The process of creating a circular economy strategy together with regional stakeholders.
One of the spearheads of Päijät-Häme region’s RIS3 strategy is circular economy (CE). The largest city in the region, Lahti, also promotes CE in its strategy. Whereas the Finnish national road map towards CE (Sitra 2016) provides outlines for the transition, there was still a need to concretise aims and actions at regional level. It was decided to create a road map, a joint regional CE strategy for the nine municipalities in Päijät-Häme.
The process of creating the road map included intense work with the regional stakeholders to define the common vision, regional aims and concrete actions. This was organized though two workshops, discussions, a request for comments from additional stakeholders through a survey and direct emails. The road map was launched in Oct 2017.
The stakeholders involved in the process included the regional council, other regional and municipal authorities, higher education institutions, a regional development corporation, as well as public and private companies. The process continues through implementation, identification of new opportunities and involvement of new actors.
The process was planned together with the regional council and Lahti University of Applied Sciences, which acts as the coordinator. The implementation was organized through an ERDF project that also provided background information on e.g. regional material flows and CE actors.
A summary of the road map is available in English: http://www.kohtikiertotaloutta.fi/english
The road map is one of the main outcomes of the 2,5 years long ERDF project “Kiertoliike”. The process was organised through a 50% project manager, together with the project partners. Regional authorities with the will to develop CE on strategic level and active stakeholders are keys to success.
Evidence of success
The circular economy road map is a part of the new strategic regional plan and regional development programme for the Päijät-Häme region.
Involving companies in the strategic planning process was challenging. Companies are busy with their daily tasks while long-term regional visions are not their priority. Direct requests for comments were time consuming and resulted only in a few replies.
Potential for learning or transfer
In developing circular economy, regional strategies and action plans are needed to implement EU and national level strategies.
Keys to a successful strategy process in Päijät-Häme were active involvement of the regional council and stakeholders. Utilizing an ERDF project as a tool in strategic development is a useful practice, which has potential to be transferred to other regions as well.
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