Two years’ ago, the Finnish government set a strategic target to become a forerunner in circular economy. Before that, in the Baltic Sea Action Summit in 2010, the Finnish government committed to become a model country for nutrient cycling. The first World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2017) showed that both promises have now taken a giant leap.
WCEF2017 was organized by SITRA and held in the Finlandia hall 5th-6th of June. It gathered 1500 visitors from 105 countries. The participants were unanimous that the momentum of circular economy is right now, and those who have not yet recognized it, are already lagging behind. Although the forum concentrated in circular economy in general, all the main speakers named also the importance of nutrient recovery and reuse. Former European Commissioner for the Environment and Co-Chair of UNEP, Janez Potoĉnik reminded about the global inequality in the division of nutrients as well as about EU’s dependency on imported mineral phosphate. Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme emphasized that the systemic change which is needed in the circular economy, brings also great opportunities.
The theme, that emerged in most of the speeches was the environmental externalities of current fossil-based economy, and how to calculate and direct their costs. I.e. costs for mitigating eutrophication should be directed to actors causing it, rather than solely to the society.
The demand for systemic change and move towards circular economy was clearly stated in one of the main panels in WCEF2017. Anders Wijkman, Co-President of Club of Rome and a Councillor of the World Future Council, summed up that companies need to start following more sustainable revenue generation logic, otherwise the future look dim, not only for companies but to all of us. However, the panel emphasized that the transition towards circular economy requires consistent and integrated governance, including taxation, regulation, investments and innovations.
Raki-Ecosystem, orchestratedby BSAG, was presented in the Sitra Stand. Here is a link to Raki-Ecosystem brochure: https://www.bsag.fi/document/BSAG%20RAKI%20Ecosystem.pdf
Sitra presented also many of the RaKi Ecosystem members in its list of interesting companies: https://www.sitra.fi/en/news/most-interesting-finnish-companies-circular-economy/
The material from the WCEF2017 can be found here: https://www.sitra.fi/en/articles/grand-opening-integrating-circular-economy-global-agenda-2030/