RESOURCE WISDOM

The decrease in natural resources, population growth and climate change is forcing global societies to become more efficient and cut emissions. Wiser use of resources is now an asset in international competition.

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Resource-wise regions help local residents, the economy and the environment to flourish

Resource depletion, population growth and climate change will force nations across the world to improve their efficiency and reduce emissions. The circular economy, energy efficiency and co-operation between companies to reduce raw material consumption will become everyday phenomena. Wise use of resources is rapidly becoming an international competitive edge.

In the 2013-2015 joint project Towards Resource Wisdom, Sitra and the City of Jyväskylä developed an operating model through which cities and municipalities can promote the wise use of natural resources and create the preconditions for sustainable well-being and success. The operating model was piloted in Forssa, Lappeenranta and Turku in spring 2015, by drawing up a resource wisdom road map for each city.

From June 2015, the joint Network of Finnish Sustainable Cities and Municipalities (or the FISU Network) – whose initial members are Forssa, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta and Turku – will continue these resource wisdom efforts. Other municipalities can join the network in the future (read more about FISU).

Cities and municipalities can use the resource wisdom operating model to strengthen their regional economies and enhance employment, to create new business opportunities for local companies, and to enhance the well-being of local residents. In accordance with a study commissioned by Sitra, taking nine resource-wise steps in the Jyväskylä region would bring 100 million euros a year in added value to the local economy and create some 1,000 new jobs. It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 500,000 tonnes a year. As the numbers grow and cover an increasing range of activities, the positive impacts on the economy and environment should intensify.

In a resource-wise area, residents can make their town a more desirable place to live by making their local environment more sustainable at grass-roots level. As part of the joint project by Sitra and the City of Jyväskylä, a range of practical trials proposed by local residents and pilots related to activities such as the reduction of food waste, traffic and housing were implemented. In resource-wise regions, companies can find opportunities to test and develop new solutions subject to rising demand on global markets in particular.

Municipalities target carbon neutrality and zero waste

Member cities and municipalities in the FISU Network intend to make all activities in their region carbon neutral and waste free, while bringing their use of natural resources within the earth’s carrying capacity by 2050 at the latest. Four indicators are used on a regular basis to evaluate the region’s development steps towards resource wisdom: 1) carbon footprint; 2) ecological footprint; 3) material loss; and 4) the perceived well-being of city residents. The FISU Network service centre will provide expert assistance to municipalities in calculating these indicators.

During the Towards Resource Wisdom project, methods were also developed for describing regional resource flows and planning the sustainable use of natural resources: regional resource flows model (in Finnish).

Read more about the project and its outcomes: Finnish cities engage residents in sustainable development

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