WCEF 2018 aims to further the global circular economy

by Tiffany Paczek
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Finland and Japan are advancing the circular economy together in Asia. The Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, which was named as the number one public-sector circular economy accelerator in the world in the Circulars Awards 2018 in Davos, Switzerland, are co-hosting the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) between 22 and 24 October in Yokohama, Japan. WCEF will present the world’s best circular economy solutions and will bring together key circular economy thinkers and doers from around the world.

The landmark event of the year will examine how businesses can seize new opportunities, gain a competitive advantage through circular economy solutions and how the circular economy contributes to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The WCEF’s co-organisers include the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The first WCEF was organised in Helsinki, Finland in 2017, and this year’s event is the second of its kind and the first WCEF to take place outside Europe. In 2018, the WCEF aims to further circular economy co-operation globally.

“The breakthrough of the circular economy in Asia is extremely important, as a significant amount of global production and consumption takes place in Asia,” says Mari Pantsar, director of Carbon-Neutral Circular Economy at Sitra. “That said, the actualisation of the sustainable economy model is critical for the future of our planet. The circular economy also offers a huge opportunity to create growth and jobs within the planet’s boundaries globally.”

The EU has a crucial role to play in advancing the circular economy globally, and the World Circular Economy Forum works as global accelerator for the circular economy, supporting collaboration between organisations and the public and private sectors.

Masayoshi Kurisu from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan says, “Japan has been establishing its own circular economy strategy for over 20 years, and will publish the fourth version of the strategy soon. The World Circular Economy Forum offers a great platform to deliver the essence of this polished strategy to the world.”

wcef forum

The WCEF looks ahead to the year 2050

The World Circular Economy Forum 2018 will examine the circular economy’s global status in the year 2050, and the impact of international co-operation. Topics that will be discussed at the forum include:

  • economic benefits and social equity of the circular economy
  • energy and climate solutions
  • circular trade
  • future transportation, and
  • circular solutions for reducing marine plastic waste.

The WCEF will also highlight the story of how Japan has become one of the leading circular economy nations in the world.

The WCEF’s themes include laying a foundation for 2019, when Finland is due to hold the presidency of the EU Council (July to December 2019) and when Japan will host the G20 summit.

The WCEF is proud to have some of the world’s top business leaders, policymakers and researchers speaking at the 2018 event. The speakers include:

  • the Japanese Minister of the Environment, Masaharu Nakagawa
  • Finland’s Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment, Kimmo Tiilikainen
  • the former Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira
  • co-chair of the International Resource Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme, Janez Potočnik; and
  • the President of Ishizaka Sangyo, Noriko Ishizaka.

The first World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki, Finland, brought together 1600 participants from nearly 100 countries. More than half of the participants represented businesses.

Read more at www.wcef2018.com and take part in the conversation online on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SitraFund and with hashtag #WCEF2018. The WCEF 2018’s sessions will be live streamed at www.wcef2018.com.

Images of WCEF 2017 © Alexander Zach, supplied by Sitra.

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