Know-how in chemistry is a requirement of circular economy
Finland is forecast to become a leading country in circular economy already in the next decade. According to Sitra’s estimate, circular economy has the potential worth 2.5 billion euros for Finland. How will the opportunities offered by circular economy be concretised in the business world in a way that promotes growth and development?
The basic premise of circular economy is to ensure that the materials and products remain in the economic circulation for as long as possible, and the volume of waste is thus minimised. One person’s waste may be another person’s raw material. Switching to circular economy requires, however, that changes are implemented throughout the value chain, ranging from the designing of a product to new business and marketing models and consumer behaviour. And it should also be kept in mind that the handling of material flows in particular requires know-how in process chemistry. The utilisation of industrial by-product flows requires closer co-operation and chemistry know-how of the enterprises. As always, there will be both winners and losers as a result of this change in the economy.
Where do the opportunities offered by the circular economy lie then? Small and medium-sized enterprises create an increasing share of new jobs in Finland. The solutions of circular economy require high-quality know-how in the chemical industry which can be found in small cleantech companies. The growth and development of those companies are, however, often slowed down by the large investments in equipment and plants required by the operations, as well as the upscaling and piloting of technologies.
Smart Chemistry Park has managed to create a unique platform that enables the growth and development of chemical industry companies by supporting them in the critical growth phases and offering extensive networks including businesses, universities and the public sector. The circular economy innovation prize awarded by the Finnish Chemical Society at the end of March proved that we have reached our goal. We want to help small leading edge companies to grow, and that way Finland can reach the economic growth offered by the circular economy.
The writer works as the Development Manager of Turku Science Park Ltd’s Smart Chemistry Park in Raisio.