Circular Economy

A vehicle for de-coupling economic growth from the ecological impact of natural resource consumption and a means to implement the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

2 November 2018

How the circular economy unlocks new revenue streams

Anne van Riel


Research from Accenture suggests the rise of the circular economy will unlock $4.5 trillion in new economic growth by 2030. But for this bounty to be released, businesses, banks and governments must collaborate to encourage and enable a change in mindset to embrace new business and finance models. Just as the first industrial revolution transformed the way we live, work and interact, the transition from a linear to a circular economy presents a similar seismic shift — with immense benefits, and challenges, along the way. 

30 October 2018

Circular Economy Forum Highlights Need for Shared Vision, Leadership

LYNN WAGNER, PH.D. Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD


The second World Circular Economy Forum 2018 (WCEF2018) called for action across all countries and regions, highlighting that a circular economy is good for business, trade and job creation, but the world lacks a shared circular economy vision, and noted an urgent need for stronger leadership and international collaboration.

24 October 2018

Circular Economy Pledges from Japanese & Finnish Ministers


At the 2nd World Circular Economy Forum, held in Yokohama, Japan from 22-24 October this year, Japan’s State Minister of the Environment, Tsukasa Akimoto, pledged that Japan will advance the circular economy when the world’s third biggest economy takes up the presidency of the group of 20 countries (G20) in 2019.


When speaking to the international media at the forum, Finland’s Minister of the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen stressed that Finland’s EU- and Japan’s G20-presidency in 2019 will be a fantastic opportunity to promote the solutions of circular economy and to fight environmental collapse and climate change. On Monday 22 October Japan’s Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada and Minister Tiilikainen signed the Memorandum of Environmental Cooperation, which will pave the way for more intensive cooperation between universities, research institutions and companies.

WCEF 2018 Programme - 22-23 October 2018 - Yokohama, Japan


The Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Sitra are proud to host the 2nd World Circular Economy Forum in Yokohama, Japan on 22-24 October 2018. WCEF will present the world’s best circular economy solutions and will bring together 1,000 key thinkers and doers from around the world. Open the WCEF Programme and follow the forum live on 22-23 October.


The World Economic Forum (WEF), European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) are all driving circular economy initiatives.


WCEF Visions 2050

EU 2018 Circular Economy Package


As part of its continuous effort to transform Europe's economy into a more sustainable one and to implement the ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, in January 2018 the European Commission adopted a new set of measures, including:

Circular Economy for Sustainable Development


The circular economy is a new paradigm for economic development which has significant environmental, economic and social benefits on a global scale. It highlights the notion of replacing the ‘end-of-life’ in current production and consumption practices by reducing, reusing, and recycling products and materials in production, distribution and consumption processes. Promoting circularity aims to accomplish sustainable development, and the circular economy has links to many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United Nations in 2015.


This report has been published by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) as a background contribution requested by the independent group of scientists writing the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019. The GSDR 2019 is the first in a series of comprehensive, in-depth reports that will be produced every four years to inform the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly. The report has been co-authored by Sitra’s Ernesto Hartikainen.


The report seeks to provide a condensed package on the circular economy; the concept, its history, potentials, business opportunities, management and measurement. Some of the key messages entail that moving towards a circular economy presents vast opportunities for businesses of various kind, and that increasing the material circularity of the economy can also be a way to alleviate poverty. Yet, the systemic and disruptive changes required for a circular economy transition will not take place without significant changes to existing regulatory structures.
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