Bio and Circular
Turning circular economy into a global competitive asset
Our goal is to make Finland a forerunner in the circular economy, offering sustainable solutions to global challenges. Competence in the bio-based economy and digitalization will boost the competitiveness of Finnish companies in the circular economy. By tapping into these and other strengths, Finland can create new value in the use and resource-efficient cycle of products and materials.
EVERY COMPANY CONTRIBUTES TO THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: THE END OF ONE PRODUCT’S LIFE IS THE BEGINNING OF ANOTHER ONE
In the circular economy, materials and values circulate. Products are designed to be highly durable, repairable and recyclable, and they are supplemented with services and intelligence to provide added value. All this means that circular economy is more than the business activity of a few environmental or circular economy companies; instead, it provides an opportunity for any company to reassess its products and values to identify solutions that prolong service life and promote material cycles, and thereby generate new value.
In the future, revenues will be generated increasingly from services instead of products. Consumers, municipalities and businesses will be less interested in ownership. Products with a long lifetime open the door to new types of revenue models. Product recycling, spare part, re-engineering and further processing services, leasing and renting will prolong the life cycle and make everyday life easier. These services will generate new business for forerunner companies. Corporate social responsibility has already become a competitive factor. Consumer awareness is growing, and consumers demand responsible products and solutions. Similarly, investors emphasize responsibility. Relevance and responsibility are becoming an integral part of the brand identity, which contributes significantly to the company's value creation.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ENABLE MAJOR CHANGE
Digital business platforms and ecosystem services allow new methods of collaboration, networking and synergies between companies. The use of data and artificial intelligence offers new opportunities for product and material recycling. New technologies such as robotics, blockchains and cryptocurrencies enable novel material flow management, tracing, exchanging and logistics solutions. New technologies challenge the existing practices and business models, and, in many cases, management and working models.
BACKGROUND FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY THEME
The common goal of the Government Programme of Juha Sipilä, Finnish Roadmap towards Circular Economy prepared under the leadership of the Finnish Innovation Fund (2016), and the Circular Economy Action Plan (2017) is to make Finland the global circular economy trailblazer by 2025. The roadmap towards circular economy and the national action plan include concrete measures for attaining this goal. The roadmap is currently being updated and is due to be completed in autumn 2018. The objective of Business Finland is to support the achievement of the roadmap objective by launching measures under the theme Turning Circular Economy into a Global Competitive Asset. Business Finland wants to generate internationally competitive circular economy solutions, create significant value added to our products, accelerate business growth and internationalization, and share best practices with other countries.
In Business Finland’s future action plan, forerunner position is pursued by focusing on five interconnected key priority areas that are based on Finland’s strengths and estimated potential.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR FINLAND’S KEY INDUSTRIES
The circular economy provides opportunities for Finland's traditional key industries, but also offers vast unexplored potential for entirely new business.
- In the forestry and chemical industry, new bio-based products are expected to be recyclable throughout their entire life cycle. Products that offer global market potential include bioplastics, packaging solutions, biocomposites, and textiles manufactured using cellulose and recycled raw materials.
- In the metal and manufacturing industry, there is a need to boost resource efficiency and material circulation across the chain. More efficient reuse of industrial by-products is imperative. Product designers must pay more attention to reusability. There are new business opportunities available in product design and reuse, and in the repurposing of by-products.
- In the construction and real estate sector, the objective is to achieve more efficient use of the built environment and to extend the life cycle of construction materials. The development of digital tools and the transfer of knowledge across the chain contributes to the circular economy. In addition, the recovery and reuse of construction and demolition waste provides significant potential for new solutions.
- The nutrient cycle provides international market opportunities for products and solutions such as recycled fertilizers, water purification solutions and related bioenergy production.
- In the trade sector, consumer behavior will change, with services and the sharing economy replacing ownership. Consumer choices are driven by personal relevance and social responsibility.
- In the service economy, the circular economy will create completely new earning patterns. Digitalization will give rise to new business models.
BIO AND CIRCULAR FINLAND PROGRAM HAS STARTED
Business Finland has launched the Bio and Circular Finland program which aims to make Finland a forerunner in the circular economy. The circular economy is an opportunity for the industries traditionally important to Finland, but also opens incredible opportunities for a new kind of business.
The expected volume of the four-year program is EUR 300 million, of which the share of Business Finland’s innovation funding is EUR 150 million. In addition, the program will offer internationalisation services and renewing ecosystems that will also attract foreign experts, companies and investors to Finland.
In the preparation of the program, the needs of companies and organisations were explored through interactive workshops and a questionnaire that was open to everyone. The content of the program is still being refined.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY CASE EXAMPLES
Projects and actions related to the circular economy have been pursued for quite some time in a number of Business Finland programs such as BioNets and Cleanweb. Below are some examples of customer results in 2017 and 2018
- Climate crises solution requires new know-how
- More recycling and and business worth billions to the battery section
- Circular economy opens doors to international markets
- UPM is building a new ecosystem for wood-based biomedical solutions
- What kind of role can Finnish agriculture play as a mitigator of climate change?
- Fortum aims for global bioproduct markets by refining agro and woody biomass
- Growth Engine of Plastic Waste refining combines global demand with Finnish supply
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