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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Register for online participation at WCEF2023

Anyone can attend the World Circular Economy Forum 2023 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.

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 2023, the Forum will return to Helsinki, Finland, where it all started. WCEF2023 will be co-hosted by Nordic Innovation and Sitra, with international partners. On the way there, numerous WCEF Side Events will take place. Have a look and apply!


Explore the results of previous WCEF events.


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. 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.


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.


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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