By scaling up just 15 proven Nordic solutions, countries all over the world can save as much in emissions as the EU produces today.
Innovators are best placed to benefit from the transition to a sustainable society and achieve sustainable well-being, economic growth and greater competitiveness.
In the next five to ten years, Finland will have an unprecedented opportunity to create sustainable well-being and success from a carbon-neutral circular economy. The key challenge of our time is to discover ways to stimulate to economic growth and greater well-being that do not rely on fossil fuels and the overexploitation of natural resources. We are learning to adapt to life within planetary boundaries, in a situation where globalisation and power politics are becoming more intertwined.
The world is in urgent need of trailblazers. Accelerating population growth, depleting natural resources and the climate crisis are driving societies to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. The first to find solutions to these so-called wicked problems will succeed in the face of global competition. Despite being a small country, Finland could play a major role as a global problem-solver.
The circular economy goes hand in hand with the fight against climate change. Climate change cannot be prevented without resource wisdom and efficient use of resources.
Urbanisation is accelerating. Easy-to-use smart and clean solutions are set to become more common as people need new kinds of mobility, housing and energy solutions. Growing cities demand more sustainable food production. By meeting such demand with their own products and services, Finnish businesses would benefit from huge market opportunities. This would require engaging businesses, research organisations, cities, municipalities and the government in a new type of collaboration. One example of such collaboration is the Helsinki capital region’s Smart & Clean partnership project.
Decision-makers now have the opportunity to build a Finland in which businesses develop sustainable solutions to addressing the global challenges and pilot them in the domestic market. The outcome will be profitable business activities with high added value, which will help to put Finland on a new growth path and create jobs, income and sustainable well-being.
Sitra wants to accelerate this change by making it a national goal: we want to build a carbon-neutral circular economy for Finland. Being among the first to make this change will give Finland a competitive edge.
As an independent, neutral and responsible organisation, Sitra can build regenerative co-operation among various societal actors.
The carbon-neutral circular economy offers a sustainable competitive advantage
In a circular economy, materials and value remain in circulation for the maximum possible time, while services and smart solutions add value to products. Material wastage and waste generation are minimised. The consumer-driven business models for the circular economy focus area aim to find solutions that enable achieving these objectives.
Businesses and industry will play a crucial role in the global transition towards a carbon-neutral circular economy. They have the capacity to innovate and create the necessary products and solutions, while improving their own competitiveness. If Finnish businesses act quickly, they have the chance to join the world’s leading providers of more sustainable solutions. Practical tools for this are provided by the Carbon-neutral industry focus area.
The building of a more sustainable and competitive Finland has already begun. In recent years, Sitra has founded the FISU network of Finnish sustainable communities, promoted the creation of sustainable business ecosystems among companies (industrial symbiosis), brought together mining sector operators to form the Network for Sustainable Mining, and co-founded the Finnish local renewable energy association and the Climate Leadership Council (CLC). The CLC aims to help the business and industry sectors to grasp and maximise the opportunities associated with the fight against climate change.