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WCEF Side Events in 2021

As part of the World Circular Economy Forum, WCEF Side Events will be organised throughout 2021. This list of events will be updated monthly.

Image: Topias Dean, Sitra


WCEF Side Events present circular economy solutions from around the globe and attract an international audience. They address specific topics related to the circular economy and the role circularity plays in the economies of the future, as well as in the fight against climate change and the nature crisis.

Side events can take place any time during 2021, excluding the days of the WCEF+Climate conference in the Netherlands on 15 and 16 April and the annual event WCEF2021 in Toronto, Canada on 13-15 September. Side events taking place from 6 to 26 September will also be listed on the WCEF2021 event page.

If you are interested in organising a WCEF Side Event, please submit your application to using the application form.

WCEF Side Events are part of the World Circular Economy Forum concept. The organisers are responsible for all practicalities, expenses and inquiries related to organising and participating in the side events. Side events may be organised either virtually or locally, depending on the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the headings below to read more.

Tuesday 2 February

Sustainable smart cities

Cities are cornerstones of the sustainable future. In this event, experts from different areas of the smart city ecosystem share their insights about digital and circular innovations of smart traffic, construction, recycling, and more.

Organiser: Taival
Time: 15:00-17:00 UTC+2

Wednesday 3 February

Solutions pathways workshop for circular plastics in Canada

This event is a solutions-oriented, interactive, virtual workshop focused on achieving a circular plastics economy in Canada. The workshop will feature expert insights into practical applications of upstream innovation for plastics packaging and six interactive breakout sessions.

Organisers: Circular Economy Leadership Coalition (CELC) and GLOBE Series
Time: 19:00-21:00 UTC+2

Thursday 4 February

Time to act: the circular economy action agenda

In the lead up to WCEF+Climate, leaders from business, government and civil society come together in a key moment to set out the bold action needed to create a circular economy.

Organiser: Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE)
Time: 16:00-17:30 UTC+2

Tuesday 23 February

Creating the circular and climate neutral city

We need circular cities to reach carbon neutrality and to create thriving communities. Digital solutions are strongly positioned to make this happen. Join a discussion with pioneering cities and participate in the launch of this new international innovation challenge.

Organisers: City of Copenhagen, City of Glasgow, City of Amsterdam, City of New York, City of Toronto, Danish Business Authority, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Danish Design Centre and Leaderlab
Time: 17:00-18:30 UTC+2

Thursday 25 February

The benefits of a circular economy for achieving climate objectives and recovering better

This pre-event of the WCEF+Climate focuses on the importance of the circular economy in achieving our Paris Agreement climate goals and a better recovery. The event will demonstrate how countries like the Gambia, Chile and Vanuatu have included the circular economy in their nationally determined contributions.

Organisers: EU Delegation to the United Nations, Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Singapore, Kenya and Finland to the United Nations
Time: 16:00-17:30 UTC+2

Tuesday 9 March

Circular economy and digital transition: opportunities for a global recovery*

This event covers how the European Green Deal and the new Biden climate crisis agenda will benefit from AI, blockchain, IoT, edge computing and other technologies as drivers to disrupt linear models and innovate towards a just transition to an inclusive circular economy.
*This event is part of the circularNEXT North America Series.

Organisers: Innovation Texas and International Circular Economy Initiative
Time: 17:00-19:30 UTC+2

Thursday 18 March

Circular Electronics Partnership: from roadmap to action

This interactive event launches the vision and roadmap of the Circular Electronics Partnership (CEP), an organisation of over 20 electronics companies. In its next phase, CEP focuses on implementation, coordinated action and monitoring progress.

Organisers: Global Electronics Council, Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative, International Telecommunication Union, Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, Responsible Business Alliance, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum
Time: 17:00-18:00 UTC+2

Monday 22 to Sunday 28 March

Circular City Week New York 2021

Circular City Week gives people with many different viewpoints a platform for circularity knowledge sharing. The festival will be primarily virtual in 2021 and offers a range of opportunities to engage and actively get involved.

Organisers: Circular City Week New York, the Danish Cleantech Hub, State of Green and the Confederation of Danish Industry
Time: please see separate programme

Wednesday 24 March

Circular events 2021 kick-off

This is the official launch of the Nordic Circular Hotspot’s Partnership Programme and a presentation of Business Finland. What can we learn from Finland? What is the potential for Finnish bio and circular innovation in the Nordic market today and vice versa?

