Most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1
The list of most interesting companies in the circular economy 2.1 shows you what operating a business in Finland’s circular economy means in practice. With this list of 41 pioneering companies, Sitra wants to encourage Finnish companies to develop smart business in the circular economy.
What is it about?
Compiled by Sitra, the new “The most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1” list presents 41 pioneering companies that offer circular economy solutions to the global sustainability crisis.
The new publication is a follow-up to the tremendously popular “The most interesting companies in the circular economy” list, which Sitra has updated since 2017. During this time, circularity has gone from being a niche initiative from a selection of individual pioneering companies to being a widespread profitable business phenomenon.
“The latest list shows that we’ve taken a great leap in
The circular economy
An economic model which does not focus on producing more and more goods, but in which consumption is based on using services – sharing, renting and recycling – instead of owning. Materials are not destroyed in the end, but are used to make new products over and over again.
Open term page
The circular economy
development in Finland. We have companies and solutions that are at the leading edge, even by international comparison,” says Project Director Kari Herlevi from Sitra.
The updated report includes companies that were featured on the previous list as well as new entrants. Many solutions that were previously in a product development phase have evolved into commercial innovations. The list includes start-ups as well as major corporations on the path towards circularity.
The most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1
Take a closer look
Combi Works takes advantage of factories’ surplus capacity: “We offer factory production as a service”
The circular economy group EcoUp manufactures carbon-neutral thermal insulation and reuses material from demolition: “We help the construction sector in the green transition”
Tamturbo offers compressed air as a service: “We are creating a technological revolution in factories”
3stepIT offers more than just the leasing of laptops: “Up to 98 per cent of devices re-enter circulation”
Clothing rental shop Vaatepuu helps designers as well as consumers: “Shared use reveals whether an item of clothing has been designed to last”
Valtavalo fights the throwaway culture with lighting solutions based on a replaceable light source: “EU legislation finally reflects the message we have been repeating for years”
Emmy makes recycling clothes easy: “It is important that a high-quality product is used as long as possible.”
Fiksuruoka brings surplus food to people’s doorsteps: “The more we grow, the more we reduce food waste”
Lindström provides workwear as a service: “We reduce overconsumption of textiles and save natural resources”
Tori.fi helps Finnish people consume in a responsible manner: “Consumer-to-consumer sales enable people to by exactly what they want second-hand”
ResQ Club redeems surplus food from restaurants and brings it to consumer’s plates: “The service must meet the needs of different markets”
Ecolan recovers ash from power plants: “2021 is a record year for ash fertilisation in Finland”
Infinited Fiber’s technology allows wasted textiles to be reborn: “You can see and feel the transformation in the textile industry”
MM Kotkamills replaces plastics in packaging with paperboard innovation: “We are creating the future for the Finnish forest industry”
Ponsse recycles parts from expensive forest machinery: “Everything began from the needs of our customers”
Material innovation developed by Paptic is used to replace plastic in packaging: “We are manufacturing a material that is as strong as plastic but as easy to recycle as paper”
Spinnova makes textile fibres from pulp: “We are the only company in the world to manufacture textile fibre without harmful chemicals”
Verso Food, a company acquired by Raisio, brings fava beans to our plates: “There is global demand for fava beans grown in Finland”
Woodly produces clear plastic packaging made from wood: “We make achieving sustainability goals possible for large companies”
Vaatelaastari patches the trouser knee in just one moment: “A stain or a hole does not make clothing waste”
Neste’s next step may involve making plastic out of algae and landfill waste: “We are putting a lot of effort into innovation”
Valtra reconditions the old gearboxes of tractors in its Reman programme: “We extend the service life of tractors by up to 30 years”
Globe Hope makes responsible fashion from recycled textiles: “Our business was based on the circular economy before the term had even been invented”
Varusteleka buys used goods and puts them back on sale: “We train our customers to move from being consumers to users”
Betolar replaces cement with a low-emission circular economy option: “We must see side streams as a new source of raw material to replace virgin materials”
Biolan uses by-products from different sectors: “Half of the well-known product Musta Multa is compost mixture”
Gasum produces biogas from waste: “Customers are working hard to find energy solutions to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.”
Honkajoki makes full use of the side streams from the meat industry: “For as long as people eat meat, the by-products must be used”
Orthex increases the use of recycled plastics: “We manufacture plastic products from the plastic packaging collected from consumers”
Soilfood processes fertilisers from industrial side streams: “Processed products turns agricultural fields into carbon sinks”
Whim gathers all modes of transport into one package: “We provide freedom of movement without the trouble of ownership”
Pure Waste manufactures clothes, yarns and fabrics from 100% recycled material: “We take into account the circular economy in all stages, from designing the product to taking the clothes back”
Remeo increases the reuse of waste material generated by the construction industry and the retail sector: “High-quality raw material is a prerequisite for the circular economy”
Durat buys back the furniture it has made from recycled plastic: “We aim at a fully closed loop”
ZenRobotics robots sort waste efficiently: “Artificial intelligence will revolutionise recycling”
Kamupak is a circular takeaway packaging solution based on a digital deposit system: “Single-use packaging is a thing of the past”
Rester is Finland’s first large-scale textile recycling plant: “We want to revolutionise the raw materials of textiles in industry”
Touchpoint makes its workwear suitable for recycling: “Reuse is considered as early as the design stage”
How was the list compiled?
