Circular Economy Forum Discusses Links with 2030 Agenda
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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Topics included: integrating the circular economy into the 2030 Agenda; innovation challenges for the circular economy; circular cities; economic research on the circular economy; and financing the circular economy.

Key messages from WCEF2017 included calls for public and private actors to mainstream the circular economy into the global economic model and deploy circular economy concepts in the front line of the world’s drive to achieve the SDGs and combat climate change.

7 June 2017: The World Circular Economy Forum 2017 (WCEF2017) brought together experts to consider how the circular economy presents new and unprecedented opportunities to create wealth and support well-being. The Forum also aimed to demonstrate that the circular economy is an essential engine for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event took place from 5-7 June 2017, in Helsinki, Finland, and was attended by approximately 1,500 experts and decision makers in the circular economy field from over 100 countries. Host country Finland presented its experiences with turning the vision of a circular economy into reality and delivering benefits across all sectors of business and society.

WCEF2017 featured 17 plenary and parallel sessions showcasing circular economy solutions for business, cities and finance. Topics included: integrating the circular economy into the 2030 Agenda; innovation challenges for the circular economy; circular cities; economic research on the circular economy; and financing the circular economy.

Nine key messages emerged from WCEF2017. These messages called on public and private actors to, inter alia, mainstream the circular economy into the global economic model, and deploy circular economy concepts to support achievement of the SDGs and combat climate change.

Meetings were held using innovative formats, including a game show, talk shows and “table talks.” Organized networking opportunities included a Marketplace with 24 selected exhibitors, an Opportunities Stage for short pitches, and “lakeside chats.” On the third day of the meeting, participants took part in business excursions and additional side events.

The main organizer of WCEF2017 was Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and the Finnish Ministries of Environment, Foreign Affairs, and Economic Affairs and Employment. Co-organizers included the European Commission (EC), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Koli Forum, the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Forum (WRF).

The Forum coincided with UN World Environment Day (5 June) and with the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. WCEF2017 was presented as “a gift from Finland to the world,” with Finland offering its services as a circular economy pioneer, network builder and broker of knowledge and expertise. [IISD RS coverage of WCEF2017] [Statement by IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan]

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