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WCEF2017 begins at Finlandia Hall – Top experts in the circular economy meet for the first time

World economic growth can be shared, well-being can be increased, and poverty can be reduced, even if the consumption of materials and energy is decreased, says Achim Steiner, who is to be the new Administrator of the UNDP, and who in recent years has studied global economic challenges and has served as Director of the Oxford Martin School. Steiner, who is of German and Brazilian background, says that we are currently living in a time in which it is possible to move to a new kind of economic growth, because a new kind of economic thinking is making headway around the world.


Samuli Laita

Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs


Achim Steiner opened the World Circular Economy Forum at Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall on Monday. WCEF2017 has brought to Finland 1,500 participants from 105 countries around the world who are interested in the circular economy.

WCEF2017 is a new kind of high level event on the economy, organised by Sitra and its international cooperative partners. It raises the best circular economy solutions in the world. From 5-7 June representatives and researchers of administrative bodies, business, cities  and organisations will ponder how the circular economy can create economic growth and implement the UN goals for sustainable development.

Over a period of three days other meetings concerning the circular economy will also be held in Helsinki. For instance, the UN International Resource Panel will meet in Finland’s capital . There will be 13 side events and 23 companies and organisations will be putting forward their solutions at the WCEF2017 exhibition area.

At the age of 50 Sitra wants to both mark its own special year and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Finnish independence by offering a forum to promote more sustainable economic growth.

Finland is the first country in the world to draft a national roadmap for a journey to a circular economy, which has raised great interest among participants.

“The circular economy could also be the next success story for Finland, at the age of 100,” says Sitra President Mikko Kosonen.

Chinese Professor Bing Zhu emphasises international cooperation to enable the creation of a green and low-carbon future for the world. In China the circular economy is an important part of the strategy with which the country can combine economic growth with ecological development.

According to UN Environment ProgrammeDeputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw there is no going back from a low-carbon, efficient and clean economic model. The reason for this is that companies and citizens in different parts of the world are its drivers.

Funto Boroffice, CEO of the Nigerian recycling company Chanja Datti Ltd. says that the circular economy means the creation of jobs, advancing the rights of women and reducing poverty.

Astronaut Cady Coleman says that when looking at the earth from space one understands that international cooperation and solutions of sustainable development are indispensable if our planet is to stay healthy.

Janez Potočnick of the International Resource Panel says that 60 percent of the world’s ecosystem has already suffered damage and that 33 percent of the soil has been ruined by erosion. What is most worrying is that since the year 2000 material efficiency in the world has actually declined, rather than improved.

While there are many sustainability problems in the world a general sense of optimism prevailed at the forum. Most people recognise the problems and WCEF2017 itself is a good example of the determination to work towards a better world.

Further information
Mari Pantsar, Director, Carbon-Neutral Circular Economy, mari.pantsar(a), +358 50 382 0755
Samuli Laita, Communications Specialist, samuli.laita(a), +358 40 536 8650

WCEF2017:n Interview requests for speakers:
Sanna Autere, Communications Specialist, sanna.autere(a), +358 50 331 7510

Event website:

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