The Critical move - Finland's road map to the circular economy 2.0

The road map plots Finland’s route to the circular economy by 2025. Find your role, form your team and make your move towards a wiser economy.

How to create a national circular economy road map?

Sitra has compiled a guide based on what has been learned from Finland’s circular economy road map process. The guide features tools, guidelines and inspiration for countries that want to move towards or are already taking their first steps towards a circular economy.


Finland must ensure its success in a world where our economic competitiveness and well-being can no longer rely on the wasteful use of natural resources.

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The implementation of a circular economy requires reaching four strategic cross-sectoral goals.

Renewal of the foundations of competitiveness and vitality

Our objective is to develop our economy in such a way that, in Finland, circular economy solutions are focused on competitiveness and an economic growth strategy. For Finland, the circular economy could create added value amounting to several billions of euros a year and boost the competitiveness of Finnish companies in the global markets, creating tens of thousands of new jobs. The pursuit of a carbon-neutral circular economy has created the world’s fastest growing market: by 2030, global investments amounting to 90 trillion US dollars would be needed for the targets set in the Paris Agreement to be reached (We Mean Business Coalition, 2016).

Transfer to low-carbon energy

In a circular economy, we still need energy for producing well-being. That energy must be sustainably produced, renewable and low carbon. In addition, it must be possible to promote the efficient use of energy. To enable the development of a circular economy and the limiting of global warming to 1.5 degrees, Finland should consider raising its level of ambition both with its national policy and with the European Union’s climate and energy policy.

Natural resources are regarded as scarcities

The processing of natural resources and materials and the manufacture of products generate a major part of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Finnish consumption and production habits can no longer be based on the limitless use of natural resources, and a circular economy is needed for reaching a sustainable level and the climate targets set by the Paris Agreement. Key measures include returning materials to the cycle again and again, the material efficiency of products and the adoption of circular economy business models. The circular economy also plays a central role when solving challenges related to the scarcity of natural resources, such as the sufficiency of earth metals. The use and processing of natural resources and the manufacture of products have environmental impacts in different countries and continents. Finland should pay attention to where in the world making investments would reduce the harmful environmental impacts of industrial production the most.

Everyday decisions working as a driving force for change

The economic game will not proceed to the next level, the level required by the circular economy, without the everyday choices made by all of us. Almost 70 per cent of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions are related to housing, transportation and food. At the present rate, the Finnish way of life would require natural resources of almost four planet Earths. By taking advantage of the existing sustainable solutions, we could cut our everyday emissions by up to 37 per cent, when we use the emissions level of 2010 as the point of comparison. This could be easily implemented without too many people feeling that they need to give up something – they would rather feel like they are gaining new benefits in their everyday lives. By 2030, we should strive to cut our carbon footprint in half from the level of 2010, as also proposed in the Government Report on Medium-term Climate Change Plan (2017) (link in Finnish). This requires that we adopt a new kind of approach to ownership, in terms of culture, taxation and income distribution. Everybody should have the opportunity not to own things.


We need new way to play the game of economics as well as new key players. Choose your role!

Central government

Central government works across silos in the circular economy


Municipalities enable the important moves in the circular economy


New business models play a key role in enterprises’ strategies


Citizens’ choises make the foundation of a circular economy


These moves will take Finland to the next level in the circular economy. Find an action you can take! Or get inspired and create your own action!

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These circular economy actions are also needed in Finland


Getting points? Read about how to measure progress in the circular economy.


How are we progressing?


Download the summary of the Finnish road map to a circular economy 2.0 here (pdf).

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Authors: Laura Järvinen, Riku Sinervo, Samuli Laita and Marika Määttä (Deloitte)
Editors: Samuli Laita and Noora Lindroos
Screenplay: Noora Lindroos and Topias Dean
Design: Topias Dean
Animation: Topias Dean
Layout: Noora Lindroos
Support of editors: The Circular Economy team of Sitra and project leader Kari Herlevi
Sitra gathered 350 ideas and comments from the stakeholders, organized six events for the stakeholders and interviewed 25 specialists from different sectors for the publication.

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