Estimated reading time 4 min
This post has been archived and may include outdated content

The new top circular economy event attracts participants to Finland from all over the world


Samuli Laita

Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs


Addition on 2 June 2017: The president of Russia’s special representative added to the text.

The first ever World Circular Economy Forum WCEF2017 has stirred huge international interest. This global circular economy event organised in Helsinki between 5 and 7 June has attracted participants from more than 90 countries. A total of 1,500 reformers of the world economy – representatives of administrations, businesses, cities, organisations, and research – will be attending the forum organised by Sitra in co-operation with global institutions. A UN director, a special representative of the president of Russia, leading figures from finance and businesses, and an astronaut are all among the developers of a circular economy.


WCEF2017 will present the best circular economy solutions from Finland and the rest of the world. Business and environment go hand in hand in these solutions and they are based on the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. To celebrate Finland’s 100th and Sitra’s 50th jubilees, Finland and Sitra want to offer the world the opportunity to discover leading examples of a circular economy and meet the people who implement them.

A circular economy is above all a new kind of model for the generation of economic growth. Finns are at the forefront of the implementation of this model that is now taking off globally and are bringing together the key players of circular economy in Helsinki. The event taking place at the beginning of June has encouraged several international organisations to hold their meetings in Helsinki at the same time: for example, the UN’s International Resource Panel will convene in connection with the forum. Also, dozens of foreign media representatives will come to Helsinki to follow WCEF2017.

One of the most prominent speakers at the forum is Achim Steiner, who will assume the position of the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme UNDP in June. He has for the past few years been the Director of the Oxford Martin School, which focuses on the study of global challenges, and before that led the United Nations Environment Programme.

Sergei Ivanov, the president of Russia’s Special Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport, will also address the meeting in the opening ceremonies.

Ashok Khosla from India contributes to the development of a circular economy with his long experience in solving the challenges of sustainable development and as the developer of the concept of social enterprise. Before his current position as the President of the company Development Alternatives, he has among other things led the United Nations Environment Programme.

The funders’ point of view on economic change is provided by Isabel Fernandez Niemann, the Head of Wholesale Banking of the Dutch bank ING, and experience in closed systems by former astronaut Cady Coleman. The most senior level of administration is represented by the ministers of the environment of several countries.

Matti Lievonen, President and CEO of Neste, Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister for the Environment, Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki as of this June, and Mari Walls, President and CEO of Natural Resources Institute Finland, will be among the speakers from Finland.

In addition to the more than 130 speakers, some of the most interesting circular economy solutions and the people who implement them will be presenting themselves at 24 stands during WCEF2017. They include examples ranging from the transformation of Chinese industrial parks and the sharing economy of businesses to the pioneering work of the Fisu Network municipalities in Finland (Finnish Sustainable Cities).

The world’s first national roadmap to a circular economy and Sitra’s list of the most interesting companies in the circular economy represent the pioneering work in this field in Finland.

”Other countries across the world have been fascinated about the concrete projects through which Finland has approached the circular economy and have started to build their own roadmaps,” says Mari Pantsar, who leads the theme area A carbon neutral circular economy at Sitra.

The event can be watched live online at

Further information on the event:
Hanna-Leena Ottelin, Specialist, hanna-leena.ottelin(at), tel. +358 50 376 9499

Requests for interviews with the speakers:
Sanna Autere, Specialist, Communications, sanna.autere(at), tel. +358 50 331 7510

More information on Finland’s work on a circular economy:
Mari Pantsar, Director, mari.pantsar(at), tel. +358 50 382 0755
Samuli Laita, Specialist, Communications, samuli.laita(at), tel. +358 40 536 8650

What's this about?