Organisers: Nordic Circular Hotspot and Business Finland
Time: 11:00-13:00 UTC+2

Making public-private innovation work is hard. What to do about it?

Join us for this New York Circular City Week event, when where we explore the opportunities and barriers in public-private innovation projects, specifically related to a circular agenda, and speak about the concrete collaboration opportunities in the Circular Innovation City Challenge.

Organisers: City of Copenhagen, City of Glasgow, City of Amsterdam, City of New York, City of Toronto, Danish Business Authority, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Danish Design Centre and Leaderlab
Time: 15:00-16:00 UTC+2

Thursday 25 March

EU Circular Talks: circular business models at the heart of EU’s new Circular Economy Action Plan 

A shift to a circular economy requires adopting and mainstreaming circular business models. Sitra together with EEA and the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform invite you to discuss the role of circular business models and the changing role of ownership.

Organisers: Sitra, the European Environment Agency and the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform
Time: 14:00-15:30 UTC+2

OECD Green Talks Live: international trade and circular economy

This event will discuss the role of international trade in the transition to a resource efficient and circular economy. The presentation will highlight findings from a series of recent OECD reports on international trade and the circular economy.

Organiser: OECD
Time: 16:00-17:00 UTC+2

Wednesday 7 April

Circular Climate Booster: textiles and climate

During the webinar, the various steps in the textiles value chain are discussed with circular fashion experts and entrepreneurs, inspiring best practices and opportunities for international collaboration.

Organiser: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management
Time: 10:30-11:45 UTC+3

Circular Climate Booster: plastics and climate

In this webinar we show proven and promising initiatives for closed plastics value chains. Entrepreneurs illustrate what is already happening and share their visions of what is needed to strengthen both the local and international transition.

Organiser: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management
Time: 16:00-17:15 UTC+3

Monday 12 April

Circular Climate Booster: going circular faster

This high-level round table discussion is organised as a prelude to WCEF+Climate and WCEF2021. Minister Stientje van Veldhoven, together with officials from other countries, will address the conditions for speeding up the transition to a circular economy.

Organiser: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management
Time: 17:00-18:00 UTC+3

Tuesday 13 April

Launch seminar: Nordic Circular Economy Playbook

The Nordic Circular Economy Playbook for manufacturing industries provides you with in-depth understanding on how to achieve a circular advantage for your company. Join us for the launch seminar to hear how the playbook and its tools can support your business.

Organisers: Nordic Innovation, Accenture and Sitra
Time: 13:00-14:00 UTC+3

Wednesday 14 April

Designing national circular economy roadmaps workshop

This session will highlight the benefits and rationale for designing national circular economy roadmaps that are aligned with African countries’ development priorities. Sitra will present their guidebook “How to create a national circular economy roadmap”.

Organisers: African Circular Economy Alliance and Sitra
Time: 12:00-13:15 UTC+3

Uncovering circular economy opportunities in Africa’s mining sector workshop

This session will discuss the opportunities of the circular economy and the roles of relevant actors helping African countries transition to a low-carbon economy. The panel discussion will reflect on the steps required to translate circular economy ambition into action.

Organisers: African Circular Economy Alliance and the KAS Foundation
Time: 16:00-17:00 UTC+3

Why citizens, policymakers, and business leaders need to learn more about the circular economy

In this English-French online press conference journalists will receive a brief on the basics of a circular economy. The survey initiative ‘Imagine Circularity’ engaging cities around the world will also be presented. Journalists need to register here.

Organisers: REVOLVE Circular and Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
Time: 16:00-17:30 UTC+3

Thursday 15 April

Launch of the report “Five big bets for the circular economy in Africa”

This session will share the outcomes and implications of the ACEA’s market research which was conducted to identify prospects in the African market. Key stakeholders involved in driving the circular economy agenda will come together to share their interventions.

Organisers: African Circular Economy Alliance and the World Economic Forum
Time: 12:00-13:15 UTC+3

Monday 19 April

Imagine Circularity: global launch of the first-ever initiative on how people perceive circularity

The official launch of the first-ever global survey on the perceptions of circularity will involve people of all ages as they present their views on how to educate others on the necessity for moving away from a linear mindset, culture and economy.

Organisers: REVOLVE Circular and Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
Time: 11:00-13:00 UTC+3

Wednesday 21 April

FRUSH: innovating the circular economy

With local and international speakers, pitch competitions and panel discussions, the fourth annual FRUSH facilitates cooperation between growth-oriented entrepreneurs, startups , investors and research institutes, and aims to accelerate the circular economy.

Organisers: Häme University of Applied Sciences and Forssan Yrityskehitys Oy
Time: 10:00-16:00 UTC+3

An inclusive and just circular economy: entrepreneurship and sustainable business ecosystems*

New circular models can help us close many of the social gaps we now face and set a path for prosperity in our communities. Hear from leaders and entrepreneurs from all over the world how they are transforming linear business models into circular, sustainable and profitable new ventures.
*This event is part of the circularNEXT North America Series.

Organisers: Innovation Texas and International Circular Economy Initiative
Time: 17:00-19:30 UTC+3

Thursday 22 April

The 15-minute circular city

This interactive live stream will focus on the efforts to set up Vienna as a 15-minute city. Learn how the project was initiated, the successes, challenges and the roadmap moving forward. Come with your own thoughts on the subject and be prepared to share!

Organiser: Circular Vienna
Time: 17:00-18:00 UTC+3

Friday 23 April

Circular SMEs across Europe – kicking off the virtual tour from Barcelona to Bottrop

The virtual tour will present good practices from Barcelona to Bottrop from all sectors affected by the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. Travel with us in our monthly events to get inspired and meet across borders via the matchmaking platform!

Organisers: Green Economy Network North-Rhine Westphalia and the Enterprise Europe Network
Time: 11:00-12:00 UTC+3

Thursday 29 April

Introducing extended producer responsibility schemes for packaging around the world

This session focuses on extended producer responsibility (EPR), a key concept for “’closing the loop”’ in the packaging value chain. The EPR Toolbox will be presented and panellists will discuss experiences in introducing EPR schemes in different countries.

Organiser: PREVENT Waste Alliance
Time: 11:00-12:30 UTC+3

Tuesday 11 May

Circular economy roadmaps: countries, regions and cities*

This event presents a series of inspiring stories to help your country, city or business start a circular economy transition. Hear about the challenges and opportunities they found to restart their economies and create value for their communities and citizens with a circular economy approach.
*This event is part of the circularNEXT North America Series.

Organisers: Innovation Texas and International Circular Economy Initiative
Time: 17:00-19:30 UTC+3

Wednesday 12 May

Data as an ingredient of circular business

This event covers the business opportunities in connecting data to the circular economy. You will gain insights from experts in the field and hear tangible examples from companies already carrying out profitable data-driven circular business operations.

Organisers: Sitra, FIBS, Climate Leadership Coalition and the Circular Design Innovation Community
Time: 10:30-12:30 UTC+3

Tuesday 18 to Wednesday 19 May

Foro internacional de economía circular

During the forum, we support business and government to generate a circularity road map, help position Chile as a regional circular economy leader and create knowledge sharing opportunities for the public and private sectors across generations. The event language is Spanish; some presentations will be held in English.

Organiser: Fundación Recyclapolis
Time: 16:00-01:00 UTC+3

Thursday 20 to Friday 21 May

Sustainable Bioeconomy Development 2021: adaptation to climate change

The online conference will bring together European and national experts as well as policy makers, researchers and stakeholders to discuss the opportunities related to sustainable bioeconomy development.

Organisers: The faculty of Bioeconomy Development at the Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy and the Faculty of Economics and Social Development at the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies
Time: 10:00-16:30 UTC+3

Thursday 27 May

Circular SMEs across Europe – plastics and chemistry travel stop

The next stop on our virtual tour will be hosted by Catalonia. We will present the transformation processes of established companies and startups. You will learn about their ways of operating, circular product designs and inspiring philosophies.

Organisers: Enterprise Europe Network (Circular Economy Hotspot Catalonia 2021) and Green Economy Network North-Rhine Westphalia
Time: 11:00-12:15 UTC+3

Frontrunners of the biocircular economy 2.0: Nordic-Netherlands roundtable

This event, organised with the support of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, will create a united leadership between Nordic and Dutch frontrunners to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy 2.0. The event is followed by an optional digital networking lunch.

Organisers: Business Finland, Nordic Circular Hotspot, Holland Circular Hotspot and Circular Biobased Delta
Time: 11:00-13:10 UTC+3

Accelerating a circular built environment in Canada

This event will be a solutions-oriented, interactive, virtual workshop that will explore the current state and evolving business case for accelerating circularity in Canada’s built environment, construction and real estate sectors.

