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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.

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EVENTS

Have a look at the past and upcoming WCEF events.

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WCEF2024: Europe urgently needs a circular single market to safeguard economic security

WCEF World Circular Economy Forum
Questions and answers

Why we visited the year 2027 prior to WCEF2024?

WCEF World Circular Economy Forum
List

10 burning questions on materials demand in the green transition

A collage-like illustration of oil pumps and the money around them burning. The fire is put out by Manneke's Pisin Urtsa. There is a lot more money in front of the WCEF logo and the globe than there is around the oil pumps.
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From COP28 to a circular world: Investments need to focus on the circular economy alongside renewables

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Critical materials management and investment are in focus at leading circular economy event

several famous buildings and monuments from Brussels assembled above the WCEF2024 logo
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WCEF2024 hits Brussels on 15–18 April to turn circular visions into actions

circular solutions for nature
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Circular solutions tackle biodiversity loss and unlock business growth – see Europe’s top 30 list

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Digital product passports – a tool for sustainable growth

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Call for applications

WCEF Side Events in 2024

View WCEF2024 recordings

Recordings of the main event sessions are available online, free of charge. Join us!

What is WCEF about?

The World Circular Economy Forum creates a new economy, businesses and jobs, leveraging circular solutions to solve the planetary crisis. The 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.

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.

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 event in 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.

Year 2021 presented two big WCEF events. A two-day event WCEF+Climate was held on 15-16 April 2021 in the Netherlands and online, and more than 2,300 participants from 120 countries joined to discuss the crucial role of a circular economy in achieving climate neutrality. The annual main event WCEF2021 was held for the first time in North America in Toronto, Canada on 13-15 September 2021, gathering 4,000 participants from 134 countries plus almost 30,000 participants in partner-led accelerator sessions and WCEF Studios around the world. The forum was postponed from September 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WCEF2022 was held for the first time on the African continent and in the Global South, in Kigali, Rwanda and online on 6-8 December 2022. With more than 4,000 participants from 149 countries joining online, in person at the main event and in Studios across Africa and the globe, plus the thousands participating in the partner-led accelerator sessions, the event highlighted the importance of African inclusion in the circular economy transition.

WCEF2023 was held in Helsinki, Finland on 30 May – 2 June. The Forum was co-hosted by Nordic Innovation and Sitra, with international partners. Nearly 1,900 people from 155 countries participated on 30-31 May in person, and the 6 Studios gathered over 700 participants. The main event sessions have gathered more than 12,600 online views. In addition, 41 partner-led Accelerator Sessions occured on 1-2 June, with more than 5,000 registrants.

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. In addition, WCEF Side Events can be organised throughout the year.

In 2024, the forum was held in Brussels, Belgium. WCEF2024 was produced by Circle Economy Foundation, International Resource Panel and Sitra, with global partners. 

The next Forum will be held in São Paulo, Brazil from 13 to 14 May 2025. It will be the first time the forum enters Latin America, where the climate and biodiversity negotiations between 2024 and 2025 will also take place, offering an opportunity to strengthen global collaboration and get businesses onboard to build a circular economy future.

The WCEF2025 will be hosted jointly by the Federation of the Industries of the state of São Paulo (FIESP), the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the initiator of the forum.

On the way there, numerous WCEF Side Events will take place. Have a look and apply!

PREVIOUS FORUMS

Explore the results of previous WCEF events.

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WCEF2023 Summary Report is here!

WCEF2023 logo, an eagle holding a briefcase with money flying
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Leading multilateral development banks tighten their collaboration to accelerate the circular economy

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Apply metrics and regulation to scale up circular solutions

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Engage the youth and regenerate nature – strong messages from the World Circular Economy Forum

european green deal 2.0
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Sitra’s proposal to the next European Commission: put nature at the heart of decision-making and continue the European Green Deal

articles

With the right tools Africa will drive the circular transition

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Friends and money: what we need for the circular transition

Globe and the map of Africa, with the WCEF2022 logo.
Picks

African Studios will bring WCEF2022 to Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia!

Landscape with hills, buildings, animals, balloons, circles and the text "Inspiring circular economy solutions and the map of the world with Africa in the middle
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Get motivated from Africa’s innovative circular solutions

Hand holding a magnifying glass surrounded by Sustainable Development Goals, looking at WCEF Side Event stamp
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Review: WCEF Side Events through an SDG lens

Puhelin, jonka näytöllä Time-lehden Suomen kiertotalouskehitystä käsittelevä juttu
Picks

TIME magazine covers Finland’s efforts to move towards a circular economy

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publications

WCEF2021 summary report

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema and maple leaves.
Discussion

Elizabeth Mrema talks to us straight about circularity and biodiversity loss

Jyrki Katainen, Krista Mikkonen, Mark Cutifani, Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta and Inger Andersen, in the background maple leaves and the WCEF2021 logo
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Circular solutions can help solve the biodiversity crisis

Hand holding a maple leaf with the WCEF2021 logo in the background
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Circular economy raises hope and gives opportunities in an era of crises

Picture of the cover of eMagazine inside a laptop.
Picks

WCEF+Climate eMagazine: Let’s make the circular shift together

WCEF plus climate
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WCEF+Climate

Thursday – Friday, Apr 15 – Apr 16
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projects

WCEFonline

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WCEFonline Summary

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World Circular Economy Forum 2019

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World Circular Economy Forum 2018

projects

World Circular Economy Forum 2017

Cover page for the WCEF2019 summary with birch leaves, a robin and the WCEF2019 logo.
publications

WCEF2019 summary

publications

World Circular Economy Forum 2018 Report

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WCEF Visions 2050

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10 key takeaways from WCEF2017

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. WCEF2024 focused on how to get from visions to actions. WCEF2023 presented circular solutions for nature and the economy. WCEF2022 looked at the circular economy from Africa to the world. WCEF2021 focused on the system level changes, or “game changers”, needed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. In 2020, 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, smaller, regional or thematic WCEF+ events can be organised throughout the year. This concept was 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. Alongside ministries, our partners include organisations such as the European Commission, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Governments of Finland and the Netherlands, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

We collaborate with Circle Economy Foundation, the International Resource Panel (IRP) hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The partners of each WCEF can be found on the annual forum websites.

QUESTIONS?

Want to know more about the forum? Interested in organising an annual WCEF or a related regional or thematic event in the future? Please contact us at contactus.wcef@sitra.fi.

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Kari Herlevi
Project Director, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions
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Mika Sulkinoja
Senior Lead, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions
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Kirsi Pönni
Specialist, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions
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Tuula Sjöstedt
Communications and Public Affairs Lead
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Reetta Kohonen
Specialist, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions
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Iida Pyykkö
Project Coordinator, Sustainability solutions
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Anu Mänty
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions
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Samuli Laita
Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs
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Vilma Kujala
Project Coordinator, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions
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Emma Sairanen
Project Coordinator, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions

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