Circular economy is a milestone towards a genuinely sustainable economy


VTT, Helsinki, Finland


VTT launched a roadmap towards a sustainable economy highlighting a route from waste recycling to intelligent asset management and ensuring sufficiency of the crucial resources in future.
According to VTT circular economy is a route towards genuinely sustainable economy in which material, information and value circulate together. Sustainability of operations must be covered by low-carbon energy to avoid excess emissions and thus mitigate the climate change and environmental degradation.
Circular economy creates value when operations are shifted from waste recycling to resource management by smart circulation in or between loops. Materials will be kept in circulation when they will be provided as services. This changes dramatically the structure of the current open-ended economy. VTT’s roadmap to sustainable economy highlights the need for the energy system transition, and emphasises the atmosphere as a raw material reserve of the future.

In the recent years, circular economy has gained attention in political and business world. The threats that climate change and the environmental degradation possess to well-being seems to keep the circular economy on the agenda for years to come. By now many strategies have been published on how to transfer our world into circular one. Globally, many countries agree on the main perspectives - there is a need to re-utilise the assets. Although, the basics for transferring the economy to more sustainable one is clear, the implementation of the strategies is lacking behind.

VTT’s vision roadmap scans the ways to reach a genuinely sustainable economy in which material, information and value circulate together. The paper highlights three visions: loss-resistant loops, mastery of materials and new era of resource sufficiency that together will help to win the future battle of resources and ensure resource sufficiency free of excess emissions. Comprehensive material and chemical compound circulation, value maximisation, energy transition, increasing data accumulation and exploitation form the main thread of these visions.

Global economy will change int ...