Organiser: Circular Economy Leadership Coalition
Time: 20:00-22:00 UTC+3

Friday 28 May

Closing your loop: the why, what and how of taking your business circular

Circle Economy and BMI Lab have a developed a joint approach to creating circular business – from strategy building to launching circular solutions on the market. In this online workshop, you will walk through the complete process for developing and validating a circular business model.

Organisers: Circle Economy and BMI Lab
Time: 11:30-13:00 UTC+3

Wednesday 2 June

Circular economy in emerging markets: unlocking the potential for green recovery in developing Asia

During the event a selection of policy papers will be presented to showcase cases of successful implementation of circular economy principles, with a focus on green recovery and economic growth post COVID-19.

Organisers: Asian Development Bank institute and Sitra
Time: 08:00-11:00 UTC+3

Thursday 3 June

Circular action for Dutch and Nordic companies: how can regional clusters help SMEs to become more circular and international?

Regional clusters play a vital role in the circular transition. How can clusters help SMEs to become more circular? What do companies need to overcome challenges? In this event, clusters and companies share their circular successes and challenges.

Organisers: Nordic Circular Hotspot and the Embassies of the Netherlands in Finland, Sweden and Norway
Time: 10:00-11:30 UTC+3

Friday 4 June

Circular SMEs across Europe – virtual stop in Flanders with a focus on circular construction

The next stop on our virtual tour presents the successful Flemish approach to achieve changes in the construction industry. Get to know sustainable alternatives, re-usable solutions and circular building concepts. How can SMEs change the construction scene in Europe?

Organisers: Enterprise Europe Network (Flanders) and the Green Economy Network North-Rhine Westphalia
Time: 11:00-12:30 UTC+3

Monday 7 June

Realising technology innovations to recirculate plastics

This event focuses on the experiences of five leading Canadian companies working on collaborative projects to close the loop on advanced plastics recycling. The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges across the plastics value chain to scale and commercialise their solutions.

Organiser: Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
Time: 22:00-23:00 UTC+3

Tuesday 8 June

Circular smart destinations*

Travel and tourism companies can be powerful enablers of circularity and benefit from shared circular value creation and value capture in their value chains. Join us to hear how technology can help design more sustainable, resilient and inclusive places and help the tourism industry recover.
*This event is part of the circularNEXT North America Series.

Organisers: Innovation Texas and International Circular Economy Initiative
Time: 17:00-19:30 UTC+3

Wednesday 9 to Saturday 11 June

Industrial circular economy conference

ICE2021 is designed for any industrial manufacturer that wants to remain competitive domestically and globally, shrink their environmental footprint and create value throughout the product life cycle.

Organisers: Lower Columbia Initiatives Organization and Metal Tech Alley
Time: 04:00-0:00 UTC+3

Monday June 14

Circular and Fair ICT Pact (CFIT): launch event

Join this event to learn more about the Circular & Fair ICT Pact (CFIT*), an international procurement-led partnership to accelerate circularity, fairness and sustainability in the ICT sector.
*CFIT is an initiative under the United Nations One Planet Network SPP Programme.

Organisers: The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management on behalf of all CFIT partners
Time: 17:00-18:00 UTC+3

Tuesday 15 June

Nordic Circular Arena launch event

The Nordic Circular Hotspot has developed the digital Nordic Circular Arena, a platform that gives all members access to networks, knowledge, event invitations, projects, groups, circular stakeholders and much more. Join this event to learn more!

Organisers: Nordic Circular Hotspot
Time: 14:00-15:30 UTC+3

Tuesday 22 June

Circular design for the sustainability of the offshore renewable energy sector

In this event, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund projects will present how circularity by design contributes to increasing the environmental sustainability and the competitiveness of the offshore renewable energy sector.

Organisers: Climate Infrastructure Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)
Time: 10:45-13:00 UTC+3

Tuesday 29 June

Financing circularity: capital markets, institutional investors and ESG*

All aspects of finance will be vital to scale the transition to the circular economy. In this event we will hear from participants in private equity, ESG investing and the capital markets on how to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy in a post-COVID world.
*This event is part of the circularNEXT North America Series.

Organiser: Innovation Texas
Time: 17:00-19:30 UTC+3

Wednesday 30 June

Circular living: the Gatineau Hills and beyond

This event is for those living in peri-urban and rural communities and love small town living! Join us for an educational event to learn about exciting initiatives and perspectives on how local individual actions are, and can be, impactful in shifting communities towards a circular economy!

