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The most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland

“The most interesting companies in the circular economy” is a list compiled by Sitra to showcase Finland’s most inspiring examples of the circular economy. Sitra is using the list as a way to challenge Finnish companies to meet the changing needs of the world.

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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

We are moving towards a circular economy where production and consumption are increasingly based on using services rather than owning things. Companies are changing their operating models and revenue models – the ways we used to make a profit may not always work in future business life. Companies must also update their operations to support climate change mitigation. Luckily, making this change can offer up new business opportunities. Sitra wants to use “The most interesting companies in the circular economy” list to present inspiring examples of the circular economy from Finland and give all Finnish companies the opportunity to be among the first in the world to switch to a circular economy.

The examples on the list have been divided according to different circular economy business models. There are five business models.

  1. Product as a service: providing services instead of products.
  2. Renewability: using renewable and recyclable materials as well as renewable energy in product design and manufacturing.
  3. Sharing platforms: maximising the usage of goods and resources and extending their life cycles by using digital platforms for renting, selling, sharing and reuse, for instance.
  4. Product-life extension: using products according to their original purpose for as long as possible or enabling multiple instances of reuse through means such as maintenance, repair and refurbishment.
  5. 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.

This division provides companies with perspectives on what kinds of business could succeed in the circular economy. New types of operating methods are needed in order to ensure that materials and value stay in circulation for as long as possible with minimal waste. In a circular economy, companies create added value for their products by means of services and smart approaches. The greatest increase in value is generated by the maintenance, reuse and remanufacturing of products, and maximising their usage rates. In the circular economy, innovations and business models are based on maximising products’ performance and customer value during their life cycle instead of merely minimising production costs.

What are we doing?

The list of examples of the most interesting companies compiled by Sitra’s circular economy team has been updated four times. We’re collecting observations on interesting circular economy operating models in conjunction with work in the circular economy focus area. This work will continue until autumn 2019. We’re also gathering tips from the companies themselves.

Evaluation of companies

After an initial review performed by our team, where necessary company representatives have been interviewed in order to gain a more detailed picture of the operating model. Sitra’s team has evaluated the interest level of each company’s operating model from the circular economy perspective based on a set of four criteria.

  • Interestingness: the example is interesting and inspiring from the perspective of the circular economy, its key principles and, in particular, new operating models.
  • Effectiveness: the solution has (the potential for) a significant positive effect from the perspective of the circular economy and environmental impacts (verification is not required).
  • Business: the example is that of a business that has clearly already been promoted or established, not just an idea or a research project.
  • Scalability/repeatability: the example has clear potential for scaling.

The evaluation by Sitra’s team is subjective, and the list does not involve an objective comparison of companies and solutions.

Who participates?

Sitra’s circular economy team is responsible for compiling the list. Deloitte Oy provided consulting services during the company interviews for the updated versions of the list in spring and autumn 2017, and in spring 2019.

Where are we now?

The first list was published in October 2016 and the update in May 2017. Sitra’s aim is to inspire Finnish companies so that the list features 100 companies by the end of 2017. The goal was almost achieved: the number of companies increased to 97 in the second update on December 2017. The third update increased the number to 124 business examples.

BUSINESS EXAMPLES

124 examples to explore.
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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?

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