Finland, Canada, and the Netherlands join forces to advance the circular economy as key to a sustainable recovery

News release

June 25, 2020 - Gatineau, Quebec

The world needs a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Finland has joined forces with Canada and the Netherlands to host three high-level events to address the important role circularity plays in the economies of the future as well as in the fight against climate change and the nature crisis.

Along with their partners, Sitra will showcase the tools and solutions countries need to build well-being and prosperity by hosting three events under the flagship of the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF):

  • WCEFonline on September 29 and 30, 2020
  • A WCEF event on April 15, 2021, in the Netherlands and online
  • WCEF2021 from September 13 to 15, 2021, in Toronto, Canada

The three events will address the choice we face at this critical juncture. We can find our way back to growth by kicking “business as usual” into overdrive—or we can capitalise on a shift that has already started, the shift toward the circular economy, which helps us to thrive in the long term.

WCEFonline will share leading circular economy solutions for building more resilience

The upcoming virtual event WCEFonline will show practical circular economy examples that will help us to seize this unique opportunity to rebuild our economies stronger, greener, and better. Throughout six sessions, WCEFonline will enable the circular community from all over the world to participate in the discussions.

The sessions will provide different lenses through which business leaders and policymakers can assess the risks and opportunities associated with their resource dependence. The key questions will include how the circular economy helps in building more resilient businesses, why sustainable finance is key, and what governments need to focus on now to scale up the circular economy.

The event will include keynotes from Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission; Stientje van Veldhoven, the Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands; the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra, among others.

“To ensure a sustainable recovery, we need to take decisive measures that encourage the transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy that prospers in harmony with nature,” says Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra.

A WCEF event in the Netherlands for decision makers

The Netherlands, also an active member in the Platform for Advancing the Circular Economy (PACE), will organise a multi-stakeholder high-level meeting as part of the World Circular Economy Forum to address the links between the circular economy and climate. It will help to prepare for upcoming international climate negotiations and aim to position the circular economy higher on the COP and broader international agenda. The objective is also to broaden the coalition of the willing, build bridges between the public and private sector, and include more developing countries in the global debate on the benefits of circularity. The event will take place both in the Netherlands and online.

“The Netherlands is very much looking forward to hosting a high-level WCEF meeting on the circular economy and climate change, on April 15, 2021. There is no doubt that the transition to a circular economy is crucial in reaching our climate goals. We need to recognise the large and cost-effective contribution that the circular economy can make in building a more sustainable society, especially in the post-COVID-19 world,” says Stientje van Veldhoven, Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands.

WCEF2021 will address systemic changes needed to accelerate the circular transition

The landmark circular economy event of the year, the World Circular Economy Forum, will be held in Toronto, Canada. This event will mark the first time the annual forum is held in North America. WCEF2021 will build on the previous events to focus on the cross-cutting issues and topics that are central to economic recovery and the circular shift. WCEF2021 will identify the key actions and systemic changes needed to create the conditions for a thriving global circular economy.

“The work to advance the circular economy must continue, and Canada is looking forward to hosting the World Circular Economy Forum in 2021. We will assemble the world’s leading thinkers and innovators on the circular economy to take an in-depth look at opportunities in the North American and global context. This event will showcase the sustainable pathways needed to advance the transition to the circular economy around the world,” says the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

More information

Further information on the WCEFonline event

Media contacts: Samuli Laita, Leading Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra,, tel. +358 40 536 8650

Further information on the WCEF event in the Netherlands

Nicolette Rodenburg, Press Officer for Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands,, tel. +31 (0)6 - 53 20 08 52

Further information on the WCEF2021 in Canada

Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada,,
tel. +1 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Read more about the World Circular Economy Forum.

More information on Finland’s work on the circular economy

Mari Pantsar, Director, Carbon-Neutral Circular Economy, Sitra,,
tel. +358 294 618 210

Read more about the World Circular Economy Forum.

Read more about Sitra’s work on the circular economy.

The circular economy and the World Circular Economy Forum

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is an active fund for the future. We aim to create a fair and sustainable future, in other words, the next era of well-being. We work with partners to ensure that Finland can lead the way in the transition to a fair and competitive carbon-neutral circular economy—a new society in which our everyday lives and well-being are no longer based on excessive consumption and fossil fuel use.

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) is an annual event that brings together up to 2,000 business leaders, policymakers, and experts from around 100 countries to present the world’s best circular economy solutions. WCEF also offers a platform for more focused events and side events, and WCEFonline brings the high-level content available to everyone around the world.

The circular economy is the new paradigm for business, which aims to achieve economic growth through new sustainable business models. According to research from Accenture, the circular economy could generate US$4.5 trillion worth of additional economic output by 2030. The research identifies circular business models that will help decouple economic growth from natural resource consumption while driving greater competitiveness.


Environment and Climate Change Canada informs Canadians about protecting and conserving our natural heritage and ensuring a clean, safe, and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

Global uptake of the circular economy has increased over the past five years, and momentum is growing in Canada. More and more Canadian companies are testing out new circular business models; Canadian universities are conducting research into different pathways to a more circular economy; and policy initiatives are underway at all levels of government, including the Canada-Wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste. Many Canadians are already participating in the circular economy. The Government of Canada is working to support the businesses and communities creating new economic opportunities that keep the value of our resources in the economy and out of the landfill.

The Government of the Netherlands has set the ambitious target of being fully circular by 2050. This requires global collaboration and accelerating the circular economy agenda together with partners. The government is working with industry, civil-society organisations, knowledge institutions and other authorities to achieve a sustainable economy for the future. In this circular economy, there will be no more waste, as resources will be reused again and again. The government-wide Circular Economy programme sets out what we will need to do to achieve a circular Dutch economy by 2050.

In addition to being responsible for the Government’s circular transition, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment and enhancing climate adaptation strategies. The Ministry strives to create an efficient network of roads, railways, waterways and airways, effective water management to protect against flooding, and improved air and water quality.

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