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Key takeaways for the circular economy enthusiasts from the final seminar of Circular Citizens

Text: Angelina Korsunova-Tsaruk

Photo: Mirka Råberg

Did you know that in 2023 the European Commission revised the Circular Economy Monitoring Framework to include the Consumption Footprint indicator, evaluating the fit of EU consumption within planetary boundaries? So, how do consumption patterns need to change to align with Circular Economy?

In the panel discussion of Circular Citizens project’s final seminar on Thu 9.11, we brought together scholars and circular practitioners to reflect on the critical question of how to support societal change holistically

The only way to make this a meaningful discussion was to include a diverse set of stakeholders: from active citizens to circularity-focused NGOs, politicians, businesses, and sustainable consumption scholars.

Here are the key takeaways from a lively panel discussion we had together with Eva Heiskanen, Taru Peltola, Harald Throne-Holst, Mubarik Kassim Rabiu, Elina Larsson, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Timo Huhtamäki, Tuovi Kurttio and Teemu Oinio.

  1. Circular Economy needs a human face and a truly collaborative spirit to make the change happen

  2. Our rhetorics need to change: learning to love, respect and value the things we own (e.g. vintage vs second-hand), the history of their production, the invested labour and to focus on functionality.

  3. Many citizens in Finland are interested in updating their circular skills (e.g. mending textiles), yet free time is limited. Workplaces are a powerful environment for changing societal norms, introducing new practices and updating skills. Could we get organizational leaders on board?

  4. Education is not just information sharing/processing – fun and informal content produced by eco-influencers is a valuable resource that we should integrate to the formal education system.

  5. We need to learn from the best examples Finland already has and explore how to amplify them: the deposit system for recycling bottles, libraries & borrowing of things (not just books), the “Marthas” association promoting home economics, Re-use centers, citizen-led swapping markets

  6. Freeing our imagination and letting ourselves have fun “circular dreams” can lead to creation of innovative services: e.g. the “Wolt” of crafts – deliveries and returns of the shared craft materials to implement circular ideas.

  7. Often we are blind to the societal structures that impede the development of circular businesses: the double taxation of second-hand things, consumer loans made easy for purchasing new things vs recycled products, lack of affordable delivery services for bulky recycled or repaired things, etc.


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