The circular economy is establishing itself in businesses
In October 2016, Sitra published for the first time The most interesting companies in the circular economy list. The list showcases examples of business activities to encourage Finnish companies to switch to sustainable business activities that follow the principles of a new and more efficient economy.
Finland is among the first countries to move towards an era in which well-being in society cannot be increased through the mass production of more and more goods. To maintain profitable business, we need new operating practices and solutions to ensure that materials and their value circulate in our society for as long as possible and loss and waste are kept to a minimum.
While the first listing comprised 19 companies, the now published third, updated version of The most interesting companies in the circular economy list increases the number of interesting examples to almost one hundred. With their solutions, the companies on the list show how profitable business is already conducted in a new way that promotes the circular economy. As the number of the pioneers increases, more will be required from these motivator companies. When the first list was published, Kari Herlevi, the project director of the Circular Economy focus area, indeed promised that the criteria for getting on the list would become tougher, much in the same way that emissions requirements for cars do with the proliferation of solutions.
“That time has come now, as we already have about one hundred interesting circular economy companies. Next year, we will continue by evaluating how interesting and inspiring the companies on the list are compared with emerging new companies,” he continues.
The companies on the list have been divided up according to five business models. New companies include Fluid Intelligence, which sells lubricant oil as a service; eRENT, which offers a digital platform for sharing machines and equipment to companies; Sulapac, which offers biodegradable materials to replace plastics in packaging and Gold&Green Foods, which provides pulled oats as an alternative to animal protein.
New innovations are not always required in the circular economy business – the about 400 upholstery companies in Finland have now been included in the list as one group.
”Extending the useful life of a product is also at the heart of the circular economy. To succeed, we need professionals who know how to service and repair products,” says Herlevi.
The circular economy offers business opportunities
The circular economy provides Finland with opportunities worth billions of euros when climate change forces the world to search for new operating and business models to be able to give up the overconsumption of virgin natural resources while still guaranteeing a financial basis for well-being.
In autumn 2016, Finland was the first country in the world to publish a national road map to a circular economy. The first steps outlined in this road map prepared under the leadership of Sitra were complemented by the Government’s Action Plan for a Circular Economy, in which the concrete measures taken by the Government and Sitra to promote the circular economy during this government term are brought together.
Sitra will continue its work to motivate the spread of the circular economy until autumn 2019.