The circular economy is the future-proof version of doing business
Marleena Ahonen is working as a circular economy specialist for the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Sitra has been driving the circular transformation of Finnish society since 2015 and is an active player in the global community.
C.R.E.A.M stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me according to an old-school classic by Wu-Tang Clan. I don’t consider this the whole truth, but money is most definitely a powerful tool for ruling the world. I have always found it truly fascinating, that you could combine doing good with doing business, which is why the circular economy makes all the sense to me.
The circular economy is an economic model of tomorrow, which is key at decoupling the overconsumption of natural resources from economic growth.
The circular economy is an economic model of tomorrow, which is key to decoupling the overconsumption of natural resources from economic growth. Circular economy solutions change the way we produce and consume to optimize the system as a whole and tackle the root causes of biodiversity loss, climate change, and depletion of natural resources.
Instead of doing things the old way by digging up new resources, the circular economy looks into materials that we already have in society and makes new things out of them. In a circular economy, the made item is being kept in their original purpose for as long as possible by classic means of maintenance and repair. Another trick is maximizing the usage rate of products, by selling performance and service instead of selling new stuff. This is how we get the most out of the products that are made and nothing goes to waste.
To ensure this to happen, the operating environment needs to evolve so that it actually gets more profitable to make long-lasting, repairable, and remanufacturable products. What companies get is a steady cash flow from faithful and happy clients using high-quality products as a service. What the planet gets is fewer used resources, less emissions, and less biodiversity loss. Which is basically what everyone is rooting for.
For me, the circular economy is the most inspiring strategy towards a sustainable future and without a doubt, not just a buzzword.
I consider myself a hippie engineer and saving the planet has always been the main driver for me. For me, the circular economy is the most inspiring strategy towards a sustainable future and without a doubt, not just a buzzword. According to Circularity Gap Report 2021 by Circle Economy, the world is currently less than 9 percent circular. But the report also states that already by doubling global circularity, we could reduce climate emissions by a massive 39 percent already by 2032.
According to a 2015 study by McKinsey and Sitra, the Circular Economy has a business potential of 2-3 billion euros annually in Finland by 2030.
Since money is when you get people’s attention and things truly start to happen, lucky us, circularity is also a huge business opportunity. According to a 2015 study by McKinsey and Sitra, the Circular Economy has a business potential of 2-3 billion euros annually in Finland by 2030. On a global level, the estimation is a massive 4,5 trillion-dollar additional economic output by 2030, according to Accenture 2015.
Another example of how cash rules, is the fact that investors are already looking for more carbon-neutral and sustainable options in their portfolios. Biodiversity loss has also manifested itself as a prominent theme. Circular solutions can tick all the boxes. We are on the verge of change, but we need to step on it. As the circular economy combines making money to saving the planet, I truly wish that it will rule everything around me.
Sitra has compiled a list of the “Most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1” for inspiration. Sitra will also publish a new circular economy playbook for Finnish companies later in 2021.