Editorial 16.2.2021

Circular economy needs to be profitable

Juha-Heikki Tanskanen
Juha-Heikki Tanskanen

A proposal for a programme promoting circular economy prepared under the leadership of Reijo Karhinen, Professor of Practice at the University of Eastern Finland, was published in January. The programme supports the Finnish governments goal of strengthening Finlands role as a pioneer in circular economy. 

 The programme states that circular economy is not optional but vital. This is true. It is difficult to see a viable way to adapt the load of the human population to the earths carrying capacity, and we have no planet B.  

 The circular economy programme says that many companies do not have any economic incentives to change their current practices in the short term. For circular economy to become mainstream, there must be a business case for all operators in the value chain. This needs to be controlled wisely. Emissions and over-consumption need to be covered in the pricing of production and consumption. The market then steers operations towards sustainability. 

 How much do we need to charge for operations that pollute the environment to keep the planet viable for human beings? This question is so challenging that I do not think we can find the answer to it. What I do know is that too strict control would decrease our standard of living and too much caution would mean slow improvements. Perhaps we need to accept that the best solutions are to be found with the knowledge we have and through democratic decision-making. We are on the right track.