Join the circular economy celebration! - Our new policy brief is published

Vesa-Matti Väärä

The Finnish Academy’s Strategic Research Council-funded CICAT-2025 Circular Economy Catalysts: From Innovation to Business Ecosystems – research project has published its policy brief on circular economy agency (pdf) on Friday 25.9.2020. The consortium-based research project CICAT2025 combines several Finnish universities with the aim of facilitating and accelerating the transition from linear to circular economy. The project supports Finland’s strategic objective to become a global leader in circular economy by 2025.

The policy recommendation is an invitation for everyone to accelerate the transition toward circular economy.

“There is a need for a rapid shift from a linear economy toward a sustainable circular economy in order to fulfil the goals of Carbon-neutral Finland 2035 and the European Union’s Green Deal, and thus, enable an ecologically sustainable tomorrow. The time for outsourcing the responsibility for a sustainable future has run out. We need to act urgently,” observes Professor Satu Teerikangas, who heads the CICAT2025 work package on ecosystems & agency.

The policy brief is based on an integrative interdisciplinary literature review of sustainability agency as well as 68 interviews with managers from pioneering companies engaged in circular economy and specialists representing ministries, towns, central associations, as well as research, development and support organizations.

“In order to reach the goals set for circular economy, there is a need for agency. Circular economy agency means that individuals and organizations, throughout society, engage actively in the transition toward circular economy,” continues Professor Satu Teerikangas.

The agency of public organizations, associations and businesses creates the conditions for the transition toward circular economy bearing long-term impacts on the direction and pace of the resulting systemic change. At the same time, as individuals, we influence the transition toward circular economy via the daily choices we make in our private and professional roles.

“As organizations and societies consist of individuals, different levels of circular economy agency are therefore interlinked. A systemic change means that changes are simultaneous and closely interlinked at individual, organizational and societal levels. Our daily habits and routines thus bear an effect on the transition toward circular economy at the societal level, and vice versa.”

In order to accelerate the transition toward circular economy via agency, the policy brief presents six recommendations for decision-makers in the Government, municipalities, central organizations, companies and the third sector:

  1. Support for the public and private sectors in transitioning toward circular economy
  2. Establishing an accelerator-organization to speed up the transition toward circular transition
  3. Normalising a circular economy-based lifestyle
  4. Lifelong learning as regards active sustainability agency
  5. Providing a helpline for anyone seeking solutions for the circular economy
  6. Communicating the circular economy in an invigorating way

This is an invitation for you to join us in the circular economy celebration! Keep us posted about your achievements!

Contact details:

Professor Satu Teerikangas, Management & Organization, School of Economics, University of Turku
Honorary Professor, School of Construction & Project Management, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London mob. +358-40-706 5985,, @satuteerikangas

Read the policy brief here (pdf).

Policy brief has been made by:

Prof. Satu Teerikangas, University of Turku
Agency team: Katariina Koistinen, Mira Valkjärvi, Larissa Niemi & Antero Hirvensalo (UTU) and Tiina Onkila & Marileena Mäkelä (JYU)
Policy breaf team: Prof. Hanna Lehtimäki (UEF), Sara Malve-Ahltroth (Turku UAS) & Jani Ikonen (illustration)