The establishment of a centre of expertise and training for industrial symbioses in Kemi-Tornio

In order to spread the Kemi-Tornio region’s industrial circular economy operating models throughout Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra wants to cooperate with experts and training providers in the region. Funding by Sitra, and cooperation with the City of Kemi, will promote industrial circular economy training and expertise nationwide.

Finland is a forerunner in the circular economy. The world urgently needs pioneering solutions on how not to base the growth of the economy and well-being any more on wasteful use of natural resources. By developing the best solutions for the carbon-neutral circular economy, Finland can be among the first countries to create sustainable well-being and success in a new way in the next 5–10 years. Last year, under the leadership of Sitra, Finland was the first country in the world to draw up a national roadmap for the circular economy action programme, whose goal was to create a common vision for society to promote circular economy and to define the most effective means for achieving the vision. The next step is a project to set up a centre of expertise and training for industrial symbioses in Kemi-Tornio.

The aim of the project is to describe the model for industrial symbioses at the operational level and to develop guidelines for the launch of industrial symbioses, to organise open workshops to present the implementation of the operational models, and to identify the necessary legislative changes and incentives to promote industrial symbioses (in particular, the EU Commission's initiative to identify the interfaces of waste and product legislation and the circular economy). The founders and core actors of the Circular and Bio Economy Centre, to be established in Kemi, are Digipolis, the City of Kemi and Lapland University of Applied Sciences. 

The establishment of the centre of expertise is a logical continuation of Digipolis work in promoting the circular economy. The expert team of Digipolis industrial circular economy is available to the Centre. The City of Kemi wants to accelerate Kemin Digipolis Oy successful development of the circular economy of recent years, as well as the creation of the city’s and even the nation’s vitality. Lapland University of Applied Sciences has chosen the development of circular and bio economy as a strategic focus area and, in addition to projects, will invest more than EUR 200,000 of strategic development funding annually to establish the Circular Economy Centre. Furthermore, the University of Applied Sciences will invest about EUR 400,000 in research, development and innovation activities as well as in the development of teaching over the next two years. The training module for circular economy will begin in 2018.

So far, the project has described the operating model for industrial symbioses at the operational level, and the first version of the guidelines for launching industrial symbioses has been prepared. In the future, both of the above-mentioned documents will be updated in broad network and cluster collaboration to each one’s respective version 2.0. In March 2018, a kick-off workshop was held for the roughly 10 eco-industrial parks selected in the developer network, where a common operating model will be agreed upon and committed to. By October 2019, every eco-industrial park participating in the network work will have been at the focus of a joint development workshop. Guideline documents will be produced based on the joint learning and development process that other industrial parks in Finland can utilise in order to develop industrial symbiosis and circular economy in their area. The practical workshops will cover the successful actions, challenges and direct obstacles in developing the development of industrial symbiosis and circular economy in Finland.

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