Transitions to a circular economy

The third UBC TALKS webinar of the year 2021 was arranged on 28 September 2021 with the title “Transitions to a circular economy”. The webinar focused on sharing experiences and examples from different UBC Cities and brought examples from Malmö, Lahti, Riga and Turku.

The the moderator of the event was Per-Arne Nilsson from the city of Malmö, the co-chair of the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission. He introduced the topic of circular economies and explained how the UBC SCC addresses resource efficiency in its activities. The introduction was followed by presentations from 3 cities.

Representing the city of Lahti was Satu Virtanen with the presentation ““Lahti puts circular economy into practice” European Green Capital 2021”. The presentation provided an overview of how Lahti was chosen as the Green Capital of 2021 and how the city aims to improve their resource efficiency in the future.

Ieva Kalnina from the city of Riga discussed circular construction in her presentation “URGE Circular building cities”. She explained that URGE is an Action Planning network where nine cities support and inspire each other in the transition to circular construction. In the presentation the current implementations of the Action Plan in Riga were highlighted as well as the next steps that will be taken on the matter.

The last speaker of the webinar was Niina Ruuska from the city of Turku with the presentation “Kick-starting the circular economy transition – case Turku”. The city of Turku aims to become carbon-neutral by 2029 and resource-wise by 2040 and in the presentation, it was emphasized that these goals can only be achieved by strong cooperation with the different actors in the region.

To close the event there was a questions and answers session where the speakers were able to answer questions from the audience and discuss the theme of circular economy from different angles. Topics such as roadmaps to circular economy, future key areas for development on resource efficiency and possible barriers for transitioning were discussed. All speakers agreed that despite the great efforts their cities have already made, the work is not done yet. The transition from a linear economy to a circular one needs to happen quickly, but in many cases, it still requires a change of mindset and the costs need to come down to make it more accessible.

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