The 5th REDUCES regional stakeholder meeting was held in Turku, Southwest Finland on 26th of January. Due to the COVID19 situation, it was again organized as an online meeting in Teams. Total of 3 representatives from the main policy instrument owner organisation Regional Council of SW Finland, as well as the representative from Valonia attended the meeting. The action plan work is regionally now starting in full speed and stronger focus on the lessons learned from other regions needs to be in the core.    

In the beginning of the meeting Project manager Jenni Suominen presented REDUCES status update and the main findings that could be implemented in SW Finland region. It is obvious that almost all REDUCES regions has strong interest towards circular economy urban development and construction. In SW Finland this topic has become even more important and e.g. Valonia is actively forwarding this topic together with companies. In addition, the latest developments of the good practise work were also presented and the main findings from the previous Interregional meeting in Bulgaria.

Turku UAS has also done an impact assessment about the ERDF funded circular economy projects requested by the policy owner. Project advisor Essi Hillgren presented the main results of the assessment and additional interviews conducted. Main findings from the impact assessment was that ERDF projects are good way to start development process, especially together with local companies. Main outcomes ja results from the projects have been pilots, training materials, networking activities and new development project ideas. ERDF offers possibilities to start development processes and pilot new methods, calculations and new way to start business. Based on interviews, there is lack of knowledge how to evaluate long term impacts from the projects.

Based on the lessons learned, Turku UAS with strong support of the policy owner and relevant stakeholders (e.g. development organisations, companies, HEI’s) will carry out two preliminary actions in the regions. The first one will focus on developing and testing an impact assessment tool/matrix for regional ERDF funded circular economy projects in the upcoming call. The tool will give a solution for better tracking down the effectiveness of actions carried out in the projects and provide additional information for the project coordinators but also for the funder.

The second action is a project proposal that promotes the circular economy urban development, especially in the construction sector and it will closely pay attention to the social aspects. It was stated that this topic is in the core of many regions, but it’s also notable that the social effect is many times not in the core of circular economy development. In addition, the provincial programme of SW Finland region is under development and similar topics are in core that supports the importance of the proposed action.

The aim is to finalize the action plan development in the end of June. In between close cooperation is needed with the relevant stakeholders and additional stakeholder meetings throughout the SW Finland will be organized. The spring season is going to be a very busy one, but also a fruitful because a lot of smaller and bigger development in the field of Circular Economy is happening.

Jenni Suominen
Turku Universiy of Applied Sciences
[email protected]