WCEF2020 conference in Toronto postponed to 2021

The landmark circular economy event of the year, the World Circular Economy Forum, will be postponed until 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual WCEFonline event in September 2020 will address how the circular economy can help reboot the economy.
Image: Topias Dean, Sitra


Tuula Sjöstedt

Lead, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra


Along with its partners, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, will be meeting the demand for countries’ need for tools for a sustainable recovery by hosting a virtual World Circular Economy Forum, WCEFonline, on 29 and 30 September 2020. By organising WCEFonline, we hope to share useful circular economy tools and solutions with the world to help tackle the recession caused by the pandemic. The annual landmark circular economy event, the World Circular Economy Forum, can no longer be held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak and will be postponed until 2021.

“Once we have overcome the immediate crisis, the recession must be met with decisive measures that encourage the transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy. This also helps us make better use of our limited resources,” says Sitra’s President Jyrki Katainen about the reasons for organising WCEFonline.

The choices we make have a direct bearing on how we will be positioned to respond to global heating, the sixth mass extinction and the depletion of natural resources. The crisis is global, and we need to keep everyone onboard to build a circular future that is fair and inclusive.

With WCEFonline, sharing the world’s best circular economy solutions to enable a sustainable recovery is possible despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “It gives key circular economy thinkers and doers from around the world the opportunity to share their solutions. For example, the European Green Deal is leading Europe towards a more circular future,” Katainen says.

Canada will host the next annual WCEF in 2021

The decision to postpone the WCEF2020 has been taken by the co-hosts Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, along with all of their partners.

“While it is unfortunate that the conference must be postponed due to the impact of COVID-19, the work around advancing the circular economy must continue. To help further such discussions, we will be aiming to provide opportunities for interested parties to connect virtually over the coming months. Canada looks forward to hosting the World Circular Economy Forum in Toronto at the first available opportunity in 2021,” says Minister Jonathan Wilkinson of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Dates for a rescheduled WCEF in 2021, hosted in Toronto by the Government of Canada in partnership with Finland and Sitra, will be revealed in due course following further discussion with partners. To be held for the first time in North America, the WCEF2021 will continue the work of previous forums and showcase the sustainable pathways needed to help the global economy recover and to advance the transition to the circular economy around the world.

Rescheduling the annual forum to 2021 will ensure that all parties can participate and focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference, as well as allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to inspire and prepare the circular economy community around the world.

Sitra’s work for a circular future continues

Meanwhile at Sitra, the work on building a sustainable economy is continuing with our partners. We are currently looking for circular economy solutions that change the world and will be presenting highlights from the results at the WCEFonline event in September. And as Finland was the first country to build and launch a circular economy road map and we want to share what we have learned with the global community, Sitra is compiling a Circular economy concept book featuring inspiration and guidelines for countries that want to build their own circular economy road maps. We will be piloting the content in the book in selected countries. In 2019, we also published a circular economy playbook to help the manufacturing industry transition to circularity.

More information

Media contacts: Samuli Laita, Leading Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi, tel. +358 40 536 8650

Further information on the WCEFonline event

Project lead and partnerships: Mika Sulkinoja, Project Director, Carbon-neutral circular economy, Sitra, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi, tel. +358 50 357 1723

Communications: Tuula Sjöstedt, Communications and Public Affairs Lead, Sitra, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi, tel.+358 50 373 8601

Read more about the World Circular Economy Forum

More information on Finland’s work on the circular economy

Mari Pantsar, Director, Carbon-neutral circular economy, Sitra, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi, tel. +358 294 618 210

Read more about Sitra’s work on the circular economy



The circular economy and the World Circular Economy Forum

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is an active fund for the future. We aim to create a fair and sustainable future, in other words, the next era of well-being. We work with partners to ensure that Finland can lead the way in the transition to a fair and competitive carbon-neutral circular economy – a new society in which our everyday lives and well-being are no longer based on excessive consumption and fossil fuel use.

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) is an annual event that brings together up to 2,000 business leaders, policymakers and experts from around 100 countries to present the world’s best circular economy solutions. The WCEF is a global initiative of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. It examines how businesses can seize new opportunities and gain a competitive advantage through circular economy solutions, and how the circular economy contributes to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The first World Circular Economy Forum was held in Helsinki, Finland in 2017. In October 2018, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan co-hosted the event in Yokohama, Japan. In 2019, WCEF was again held in Helsinki and, in 2021, the event will be held in Canada. This year, the annual event will be replaced by a virtual WCEFonline event.

The circular economy is the new paradigm for business, which aims to achieve economic growth through new sustainable business models. According to research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN), 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.


Tuula Sjöstedt

Lead, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra



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