University of Oulu

Hosseinian, A.; Ylä-Mella, J.; Pongrácz, E. Current Status of Circular Economy Research in Finland. Resources 2021, 10, 40.

Current status of circular economy research in Finland

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Author: Hosseinian, Aida1; Ylä-Mella, Jenni1; Pongrácz, Eva1
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-30


Circular economy has emerged as a sustainable alternative to the traditional, linear, extract-produce-use-dump economy. The scientific society, practitioners, policymakers, and business sectors are all actively taking part in driving the transition toward circular economy in their own sectors. Every sector is striving to address the environmental issues of their own area, and to find solutions to the problem of resource scarcity. However, there is a lack of comprehensive studies on the general status of circular economy research and applied projects. Finland aims to be a global pioneer in this field, which is why there is a tremendous boost in research in various fields of sustainable materials management. Therefore, there is a need to have a better perspective of the research society’s efforts to accelerate the transition to circular economy. The objective of this paper is to review scientific research and practices of circular economy transition in Finland, in order to categorize and analyze them. The paper aims to give an insight into the current status and provide a comprehensive understanding of the trend changes during the past 20 years. The analysis shows that there is growing attention to circular economy in many research fields, researchers and practitioners in all fields have responded to the need of the society. However, the recycling-based ‘end-of-pipe’ interpretation of circular economy is still more dominant than developing and implementing strategies for circular product design, dematerializing society, and developing service-based business models. It is important to bear in mind that circular economy is about much more than improved resource flows and waste management practices. Achieving a circular economy needs the engagement of the society, it needs invention and innovation and it also requires the creation of new technologies, products, services, and business models. This study gives a comprehensive perspective at the national level and addresses the key actions and sectors which require more investment and attention from the scientific community to boost the transition toward circular economy. There are some limitation in this study derived from the method of data collection and selection of databases. Due to this, there may be valuable works that were not published, or only in the Finnish language and were, therefore, not identified in this study.

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Series: Resources
ISSN: 2079-9276
ISSN-E: 2079-9276
ISSN-L: 2079-9276
Volume: 10
Issue: 5
Article number: 40
DOI: 10.3390/resources10050040
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: This research was funded by the Academy of Finland provided for the TRANSCIRC project (nro 310407).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 310407
Detailed Information: 310407 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (