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Finnish forerunners in circular economy at the International Green Week Berlin

2019-01-25T09:50:30+00:0025.1.2019|

The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners MTK organises a media seminar on the circular economy at the world’s biggest food industry trade fair in Berlin. Now it will be possible to hear the ideas of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Sulapac, and Altia, who are forerunners in promoting the breakthrough of the circular economy in Finland. There is a great opportunity to hear their thoughts how to put the circular economy in practise.

“Today we no longer need to ask ‘why’ but ‘how’. How to create a circular economy at different levels and how to find a way to a sustainable, low-emission economic system? We in Finland already have a few ideas to share with you,” says Minna Ojanperä, Head of MTK’s Circular Economy Team.

The circular economy is one option to decouple economic growth and environmental degradation from one another. The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra was awarded as the world’s best circular economy actor by the World Economic Forum 2018. It was especially honoured as a leading driver in a public-sector. Sitra started to build a circular economy in Finland by creating the world’s first National Road Map for the Circular Economy 2016-2025. It is an action plan that consists of numerous key and pilot projects. Based on the road map, the Government of Finland and Sitra co-launched a National Action Programme on the Circular Economy in autumn of 2017, which further demonstrates Finland’s commitment.

The world has woken up to the global problem of plastic waste. Top Finnish research on the plastics problem will be presented by Dr Maija Pohjakallio, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. She participated in drafting the Plastics Roadmap for Finland. In the roadmap the working group presents solutions to respond to the plastics challenge and to attract a broad spectrum of stakeholders to take action.

Plastics challenge also applies to the food industry which utilise plastic as a packaging material. Sulapac, a company that has been the subject of international attention with its microplastic-free, biodegradable material, will also arrive in Berlin. Aiming to tackle the accumulation of non-biodegradable plastics, Sulapac has developed an innovative material that responds to consumers’ growing interest to find environmentally friendly products or packaging. Company holds a joint development agreement with one of the world’s largest pulp and paper mill Stora Enso. They are aiming to develop renewable and biodegradable straws to combat the global plastic waste problem. Sulapac, ranked among the 2018 top-100 hottest start-ups in Europe, recently revealed their newest investor, the French luxury brand Chanel.

Another viewpoint to the practical measures in the circular economy is introduced by Altia and Koskenkorva distillery, who were awarded as the Green Company of the Year in the Green Awards 2018. Altia was selected as the winner due to the bio and circular economy achieved at its Koskenkorva distillery in Finland. Koskenkorva distillery uses about 200 million kilos of Finnish barley each year and all parts of grains are fully utilised. The barley husk that would not otherwise be used in the distillery production, is burnt as fuel in the plant’s own bioenergy power plant, which produces steam energy for the distillation process. The Koskenkorva distillery has also been a forerunner in extensive utilisation of agricultural side-streams as part of distillery’s operations.

“MTK is proud to promote these Finnish pioneers, whose innovations offer proven and scalable solutions for cutting emissions globally and at the same time are paving the way for circular economy”, says Minna Ojanperä.

Further information: Minna Ojanperä, Head of Circular Economy Team, MTK, +358 40 671 9536