Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku studied the current situation of the circular economy in the Turku region. About 700 different circular operators were recognised in the Turku region. 270 of these actors are companies that are prominent in the circular economy or partners of public operators. Second biggest number of circular operators can be found in research and education. The feasibility study on the circular economy was commissioned by the City of Turku.

In the circular economy, the consumption is based on the use, sharing, leasing and recycling of services rather than in the ownership. The key objective is to save natural resources and to keep materials and their value in the circulation as long as possible. The circular economy strengthens the region's own value chains and improves the local business opportunities.

There is a Lot of Potential in the Turku Region to Forward the Circular Economy

All the main industrial fields of the Turku region have great potential to advance the circular economy significantly. They include the bioeconomy, ICT, marine and metal industries, construction industry, logistics and creative industries.

There is a considerable amount of activities which forward the circular economy in the Turku region. The City of Turku with its strategic entities, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Service Centre for Sustainable Development and Energy of Southwest Finland, and the Universities of the Turku region actively advance the circular economy. Turku Science Park Ltd operates through its CleanTurku team in innovation co-creation with local corporations thus advancing industrial symbiosis. The University of Turku and the Swedish speaking university in Turku, Åbo Akademi, provide research knowledge about circular economy. Turku University of Applied Science has a strong standing in creating business modes for the circular economy and in cooperating with local companies. Larger corporations in the Turku region have been aware of circularity and are active in creating solutions for the circular economy. Smaller companies are involved in the circular operations, for example through subcontracting.

In the study, around 700 different circular operators were identified in the Turku region. The most notable group of these are companies. 270 of them are engaged in the activities of the circular economy or are partners of the public operators. About 150 operators were found in research and training. Other operators include, for example, the projects of circular economy, networks, divisions of public administration, representatives of the personnel and company employees.

- The study revealed a broad and diverse ecosystem of circular economy operators in the Turku region. It was mind broadening to see how the consumption of resources and the amount of wastage and waste can be reduced in many different contexts with solutions based on the principals of circular economy, explains Researcher Essi Silvonen, the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku.

Despite the diversity of actors involved, each thematic sector identified by ICLEI and examined in the study has its own challenges in addition to its possibilities for developing the circular economy. Therefore, it is important to identify not only the top areas of expertise in the field, but also the areas where we need to invest heavily in the coming years in order to achieve the goals of resource wisdom, and in order to strengthen the circular economy in the Turku region.

The Goals of Resource Wisdom of the City of Turku are Being Accelerated Through International Cooperation

A resource-wise city is waste-free, emission-free and uses natural resources in a sustainable way. The ambitious climate goals of the City of Turku also forward the circular economy. The City of Turku has as a goal to be carbon neutral by 2029 and a waste-free sustainable city by 2040.

The City of Turku and the developing organisations of the circular economy in the Turku region prepare a new roadmap to promote the resource wisdom and the circular economy together with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). ICLEI is a global organization of more than 1500 cities forwarding the sustainable development of the municipalities and regions.

- The study created an excellent basis for preparing the roadmap towards resource wisdom and new solutions for circular economy. There are also several examples of circular economy like the wastewater treatment, for example. The wastewater treatment plant of Kakola improves considerable the state in the Archipelago Sea. Furthermore, it produces more than ten times more energy than it consumes. The heat of the wastewater is used for district heating and/or cooling, and biogas is produced of the remaining sludge in the plant of Gasum, says Development Manager Risto Veivo of the City of Turku.

ICLEI invests in the global development of the circular economy by initiating a new key area (Circular Development Pathway). 12 cities which have advanced in the solutions of the circular economy were invited to participate in the development procedure. One of the invited cities is the City of Turku. The 12 cities form together a coalition, Green Circular Cities Coalition (GCCC), which begun its activity in Shenzhen in China in the end of August 2019.

Download the research publication in the publication database of the University of Turku in the following address