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Voluntary agreements promote the circular economy faster than legislation

The “green deal” agreements between the private and public sectors enhance the execution of legislation that promotes the circular economy and complements the legislation.

Photo: Topias Dean/Sitra

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Challenge

The promotion of the circular economy by legislative means (such as legislation to extend producer responsibility) may sometimes be unnecessarily rigid and a slow way of generating a desired impact.

Solution

In many cases, the state and other parties are willing to promote matters on a voluntary basis, which enables more flexible and faster ways of action. Agreements can pose stricter goals than legislation and enable the achievement of certain goals without unnecessary regulation.

Ministries and industry unions or interest groups may enter into voluntary agreements to promote the circular economy and mitigate climate change, called green deals. Individual enterprises, towns and/or other interested parties pledge to promote the targets of the agreements with pre-agreed measures by including a separate commitment on this in the agreement. The green deals made so far aim to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags and carbon dioxide emissions in the automobile sector. The effectiveness of the agreements is monitored and the results reported on the Commitment 2050 website (link in Finnish).

Discussions about new agreements on various themes are conducted under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment. For example, a change in mobility habits could be supported in collaboration with employers by means of a green deal on sustainable mobility. Green deals can also be used for promoting sustainable public procurement (link in Finnish). Material efficiency agreements in relation to various materials are currently being drafted under Motiva’s lead.

Publication

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

The circular economy roadmap 2.0 plots Finland’s route to the circular economy by 2025. Find your role, form your team and make your move towards a wiser economy.

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