy and other significant interest groups—altogether more than a thousand operators on different fields of the society.

In addition to enhancing the efficiency of the flow of materials and waste management, considerable potential is identified in innovative service concepts. Utilising the potential of the circular economy improves the possibility
to send the economy to a positive cycle.

Projects creating business

From the EU LIFE funding perspective, recent years have been a Finnish success story. CIRCWASTE, the flagship project of circular economy is a direct continuum of the FRESHABIT project in the Nature theme that received funding a year earlier. The Ministry of the Environment has been involved from the beginning in both processes.

Circular economy will play a key role when the societies of the future migrate toward more sustainable production and consumption. Smart solutions are needed that take the environment’s capacity into account and guide growth to a sustainable track. At best, they can generate new business and jobs while decreasing the use of natural resources and amount of waste.

The CIRCWASTE project has excellent capacity for developing the implementation of the national waste plan and promoting circular economy toward the right course.

Kimmo Tiilikainen
Minister of the Environment