Organiser: La Pêche Coalition for a Green New Deal
Time: 4:00-5:00 UTC+3

Thursday 1 July

Circular SMEs across Europe – textiles travel stop in the Netherlands

The next travel stop of our virtual tour presents innovative SME’s from the textiles industry. How will our SMEs improve the textiles industry? Join this event if you want to learn about sustainable approaches and alternatives leading to enhanced circularity in the textiles industry.

Organisers: Holland Circular Hotspot, RVO, ZENIT and the Green Economy Network North-Rhine Westphalia
Time: 11:00-12:00 UTC+3

Thursday 15 July

Creative and cultural industries startup Europe accelerathon 

This webinar launches the accelerathon programme that presents innovative projects. The aim of this accelerathon is to find novel solutions in the cultural business focused on the circular economy and sustainable development. 

Organiser: Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial (IVACE)
Time: 17:00-19:00 UTC+3

Wednesday 21 to Friday 23 July

Indonesia Circular Economy Forum: towards smart and sustainable cities

The fourth Indonesia Circular Economy Forum (ICEF 2021) brings together global and local stakeholders to identify challenges and produce solutions and recommendations to implement the circular economy in Indonesia. 

Organiser: the Greeneration Foundation
Time: 04:00-11:00 UTC+3 

Wednesday 8 September 

Focus on Canadian business circularity 

Meet a spectrum of Canadian businesses, from startup to established, to see a snapshot of circularity across the country. Explore how Circular Economy Clubs in Canada are catalysing a B2B networking community to assist businesses in reaching the next level. 

Organisers: CEC clubs in Toronto, Calgary, London, Montreal and Quebec City
Time: 19:00-20:30 UTC+3

Thursday 9 September

Circular Carbon Economy

Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) builds on the pillars of circular economy, where operating systems are transformed to more circular systems. The event brings together leaders from academia, government, private sectors to discuss the opportunities in translating CCE into a reality.

Organiser: Ministry of Energy, Saudi Arabia
Time: 12:00-14:00 UTC+3

Tuesday 14 September

High level meeting of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE)

This event is the first high-level meeting of GACERE since its launch in February 2021. High-level representatives of the Alliance and invited guests will meet to take stock of progress on the Alliance’s work and agree on future priorities.

Organisers: the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
Time: 12:00-14:00 UTC+3

Thursday 30 September

Boosting the circular economy: advances from Finland and around the world 

This event presents the latest results from circular economy research projects and advances in strategic research. 

Organiser: The Circwaste project and the Finnish Environment Institute
Time: 10:00-16:00 UTC+3

Monday 18 to Tuesday 19 October

Circular Procurement Summit 2021

This summit offers a learning experience covering the possibilities of public-private tenders and contracts, the carbon and waste reduction opportunities in procurement, showcases from government and private practitioners and exploring market readiness for circular procurement.

Organiser: Circular Innovation Council
Time: 16:00-00:00 UTC+3

Monday 15 to Thursday 18 November

Circular Economy Hotspot Catalonia

This event will be held in Catalonia and will give a comprehensive overview of the current state of the circular economy in Catalonia and Europe. This includes guided tours to local companies from various sectors and a B2B event.

Organisers: Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of Catalonia and ACCIÓ, Government of Catalonia
Time: programme will be updated on the event site

Thursday 25 to Friday 26 November

Nordic Circular Summit 2021

This second annual summit presents inspiring Nordic and international speakers and facilitates circular economy collaboration, stimulates debate and enables learning among people from the Nordics and beyond.

Organisers: Nordic Circular Hotspot and Nordic Innovation
Time: 11:00-17:30 UTC+2


WCEF Side Events are part of the World Circular Economy Forum concept. The organisers of these side events have an opportunity to present their circular economy solutions and engage an international and local audience. They also get to highlight their work in supporting the development of a circular economy.

Previously, side events have been organised in close proximity to the annual WCEF conference. The WCEF concept has been updated and selected additional events will be held between the annual WCEF conferences. In 2021, we will be organising a WCEF+Climate conference on 15 April, and the annual WCEF2021 conference will take place on 13-15 September.

At the moment, countries all over the world are struggling with an economic downturn caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep people inspired and the discussions around the circular economy ongoing, a number of WCEF Side Events will be organised during 2021.


The World Circular Economy Forum

The World Circular Economy Forum is a landmark event of the year that brings together business leaders, policymakers and experts to present the world’s best circular economy solutions.


Contact us
Specialist, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions , Sitra

+358 (294) 618 242

Project coordinator, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions , Sitra

+358 (294) 618 374


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