How to kick start the circular transition? Learnings from Circular Turku

The City of Turku, Sitra and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability are releasing today the report Circular Turku: A blueprint for local governments to kick start the circular economy transition. This publication is a product of the “Circular Turku: Regional collaboration for resource wisdom” (2019-2021) project. With the support of Sitra, Turku and ICLEI are designing  a roadmap to operationalize circularity in the Turku region with the support of regional stakeholders.  

Building on Turku’s carbon neutrality goals, the Circular Turku report showcases how the circular economy can support ambitious climate action through concrete pathways other local governments can replicate.

As the Mayor of Turku Minna Arve puts it “A successful climate policy must include an element of circularity and address both direct and indirect emissions such as those embedded in material and product life cycles.” 

The Circular Turku publication also offers a deep-dive into front-running circular economy practices from the Turku region, including among others an industrial symbiosis project to redesign the chemistry sector, a circular water concept and a procurement project to address the lifecycle impacts of food services. Across good practice examples and case studies, the report provides valuable and practice-oriented insights into the governance model and participation mechanisms needed to make the circular transition happen. 

"Experiences from Turku demonstrate the key role of cross-sectoral and multi-level collaboration in turning the circular economy into a reality and offer replicable tools to implement similar practices across the ICLEI network” says ICLEI’s Secretary General, Gino Van Begin. 

Finally, the report provides an overview of how circular economy principles can be applied to five key sectors: Food value chain and nutrient cycling, energy systems, buildings and construction, transport and logistics and water cycles. For each of these sectors, challenges and opportunities for action are identified as well as the main stakeholders that will need to be engaged in the region. 

The collaborative and innovative community of practice built in Turku is the region’s strongest asset to implement rapid and tangible change. Through the Circular Turku project, the consortium hopes to trigger similar bottom-up approaches to circularity in other local governments around the world.

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