The circular economy programme offers solutions for environmental and financial challenges

News 2021-03-19 at 14:06
Biokaasulla Jyväskylässä
Photo: Katja Kauppila

The proposal for a strategic programme on circular economy sets forth the measures and goals needed to establish circular economy as the basis of the Finnish economy by 2035.

For the first time, the circular economy programme sets concrete goals for the consumption of natural resources. One of the goals is that the overall consumption of primary raw materials in 2035 will not exceed the level of 2015. It is also proposed that the resource potential and the circular economy rate of materials will be doubled in the same time period.

“Circular economy will provide a solution to both environmental and financial challenges,” states the Chair of the steering group Reijo Karhinen in the publication event on 13 January. “We have a lot of unlearning to do. I can envision that, one day, we will speak about a sustainable economy. I hope this publication will start a wider debate in the society.”

The assortment of measures is extensive, from financial steering mechanisms to education, digitalisation, network creation, and so on. The number of proposed measures totals 41. The Government will prepare a decision-in-principle based on the programme and submit it for a circulation of comments early in the year. The Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment have requested comments by 8 March.

Strengthening circular economy in municipalities

One of the modules of the programme, ‘Municipalities as key players in circular economy’, and its recommendations include the establishment of a nation-wide network of competence to support municipalities and regions. Another proposal is to include circular economy in municipal strategies and the preparation of road maps.

The ten pioneer municipalities of the Circwaste project have prepared or are preparing roadmaps of circular economy. The road maps specify the municipality’s circular economy goals and the measures for reaching them. The preparation of road maps is based on the utilisation of the local strengths of the municipalities and identifying their challenges.

One of the pioneers, Jyväskylä, has prepared a programme called ‘Resource-wise Jyväskylä 2040’, which covers the programmes, road maps and commitments associated with the city’s resource-wise policies. Some of the themes of the programme are circular economy, zero waste and decrease of use of raw materials.

“The programme was launched in cooperation with the operative groups in the region in 2018–2019. It helps to coordinate work on wise resources and to monitor the completion of the measures. The programme will be constantly updated by each city council term at least, and the intention is to link it to the city’s financial steering activities in 2021–2022. We are taking the step from monitoring to proactive efforts and the evaluation of financing of measures in the upcoming years,” states Environmental Specialist Mervi Saukko, City of Jyväskylä.

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