Building up the circular economy
At the centre of the circle
Motiva works in many ways to help build a circular economy, with both the private and public sectors. The circular economy will open up opportunities for growth and new business for many Finnish firms. By producing and spreading information, networking and innovating together, we aim to put Finland right in the centre of the circular economy.
Various industrial symbioses applying circular economy thinking have been launched collaboratively around Finland, using models devised by the Finnish Industrial Symbiosis System (FISS). Led by Motiva, FISS activities are now up and running in 12 provinces with 13 regional projects, involving about 600 businesses in all. As many as 2,500 opportunities for synergies have been identified. Such synergies can help Finnish firms boost both their competitiveness and their export potential.
Embedding sustainability in product design
Sustainability should be considered right from the start of product design processes. To achieve this in practice, actors from along the product chain should co-operate closely throughout the process. Choices of raw materials and component materials are crucial when sustainability is examined throughout product life cycles. In connection with the Habitare housing trade fair in 2016, a seminar held at the fair’s EcoDesign exhibition emphasised that environmental impacts, health, safety, and quality considerations create and add to a product’s non-material value. Experts from the TUORE network, which focuses on product-centred environmental management, were actively involved.
Material efficiency success stories
Opportunities to enhance the material efficiency of production processes can be best revealed through audits carried out according to Motiva’s model. Companies can apply for subsidies to cover 40% of auditing costs, from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Material audits carried out on the premises of Oy Soya Ab, who make tofu products in Tammisaari, identified potential savings amounting to as much as 5% of the company’s annual turnover. The audit assessed the material costs behind production in a new way, and indicated ways to realise practical savings using circular economy thinking.
Similar success stories have been driven by material efficiency audits in all sectors where such audits have been conducted.
Voluntary material efficiency actions
During 2016 a new scheme was launched encouraging voluntary commitments to enhance material efficiency. Through such commitments, businesses, public sector organisations and other actors can together help to promote material efficiency, build the circular economy, and devise new solutions along businesses’ value chains. Motiva has made its own social commitment to promote such voluntary commitments.
Focus areas for 2017
Key issues for 2017 will include the piloting of material efficiency commitments in different sectors, and measures to accelerate the uptake of material efficiency audits. Motiva will continue to promote circular economy thinking in public sector procurements and in industrial symbioses as part of the national CircWaste project. Other hot issues include the need to reduce food waste and to promote sustainable and responsible purchases of foodstuffs. Measures to promote sustainability and innovation in municipalities’ procurements of vehicles and transport services will also be stepped up.