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New recognitions encourage the assessment of circular economy business

Excellence Finland and Sitra have for the first time awarded recognitions and honorary mentions to seven pioneering Finnish companies in the circular economy. These recognitions mark the beginning of an effort to develop international criteria for the assessment of circular economy business.


Samuli Laita

Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs


Companies are changing their operating models and revenue models along with the circular economy – the ways we used to make a profit may not always work in future business life. Between 2015 and 2019, Sitra has through its circular economy focus area promoted the introduction of a new economic model both in Finland and globally. In a circular economy, the earning logic of companies is based on the circulation of materials and products. Rental services or the maintenance, reuse and remanufacture of products are examples of this.

This work carried out by Sitra has also been aimed at developing sets of criteria for circular economy business. The recognitions now awarded mark the beginning of an effort to make circular economy part of the EFQM model, which has been internationally accepted for the assessment of quality management. Excellence Finland will continue the development of the criteria.

“When companies adapt the principles of a circular economy to their earning logic, they need tools that can measure the development. We will build a set of criteria for the assessment of the circular economy and make it part of the EFQM 2020 model. In future, the recognitions will be awarded on the basis of this model,” says Tani Järvinen, CEO of Excellence Finland.

Based on Sitra’s list of the most interesting companies in the circular economy

This year, a circular economy recognition was awarded to the following companies:

  • 3 Step IT Oy, for leasing office equipment to organisations
  • Neste Oyj, for the manufacture of diesel and plastic solutions from waste and leftovers
  • TouchPoint Oy, for the manufacture of workwear from textile and plastic waste

An honourable mention was given to the following companies:

  • MaaS Global Oy, for its mobility service combining public transport, taxis and the car
  • Nokia Oyj, for the remanufacture and refurbishment of used electronic devices for resale
  • Plan B From Outer Space Oy/RePack, for offering reusable delivery packaging as a service
  • Swappie Oy, for the repair and resale of used smartphones

This years’ assessment criteria for the recognitions were based on Sitra’s list The most interesting companies in the circular economy, established in 2016. The purpose of the list, which has grown from the initial 19 to 130 companies, has been to showcase the most inspiring examples of Finnish companies in the circular economy and to challenge Finnish companies to respond to the needs of the changing world.

“Companies must update their operations to support climate change mitigation. Luckily, making the change will open up new business opportunities. In the past few years, an increasing number of Finnish companies have started to develop their business according to the principles of the circular economy. We want to inspire the rest of the companies to join them, too,” says Sitra’s President Mikko Kosonen.

The awarded recognitions are also aimed at increasing the importance of the circular economy among companies, highlighting examples of successful companies and encouraging companies to invest in the circular economy.

The criteria used in the assessment were the interestingness of the company’s circular economy solution, the degree to which it had already been established as business operation, its effectiveness from the perspective of the circular economy and environmental impacts, its scalability, and the company’s efforts to influence matters in its value chain and networks to promote the circular economy. Experts from Sitra and Excellence Finland assessed the companies’ circular economy solutions together.

After an initial evaluation and based largely on Sitra’s list The most interesting companies in the circular economy, Sitra’s circular economy experts invited more than 20 companies to the competition. A total of 16 companies applied for a recognition.

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