What is Circular Economy?
In a circular economy, materials are utilized efficiently and sustainably, and they remain in circulation for a long time and safely. Products are also shared, leased, repaired and recycled. Servicification is part of the circular economy, for example, when services replace the ownership of products by paying for use or result.
The circular economy is a new operating method for the economy that produces economic well-being within the limits of the planet's carrying capacity. It utilises digitalisation efficiently and will renew the structures and operating models of society. The circular economy is a means for reducing the use of natural resources.
Finland has prepared a strategic programme to promote a circular economy. The aim is to transform the economy into one that is based on the principles of circular economy by 2035. With this programme, the Finnish Government wants to strengthen Finland’s role as a leader in the circular economy. The transition into a circular economy is also a step towards achieving the Government's carbon neutrality target by 2035. The Finnish Government adopted the resolution on promoting a circular economy on 8 April 2021.
- Government resolution on the Strategic Programme for Circular Economy 8.4.2021
- Press release of Ministry of the Environment 8 April 2021: Finland's Circular Economy Programme sets targets to curb overconsumption of natural resources
The strategic programme to promote a circular economy sets out objectives for the use of natural resources. It sets the objectives and indicators, specify the measures to be taken and allocate the resources needed to promote the circular economy and achieve systemic change.
A broad spectrum of stakeholders such as different ministries and research institutes, in dialogue with companies, business sectors and local governments, participated in the process to prepare the resolution. The preparation of the programme for circular economy has been supported by a citizens’ jury, which consisted of 50 citizens randomly selected from among volunteers. In addition, all citizens had an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the programme through an online brainstorming platform.
Vision and objectives of the programme
The vision of the Circular Economy Programme is “Finland in 2035: Our economic success is founded on a carbon-neutral circular economy society”:
- sustainable products and services are mainstream of the economy and the sharing economy is part of our everyday lives;
- our choices are future-proof and they strengthen our fair welfare society;
- more for less: the use of natural resources is sustainable and materials remain in circulation longer and more safely;
- the breakthrough of a circular economy has been achieved through innovations, digital solutions, smart regulation, and responsible investors, businesses and consumers;
- with a circular economy, Finland is a strong player in the global arena and a provider of sustainable solutions on the international market.
Making this vision true requires sustainable and efficient use of natural resources. This will be guided by the following steps and objectives:
- The consumption of non-renewable natural resources will decrease and the sustainable use of renewable natural resources may increase to the extent that the total consumption of primary raw materials in Finland in 2035 will not exceed what it was in 2015. Natural resources used to manufacture products for export are not covered by the objective*.
- The productivity of resources will double by 2035 from what it was in 2015.
- The circular material use rate (CMU) will double by 2035.
*The objective takes into account Finland’s total consumption that includes the imported products needed to run our everyday lives and infrastructure and the consumption of domestic raw materials. Finland’s total consumption includes raw material consumption in countries where the products are manufactured minus the raw materials used to manufacture Finnish products for export. The total consumption is shown by the Raw Material Consumption (RMC) indicator calculated by using the ENVIMAT tool developed by the University of Oulu and Finnish Environment Institute.