Circular economy event at the Embassy of Finland, “Less talk, more action”, 9 October 2019
Finland was the first country in the world to publish a national road map for the circular economy. Against this background, it was an easy decision for the Team Finland in Poland (Embassy and Business Finland) to participate to the Circular Week 2019 held on 7-13 October 2019. Team Finland team organized an event at the Residence of the Ambassador of Finland titled: Circular economy: less talk, more action on 9 October. The main theme of the seminar was plastic and its substitutes.
The event was opened by the Ambassador of Finland to Poland Mr. Juha Ottman, who reminded that Finland’s government program raises the circular economy into the very core of the economic and competitiveness policy. Circular economy and carbon neutrality are also key themes of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the fall of 2019.
Executive Vice-President of VTT, Mr. Jussi Manninen, presented VTT’s report Going beyond of circular economy. According to Mr. Manninen, circular economy provides opportunities for the huge global challenges such as climate change and resource sufficiency. Industrial residues and side streams are not just waste but they can be converted into fuels and chemicals. Even CO₂ emissions can be used in the future as raw material for industries. Finnish companies have embraced the circularity concept. Over 500 Finnish companies contribute to circular economy in various fields that include renewability, recycling, extending the life of a product and sharing platforms.
Financial institutions also think their projects through the lens of sustainable development. Mr. Grzegorz Zieliński, Regional Director of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said in his presentation that 40 % of EBRD’s financing is planned to be green in 2020. To this date, the EBRD has signed € 30 billion in green investments and financed over 1 600 green projects.
Fortum Polska’s Business Development Director Mr. Mariusz Dzikuć explained how Fortum has adopted circular economy in its processes. Fortum’s Klemetsrud waste-to-energy plant in Oslo, Norway takes part in a project, which purpose is to reduce the plant’s CO₂ emissions with carbon capture. The goal is that the plant will capture 90 % of its CO₂ emissions in the coming years.
Vice President at CP Recycling Organizacja Odzysku Opakowań S.A. Dr. Anna Sapota gave an insight to implementing circular economy in Poland from an industry’s perspective. Poland is taking its first steps in advancing circular economy, which includes improving its waste management system and increasing the awareness of consumers of recycling and sustainability.
Finally, four Finnish companies Paptic Oy, Sulapac Oy, Kotkamills Oy and Aqvacomp Oy presented their innovative solutions to replace plastic products. In 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, thus it is becoming extremely important to find sustainable solutions for plastic materials.
The event was finalized with panel discussion on the role of technology and finance in circular economy. The panelists reminded that climate change is the fundamental question of our time and there is no going back. Circular economy is, therefore, not just about the future, it is about the present. Companies are already dealing with the scarcity of resources, hence, there is incentives for them to implement circular solutions. Financial institutions are also more and more focused on the social and ecological aspects of the businesses.
The Embassy and Business Finland would like to thank Polish Circular Hotspot, Institute of Innovation and Responsible Development INNOWO and especially all the great speakers for creating a truly unique event!
The goal of Circular Week is to promote sustainable attitudes and behavior of consumers and producers, support circular business models and establish cooperation between interested parties. Find out more about Circular Week here.