Mitigating the climate crisis and stopping the loss of biodiversity will not wait, which means that well-being can no longer be based solely on the manufacture of new goods and the introduction of new natural resources.
The global transition towards a carbon-neutral circular economy is an opportunity for Finnish companies to expand their business to new markets and to solve the greatest challenges of our time.
Sitra has maintained a list of the most interesting companies in the circular economy since 2017. In that time, the circular economy has transformed from being something that involved a few pioneering individual companies to become widespread profitable business.
In 2021, Sitra was seeking companies to include on the an updated list that:
- are pioneers of circular economy business;
- use circular economy solutions to solve the global sustainability crisis by tackling the climate crisis, halting the loss of biodiversity and preventing the overconsumption of natural resources;
- can grow and scale their business even further.
We were looking for examples of all five circular economy business models.
- Product–as–a–service – provision of services instead of products.
- Renewability – using renewable and recyclable materials as well as renewable energy in product design and manufacturing.
- Sharing platforms – increasing the capacity to use goods and resources and extending their life cycles through digital platforms as a result of renting, selling, sharing and reuse, for instance.
- Product-life extension – using products according to their original purpose for as long as possible or enabling several stages of reuse through maintenance, repair and refurbishment.
- Resource efficiency and recycling – material and energy–efficient solutions, and the collection and reuse of products and raw materials that have reached the end of their life cycle.
In addition, we had a particular interest in how circular economy solutions promote biodiversity.
Applying to be included on the list
Companies were encouraged to apply for inclusion on the list using our online form. The deadline for applications was 16 April.
In addition, anyone was allowed suggest an interesting company and Sitra’s circular economy team also proposed potential solutions for inclusion on the list. Sitra contacted all suggested companies and asked them to submit the application form for assessment.
Evaluation of companies
A panel of experts selected the companies to be included on the list. The panel consisted of circular economy experts from Sitra and its stakeholders. Members of the panel were:
- Marleena Ahonen, Circular economy specialist, Sitra
- Jyri Arponen, Leading circular economy specialist, Sitra
- Jussi Hattula, Director, growth & industrial investments, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd
- Petri Lehtipuu, Senior advisor, Laatukeskus (Excellence Finland)
- Marika Ollaranta, Head of bio and circular Finland program, Business Finland
- Riku Sinervo, Circular economy specialist, Sitra
The expert panel assessed the companies through four criteria.
- Appeal of the circular economy solution – The example should be interesting and inspiring from the perspective of the circular economy, its key principles and, in particular, new operating models.
- Potential for stable business – The example should be a business that has already clearly been promoted or established, and is not just an idea or a research project.
- Impact from the perspective of the circular economy – The solution must have (the potential for) a significant positive effect from the perspective of the circular economy and environmental impacts (verification not required).
- Solution scalability – The example has clear potential for upscaling.
The expert panel’s assessment is subjective, and their goal was not to select the best circular economy businesses in Finland.
Who are involved?
Sitra’s circular economy team was responsible for compiling the list. An expert panel consisting of independent experts on the circular economy and a Sitra representative selected the companies to be included on the list.
Where are we now?
The list of most interesting companies in the circular economy was first published in spring 2017, after which it was updated in autumn 2017 and spring 2019. Following the spring 2019 update, there were 124 companies on the list.
An important and natural continuation to the most interesting companies list was the first circular economy recognition and honorary mentions distributed by Sitra and the Quality Centre to pioneering companies in the circular economy in 2019. The recognitions were also aimed at increasing the importance of the circular economy among companies, highlighting examples of successful companies and encouraging companies to invest in the circular economy.
The list of most interesting companies in the circular economy 2.1 will continue what the previous list started in presenting the most interesting examples of circular economy today.
In the spring and autumn of 2017, and for the update in spring 2019, Deloitte Oy was commissioned to assist with the company interviews.
124 examples to explore.
Update on 4th October 2017: Ecofer Oy has been removed from the list after the company’s operations has been discontinued.
Update 28th December 2017: Grano Oy has been removed from the list because the list became more ambitious.
Update on 6th February 2019: BioGTS has been removed from the list after the company went bankrupt. RealGreen has been removed from the list after the concept has been discontinued.
Success stories of companies
Why and how companies have changed their business models?