Finland’s road map towards circular economy

Leading the cycle – Finnish road map to a circular economy 2016–2025

In 2016, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra cooperated with various shareholders to publish Leading the cycle – Finnish road map to a circular economy 2016–2025. The road map specified the goals and actions in five focus areas:

  1. sustainable food system
  2. forest-based loops
  3. technical loops
  4. transport and logistics
  5. joint actions.

The critical move - Finland's road map to a circular economy 2.0

The road map was updated in 2019 with the release of The critical move - Finland's road map to a circular economy 2.0. According to the road map, the realisation of circular economy in Finland can be summarised in the realisation of four strategic cross-sectoral goals:

1. Renewal of the foundations of competitiveness and vitality

Our objective is to develop our economy in such a way that, in Finland, circular economy solutions are focused on competitiveness and an economic growth strategy. For Finland, the circular economy could create added value amounting to several billions of euros a year and boost the competitiveness of Finnish companies in the global markets, creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

The pursuit of a carbon-neutral circular economy has created the world’s fastest growing market: by 2030, global investments amounting to 90 trillion US dollars would be needed for the targets set in the Paris Agreement to be reached (We Mean Business Coalition, 2016).

2. Transfer to low-carbon energy

In a circular economy, we still need energy for producing well-being. That energy must be sustainably produced, renewable and low carbon. In addition, it must be possible to promote the efficient use of energy. To enable the development of a circular economy and the limiting of global warming to 1.5 degrees, Finland should consider raising its level of ambition both with its national policy and with the European Union’s climate and energy policy.

3. Natural resources are regarded as scarcities

The processing of natural resources and materials and the manufacture of products generate a major part of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Finnish consumption and production habits can no longer be based on the limitless use of natural resources, and a circular economy is needed for reaching a sustainable level and the climate targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Key measures include returning materials to the cycle again and again, the material efficiency of products and the adoption of circular economy business models. The circular economy also plays a central role when solving challenges related to the scarcity of natural resources, such as the sufficiency of earth metals.

The use and processing of natural resources and the manufacture of products have environmental impacts in different countries and continents. Finland should pay attention to where in the world making investments would reduce the harmful environmental impacts of industrial production the most.

4. Everyday decisions working as a driving force for change

The economic game will not proceed to the next level, the level required by the circular economy, without the everyday choices made by all of us. Almost 70% of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions are related to housing, transportation and food. At the present rate, the Finnish way of life would require natural resources of almost four planet Earths.

By taking advantage of the existing sustainable solutions, we could cut our everyday emissions by up to 37%, when we use the emissions level of 2010 as the point of comparison. This could be easily implemented without too many people feeling that they need to give up something – they would rather feel like they are gaining new benefits in their everyday lives.

By 2030, we should strive to cut our carbon footprint in half from the level of 2010, as also proposed in the Government Report on Medium-term Climate Change Plan (2017). This requires that we adopt a new kind of approach to ownership, in terms of culture, taxation and income distribution. Everybody should have the opportunity not to own things.

Published 2020-02-11 at 11:53, updated 2020-09-21 at 17:28
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