The World Circular Economy Forum is a landmark event of the year that brings together business leaders, policymakers and experts to present the world’s best circular economy solutions.
What is WCEF about?
The WCEF is a global initiative of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. We believe that truly competitive solutions are born when business and the environment go hand in hand. At Sitra, we work with partners to lead the way in the transition to a fair and competitive carbon-neutral circular economy – a new kind of 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 brings together over 4,000 business leaders, policymakers and experts from around the world to present the world’s best circular economy solutions. WCEF 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.
A series of events
The first WCEF was held in Helsinki, Finland in June 2017 with 1,600 participants from nearly 100 countries. In 2018, Sitra took the concept to Yokohama, Japan where more than 1,100 circular economy experts discussed what we need to do to create a true circular economy by 2050. In 2019, the forum returned to Helsinki and with over 2,200 participants, it was a landmark event of the year.
To respond to the restrictions imposed following the global COVID-19 pandemic, we organised a virtual WCEFonline event on 29 and 30 September 2020. WCEFonline addressed how the circular economy can help reboot the economy and shared useful tools and solutions with the world for a sustainable recovery. More than 4,300 participants from 143 countries welcomed the possibility to participate from anywhere around the world.
In future, the annual main event and all WCEF+ events will be available for online participation. Side events can be organised anytime excluding the days when annual WCEF and WCEF+ events are taking place, and they can also be held face-to-face.
The next annual WCEF will be held for the first time in North America in Toronto, Canada on 13-15 September 2021. The forum was postponed from September 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the run-up to WCEF2021, a two-day event WCEF+Climate will be held on 15-16 April 2021 in the Netherlands and online, in addition to side events whose application is now open.
STRUCTURE AND THEMES
The annual WCEF consists of up to 17 plenary and parallel sessions with keynote speeches, thematic discussions and networking opportunities.
Each annual WCEF has a different theme. WCEFonline focused on rebooting the economy with circular solutions. WCEF2019 had a strong emphasis on scaling up the circular economy transition. WCEF2018 painted visions of a circular future the world should strive for and encouraged the world’s leading economies to follow those visions. WCEF2017 identified key elements of a circular economy and showcased solutions and lessons from around the world.
The event concept includes also Side Events and Side Sessions that can be offered alongside the annual WCEF. In addition to WCEFonline, we are currently working on introducing smaller, regional or thematic events throughout the year. This concept is tested for the first time at the WCEF+Climate event in April 2021.
HOSTS AND PARTNERS
The annual WCEFs are hosted by Sitra and organised together with global and local partners. In 2018, the WCEF was co-hosted by Sitra and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. Our partners include organisations such as the European Commission, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Government of Finland, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The partners of each WCEF can be found on the annual forum websites.