Finland's Circular Economy Programme sets targets to curb overconsumption of natural resources
By the resolution on promoting a circular economy adopted today, on 7 April, the Finnish Government committed to reducing the consumption of unrenewable natural resources. The resolution also restricts the use of renewable natural resources in Finland: the total consumption of domestic primary raw materials in 2035 will not exceed the level in 2015*. The resolution is based on a vision that in 2035 the Finnish economy will be based on a carbon-neutral circular economy society.
According to the resolution, the productivity of resources must be doubled by 2035 from the situation in 2015. The circular material use rate (CMU) must also be doubled by 2035.
“A circular economy offers solutions to curbing the overconsumption of natural resources and the keys to halting the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. By this resolution, we are for the first time setting concrete targets for the consumption of natural resources. The measures included in the resolution will enable us to seize the opportunities offered by a circular economy and create a more sustainable foundation for our economy,” Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen says.
“The key objective of a circular economy is to keep the products, materials and their value in the economic cycle for as long as possible. The philosophy of ‘more for less’ means raising the added value, and even more efficient utilisation of raw materials. Companies are the drivers in achieving this change. This is also a great opportunity to boost exports because there is a lot of interest in Finnish circular economy expertise around the world,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä points out.
The resolution sets out the key measures by which the ministries will promote a circular economy in 2021–2024. They will create incentives, strengthen the markets, enhance expertise, promote digitalisation, and support a foreign policy that is in line with sustainable development. A broad spectrum of stakeholders such as different ministries and research institutes, in dialogue with companies, business sectors, local governments and private citizens, participated in the process to prepare the resolution.
Low-carbon circular economy agreement to promote the circular economy targets
The Government wants to promote the natural resources targets by introducing a low-carbon circular economy agreement. Municipalities, companies and other operators may join the agreement and make voluntary commitments to implement the natural resources targets of the Circular Economy Programme, increase the use of recycled materials, and promote a carbon-neutral circular economy.
The ministries, together with the research institutes, will produce scenarios on the opportunities offered by a circular economy to promote Finland’s environmental objectives and economic interests. The scenarios will help local governments, companies and other operators in drafting circular economy, climate or low-carbon roadmaps to reach the targets set in the agreement. The agreement should cover the key sectors.
The Government also wishes to target funding to research, development, innovation and ecosystem activities that promote a low-carbon circular economy and to investments in demonstrations and establishments such as production and material technologies that save natural resources in the industrial sector.
Finland is also committed to incorporating the transition into a circular economy into its development and trade policy and to promoting the mainstreaming of a circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources in different forums for international cooperation.
Highlights of measures included in the resolution
We will develop incentives for a circular economy, including taxation that supports sparing use of natural resources, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and promotes wider use of circular economy service models.
We will compile information on circular economy services for citizens, including sharing platforms and repair and resale services.
We will transform Finland into a leading country in a digital circular economy by opening up and interlinking material and data flows. We will use digitalisation to boost the traceability of material flows, resource-efficient production and data-based decision-making, business and services.
We will create a sustainable circular economy market through legislation, economic instruments and digitalisation. Our aim is to improve resource efficiency, extend the service life and durability of products, promote the use of recycled materials, and make service models that support a circular economy attractive for businesses and consumers.
We will procure and design low-carbon circular economy solutions for the public sector in construction, mobility, and energy and infrastructure projects.
We will incorporate expertise in a circular economy into the education system and worklife skills.
Ministry of the Environment: Taina Nikula, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 29 525 0202, [email protected]
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: Sari Tasa, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 29 504 8242, [email protected]
* The target does not cover natural resources used to manufacture products for exports.