Competence and training centre for industrial symbiosis in Kemi-Tornio

The Kemi-Tornio region has a well-functioning model for the industrial circular economy. In order for the operating model to spread throughout Finland, Sitra will co-operate with experts and education providers in the region.


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In the Finnish road map to a circular economy, drawn up in 2016, Sitra named the industrial circular economy innovation platform led by Kemin Digipolis Oy as one of the key projects of the road map. The project concerns the establishment of a competence and training centre for industrial symbiosis in Kemi-Tornio. The aim is to spread this regional model for an industrial circular economy throughout Finland by creating a national network of eco-industrial parks to enable greater co-operation. At the same time, the project will boost training and competence in the industrial circular economy nationwide.

What are we doing?

The project specifies the operating model for industrial symbiosis on an operative level and draws up guidelines for launching relevant projects. First, workshops will be held to introduce to other eco-industrial parks how Kemi-Tornio’s industrial circular economy model could be applied elsewhere. The workshops will also examine the observations of the parties involved about what successful measures, challenges and specific obstacles exist in terms of the ability to develop industrial symbioses and the circular economy in Finland. Based on these observations, the operating model will be developed further. At the same time, peer actors in other eco-industrial parks will make their own proposals for improvements and make their expertise available for use.

The project also identifies needs for amendments to the law and incentives for promoting industrial symbiosis. In particular, it responds to the EU Commission’s initiative to identify the interfaces between chemical and product legislation and the circular economy.

Who are involved?

The founding members of and key operators at the centre for the circular economy and the bioeconomy to be established in Kemi are Digipolis, the City of Kemi and Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The network members include Riihimäki’s Circular Economy Village and Fortum Oy; the Smart Chemistry Park in Turku; Kokkola Industrial Park; the Eco3 bioeconomy and circular economy business park in Nokia and Verte Oy; the development company Posintra and the Kilpilahti industrial area of Neste in Porvoo; Prizztech and the Harjavalta area in Pori; Metsäjaanu in Salo; Kemijärven Kehitys Oy and Patokangas bio-industrial park; and the City of Forssa and Envi Grow Park.

Where have we got to so far?

The establishment of the competence centre is a logical continuation of the work carried out by Kemin Digipolis Oy on the promotion of the circular economy. The Digipolis expert team on the industrial circular economy is available for use by the competence and training centre for industrial symbiosis.

The circular economy and the bioeconomy are strategic development areas for Kemi. The town wants to boost the successful circular economy development work that Digipolis has carried out over the past few years and to generate vitality for the city and for the whole of Finland.

Lapland University of Applied Sciences has chosen the development of the circular economy and the bioeconomy as its strategic focus area and, in addition to projects, will invest more than 200,000 euros of strategic development funds annually to establish the centre for the circular economy and the bioeconomy. In addition, the university will invest in research, development and innovation activities and in the development of teaching. A circular economy education module will be launched in 2018.

To date, the project has defined the industrial symbiosis operating model at an operative level and drawn up the first version of guidelines on the launching of industrial symbioses. The 2.0 versions of both of these will be developed in extensive co-operation with the network and cluster members. The joint launch workshop for the eco-industrial parks chosen for the development network was held in March 2018, where the participants agreed on a joint operating model.

By October 2019, the practical workshops will go through the successful measures, challenges and actual obstacles to the development of industrial symbioses and the circular economy in Finland, participant by participant.

The common learning and development process will form a basis for guidelines that all other industrial parks in Finland can also use when developing industrial symbioses and the circular economy in their own areas.

Read more about the circular and bio economy centre from its website.


Nani Pajunen
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions
Jyri Arponen
Director, Industry and Innovation
Tuula Sjöstedt
Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs

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