WCEF2019: Circular economy influencers meet at Finlandia Hall
The circular economy is growing and testing new solutions
Thanks to its bioeconomy and circular economy solutions, Finland is a world leader in the sustainable use of natural resources. Climate change and limited natural resources are challenging society to find new ways to achieve its sustainable development goals. Taking the next step in the global circular economy means implementing Nordic values, such as environmental protection and social equality.
Europe is on its way to becoming a carbon-neutral society. Climate change, rapid technological development, the competition for depleting natural resources and the transformation of the global economy are forces of change that affect us on a global scale. A sustainable future is built on solutions that ensure the availability of safe, healthy food and clean water and promote a sustainable natural resource economy for everyone on earth.
What does a sustainable, resource-wise society look like?
Finland’s strengths in the field of bioeconomy and circular economy lie in efficient industry and the sustainable production and use of natural resources. When it comes to utilising forestry side streams, Finland is truly a global leader. We have also developed effective ways to utilise side streams generated by the food system. One of the benefits of being a small country is that it is easier to experiment with new ideas and methods than in a larger economy.
Finland’s technological expertise could be used to solve many problems facing developing countries, such as a lack of clean drinking water and effective sanitation. That said, the dwindling of natural resources and the mitigation of climate change will require major investments at the global level. We also need private capital to resolve national questions related to sustainable development and systemic changes, such as advancing bioeconomy and circular economy solutions.
“Finnish innovations in water services, energy and nutrient recovery, biogas manufacturing and reuse of treated wastewater are among the best in the world,” Olli-Matti Verta, Chief Specialist of Water Management, says with satisfaction.
The Finnish bioeconomy and circular economy are based on interdependencies and cooperation between forestry, water and food production. Finland has a strong history in the forestry sector, and our work to develop innovative wood-based products has led to many breakthroughs in the packaging industry, among others. Finland’s bioeconomy and circular economy expertise offers a solution for replacing fossil fuels and other non-renewable natural resources with the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.
“Wise use of resources, equity and responsibility are our competitive advantages on the international stage. Finland is home to a great deal of business that genuinely does good for the environment. As the first country to draw up a national bioeconomy strategy, Finland has also encouraged other countries to create strategies for sustainable growth,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Making the EU a global leader in circular economy
Finland’s World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2019) in Helsinki brought together more than 2000 circular economy influencers from 90 different countries. At the event, participants presented and created new ways to build a more efficient economy that takes into account the limited availability of natural resources. In a circular economy, consumption is based on the use of services, such as sharing and renting, rather than ownership.
The World Circular Economy Forum, now organised for the third time, focuses on moving the global economy in a fairer direction and scaling up solutions for global application. The event attendees presented and exchanged information about the world’s top circular economy solutions. It was organised by Sitra in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, along with other partners including the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Commission.
Birgitta Vainio-Mattila, Ministerial Adviser, tel. 0295162346, birgitta.vainio-mattila[at]mmm.fi
Olli-Matti Verta, Chief Specialist of Water Management, tel. +358 295 162 123, olli-matti.verta[at]mmm.fi