Developing the CESME Circular Economy toolkit for SME’s as a Pilot action in South Ostrobothnia, Finland
The Finnish CESME partners have started a pilot action to test and further develop the CESME toolkit that aims at assessing, developing and calculating the Circular Economy potentials among SMEs. The pilot project kicked off in August after the external expert was selected to work more closely with the toolkit. The selected expert in the project is the Finnish Technical Research Institute VTT that has already been involved with CESME project during the first phase of the project. In addition, the project partners and the external expert have started up a Pilot Action Group that comprises of local actors from business development. The members of the Pilot Action Group will be the future users of the toolkit. The development and testing will thus be done closely together with local stakeholders.
The first meeting of the Pilot Action Group was held on the 22nd of November 2018. In the meeting the main characters of the toolkit were presented to and discussed with the stakeholders. The aim was also to map out the needs and possible development ideas for the toolkit.  The meeting had altogether 8 participants from 6 different organizations. All of the members have close relations with local SME’s and are eager to use the toolkit on their own work.
In the discussions many of the attendants highlighted that there should be a stronger emphasis on how the new circular economy actions benefit the company specifically (vs. stakeholders, society or environment). Many wished also that these benefits should be illustrated as figures or more specifically cost savings.
In practical terms it was commonly acknowledged that the toolkit should not be too heavy or time-consuming. In best case scenario it should be done together with a facilitator in few hours.  One of the ideas was to develop the toolkit modular so that it could be done in different phases and the company could choose on which phases it wants to focus in more detail.
All in all, the meeting was successful and a lot of good new ideas came up in the discussions. It was also important to hear ideas and needs from the stakeholders that will be the future users of the toolkit. In the next phase the toolkit will be further adjusted according to the comments received from meeting and then presented to the Pilot Action Group again. After that the toolkit will be tested with local SME’s in two workshops together with the pilot action group.
Text: Hanna Meriläinen