Top circular economy event offers means to achieve sustainable growth to a world battered by crises

On 29 and 30 September, the World Circular Economy Forum Online will bring together over 5,000 global economy reformers to discuss the most important tool in sustainable recovery: the circular economy. This time the event, which originates from Finland, will be fully virtual. In addition, Finnish think-and-do-tank Sitra will publish a guide to transitioning to a circular economy for other countries.
Picture: Topias Dean / Sitra

Writer

Samuli Laita

Leading Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra

Published

The event showcases the world’s best circular economy solutions. Business and environment go hand in hand in these solutions and they are based on the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This year, the fully virtual WCEFonline focuses on the role of the circular economy in sustainable recovery. The COVID-19 crisis, the escalating climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity have forced societies around the world to look for new sources of growth and new ways of reforming the foundations of the economy.

“We have a unique opportunity to support sustainable growth with circular economy solutions. They can increase the stability of society and help us give up overconsumption so that our use of natural resources will be within the limits of one globe,” says Jyrki Katainen, Sitra’s President.

The opening session will have a special focus on the opportunities the European Union‘s recovery package and European Green Deal programme have created for reviving the economy. Key speakers include for example Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme; Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission; Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries; and Stientje van Veldhoven and Krista Mikkonen, the ministers of the environment of The Netherlands and Finland.

The other five main sessions of the event highlight the financing, policies and partnerships required for the implementation of a circular economy and the impacts of COVID-19 on companies. In addition to Europe, Africa and North America will also step into the spotlight at WCEFonline.

The pandemic has shown us that the linear economic system with its long production chains is extremely vulnerable in crisis situations. The circular economy may increase our resilience – the ability to act in changing circumstances and deal with disturbances and crises. This is made possible by solutions such as the local, closed-loop production chains of circular companies.

Major global institutions are bringing key players together

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) has rapidly become the most important event for the developers of a new, more sustainable economy and continues its triumph. Over 5,000 global economy reformers from almost 140 countries – representatives of administrations, businesses, cities, organisations, and research – will be attending the forum that starts tomorrow.

Like in previous years, Sitra and a number of important global institutions, such as the UN Environment Programme, the European Commission and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, are working behind the event. WCEFonline showcases top circular economy expertise to the world and provides an opportunity for an even wider audience to support the world economy and share best practices regardless of where they are. The event website is www.wcefonline.com.

Finland presents a guidebook and a list of the most inspiring solutions

The WCEF was established in Finland’s centenary of independence in 2017 as a gift from the then 50-year-old Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra to the world. Sitra continues to support a global transition to a more sustainable economy: this year our contribution is a guide to drawing up a road map to a circular economy for other countries. The guide, which will be published during WCEFonline, summarises the observations and lessons learned from the process that created the world’s first national road map to a circular economy.

Since 2016, Sitra has maintained a list of the most interesting circular economy solutions in Finland. At WCEFonline, this list will be expanded to an international level: the event provides a fresh list of the 39 most inspiring solutions from across the world.

Media enquiries and registration for WCEFonline

Register now at https://e.eventos.fi/events/sitra/wcefonline to follow the event online. Select “Media” as the organisation type in the registration form.

Media enquiries and requests for interviews will be responded to by Samuli Laita, Leading Specialist, Communications, samuli.laita@sitra.fi, tel. +358 40 536 8650.

Some basic information

Circular Economy and The World Circular Economy Forum

The World Circular Economy Forum is Sitra’s initiative that examines how businesses can gain a competitive advantage through a circular economy and how the circular economy contributes to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2017 Sitra invited the shapers of our future well-being to celebrate Finland’s 100th year of independence at the WCEF2017. Over 1,600 participants from nearly 100 countries participated. WCEF2018 was held in Yokohama, Japan, and WCEF2019 was in Helsinki, with over 2,200 participants. WCEF2021 will be held in Toronto, Canada.

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is organising WCEFonline together with the African Circular Economy Alliance, Circular Economy Leadership Coalition, Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the European Commission, Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the Governments of Canada, Finland and The Netherlands, and WCEF2021 partners including International Chamber of Commerce, Nordic Innovation, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The circular economy is the new paradigm for business, which aims for economic growth through new sustainable business models. According to Accenture research, the circular economy could generate 4.5 trillion US dollars’ worth of additional economic output by 2030. The research identifies circular business models that will help decouple economic growth from natural resource consumption while driving greater competitiveness.

Writer

Samuli Laita

Leading Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra

Published

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