Over 1500 Participants From 105 Countries Celebrated Circular Economy in Helsinki

circular economy
“It is our planet first” (Xaver Edelmann, photo © WRF)

Helsinki, 6 June 2017 Over 1500 participants coming from 105 countries participated in our World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) that was organised at the special occasion of Finland’s 100th anniversary by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and hosted by the Finnish government. WRF President Xaver Edelmann received great applause for his statement that “it is not my country first. It is our planet first”. WRF Managing Director Bas de Leeuw moderated a highly dynamic and interactive audience discussion on business models with speakers from Dow, IBM and other business leaders, as well as Leiden University and the World Resources Institute. The two-day event served as a festive appetizer for the World Resources Forum 2017, which will be held in Geneva, October 24-25.

circular economy
Bas de Leeuw Circular Economy Business Models Photo courtesy © Kevin Moss

Overall conclusion of the WCEF was that the business case for Circular Economy does not have to be made. Many countries and businesses are already leading the way. Partnerships with NGO’s, cities and researchers, and good communication with consumers is key. Regulation, leadership and cooperation are key to make the Circular Economy truly inclusive and allow local communities to develop in a sustainable way.

Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be greatly facilitated with programs based on Circular Economy concepts. Circular Economy should be factored in global economic model and mainstream thinking. Regulation and economic instruments such as national road maps and public procurement for advancing the Circular Economy should be used. Society should “stop thinking about waste, and instead make it a valuable resource” and services and products should be made more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable.

The Sustainable Recycling Industries Initiative was showcased as a best practice, with benefits for governments, industries, workers and consumers worldwide, allowing consumers to continue using their electronic devices, knowing that materials are recycled with respect for the environment and labour conditions.

circular economyThe WRF Association Board met also in Helsinki and welcomed new Board members, including former EC Commissioner Janez Potocnik, who is co-chair of UNEP’s International Resource Panel.

The new Head of the IRP Secretariat, Peder Jensen, was welcomed to the Board as well and is expected to continue the succesful cooperation between WRF and IRP which was initiated by his predecessors.

WCEF was organised in the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, by Sitra, with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the Finnish government, the European Commision, the European Environmnet Agency, IISD, Koli-forum, UN Environment, WBCSD and the World Resources Forum, and was the largest gathering on the Circular Economy of this kind ever held. You can find all materials here. Write for more info to info@wrforum.org

circular economy
WRF stand Photo © WRF