Circular Economy principles are at the core of the Finnish economic policy, because their government recognizes that both the competitiveness of their economy and the well-being of their people can no longer be based on unbridled use of natural resources.
Circular solutions could provide Finland with â‚¬2 to 3 billion in added value annually. To seize these benefits and more, the Finnish government set a strategic target to become a world leader in the Circular Economy, and their newly-elected government has announced its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
Plus, with Finland taking on the presidency EU Council in July 2019, itâ€™s in a prime position to accelerate a circular agenda. Indeed, the Circular Economy is explicitly included in Finlandâ€™s official EU Presidency Programme.
SITRA, the Finnish Innovation Fund, is a major driving force behind Finlandâ€™s sustainability ambitions. An independent public foundation operating at arms length from the Finnish Parliament, it carries out research, funds pilot projects, hosts events and provides training in support of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
In 2016, Finland became the first country to establish a Circular Economy Roadmap, which was developed by SITRA.
SITRA’s Roadmap for Finland focuses on five interlinked focus areas: 1) the food system, 2) the forestry industry, 3) material use, 4) transport and logistics, and 5) actions for systemic change. In 2019, Roadmap 2.0 was released, aiming for even higher ambitions and updating objectives and actions.
Kari Herlevi, Project Director for Circular Economy at SITRA was one of the lead authors of the updated Roadmap. Weâ€™re excited to welcome him to ZWC19.
Of particular note is SITRAâ€™s approach to education:
Are we educating tomorrowâ€™s experts or todayâ€™s survivors? An effort must be made to ensure that every sector has experts in the circular economy. We need professionals who are educated in lifecycle thinking and extensive co-operation and who understand that economic growth in a Circular Economy is not dependent on the consumption of natural resources.
SITRA and more than 50 Finnish educational institutions, teaching organisations and companies have planned and piloted Circular Economy teaching materials and educational packages for primary school, upper secondary school, vocational school and higher education.
We have since taken nationally significant steps in the area of teaching and education, where the Circular Economy is being integrated into all levels of education. We are very grateful that in some of the age groups 75 per cent of students learn Circular Economy at schools: circular economy education already reaches 70,000 children and young people. Young people do not need to unlearn the old and change becomes quicker when these age groups enter the working life.
Finland is taking bold steps toward a circular future â€“ find out exactly how they plan to get there at the 2019 Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver.
Stay tuned to the ZWC Blog for conference updates as new speakers are announced.
2019 Zero Waste Conference:
Mobilizing for Success in the Circular Economy
October 30 â€“ 31, 2019
Vancouver Convention Centre (999 Canada Place)