Southwest Finland was the first region in Finland that draw up a regional Circular Economy Roadmap. This was in 2017 and now the roadmap is again under update and development.
Southwest Finland is a wide region with total 5 subregions and 27 municipalities. By its population, Southwest Finland is the third biggest region in Finland. This also means that Circular Economy conducted in the region is versatile and vivid.
In a recent article it was stated that there are many fields with a high potential to develop circular economy business forward but there are also obstacles that hinders the development. For example, the work related to the collecting, sorting and upgrading of the reused textile is a brilliant example of the continuum which has progressed in a few years. It has led to the point in where the manufacturing plant of the reused textile is going to be build in the region. The work has required open communication and cooperation between the regional organizations. In addition, the article points out that fields such as building and construction, food chains and nutrient cycles, as well as services developed for public transportation are in the core of the regional circular economy work. (Leskinen, Lahtela, 2020.)
So, development is really happening in the region but the base of it is too slow. The article stated that especially construction sector is still very material intensive and the buildings that are now build are still going to effect on us from 50 years from now. In addition, markets for different circular economy business models are still too narrow in the region but there is a serious need to concentrate e.g. on constantly growing number of elderly people in the region. For this need different circular economy business models focusing on services and sharing platforms could offer an important solution.
The development paths in Circular Economy can be so long that sometimes the original aim and purpose of the work can be lost. But even the smallest steps are taking us forward. Sharing the best practices and concrete examples from all fields will show that there is a potential for a business models. Examples are just needed much more and in every scale.
This is where the REDUCES project will bring some added value for the region. Not only gathering these examples from Southwest Finland but also sharing the examples from five other European regions as well. In addition, TUAS (Turku University of Applied Sciences) is now working on writing a Circular Economy status quo for the region that hopefully will offer a good and updated insight for the other European regions as well. The status quo will be published in June so stay tuned!
Jenni Suominen, REDUCES content manager
Turku University of Applied Sciences
Varsinais-Suomen liitto. 2020. https://www.varsinais-suomi.fi/en/southwest-finland
Leskinen, R. Lahtela, A. 2020. https://www.varsinais-suomi.fi/fi/blogi/itemlist/user/975-riikkaleskinenannilahtela