Experimenting and public procurement among the priorities in the Action Plan for a Circular Economy

Press release 2017-12-01 at 11:23

Press release by the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government aims to develop Finland into a pioneer of the bioeconomy, circular economy and cleantech sectors. The priorities of the action plan are sustainable and innovative public procurement, platforms for experimenting with and testing the circular economy, new product and service innovations, and support for investments. The new action plan presents concrete measures prepared by the Government of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra to promote the circular economy.

The Action Plan for a Circular Economy was drawn up by the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. It is a follow-on to the circular economy roadmap published in 2016.

“The circular economy helps the economy and our wellbeing grow by prompting us to use our limited natural resources in more sustainable ways and avoid overconsuming. At the same time we will be able to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of production and consumption,” says Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen. Minister Tiilikainen presents the action plan today at Slush.

“The Finnish Government promotes the circular economy also by way of legislation and provides private and public operators incentives to boldly reform their operations,” Tiilikainen says.

“Reducing food loss and creating sustainable food chains are also essential for the circular economy, and the Government work to promote even these,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.

Centre of excellence and an accelerator for public procurement

In Finland, the value of public procurement is over EUR 30 billion annually. The ministries will establish an extensive network-based centre of excellence for sustainable and innovative public procurement in spring 2018. Its purpose will be to increase the ambition and know-how of various actors and improve the effectiveness of procurement. The network can, for example, increase awareness of circular economy solutions and facilitate their market access.

Sitra and the Finnish Environment Institute will launch an accelerator for public procurement to promote ambitious public procurement by local governments in the years to come. It will speed up the realisation and implementation of low-carbon circular economy solutions through public procurement and reinforce a public procurement culture and decision-making that facilitate the progress.

“The accelerator’s aim is that local governments execute one or two extensive joint procurements on circular economy solutions that will be ambitious even on an international scale. Sitra is prepared to lend its expertise to the local governments preparing circular economy procurements and provide co-financing,” says Project Director Kari Herlevi from Sitra.

New financing opportunities

Revising companies’ business models and building growth opportunities, the circular economy is a new way of acting, together with others. This will be accelerated by way of a new investment aid for the circular economy and the financial instruments of the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (TEKES).

Sitra will be offering considerable financing, amounting to millions of euros, to prompt non-profit and public operators, research institutes, companies and their consortiums to search for bold new ideas and new ways of collaboration. The goal is to find and test new circular economy solutions. The first round of funding applications will focus on transport solutions, synthetic biology, and wood and crop products with a high added value.

Finland will create open environments for innovation and experiment where data and real-life operating environments are available to commercial operators. A good example is the Mobility as a service (MAAS) solutions in the Greater Helsinki area. VTT’s Bioruukki is an internationally unique ecosystem where companies and research organisations can develop their ideas towards industrial scale and exports.

Inquiries:

Jarmo Muurman, Senior Environmental Advisor, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 525 0185, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Sari Tasa, Project Manager, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8242, firstname.lastname@tem.fi

Anne Vehviläinen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 295 162 236, firstname.lastname@mmm.fi

Kari Herlevi, Project Director for circular economy, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, tel. +358 50 463 9397, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi