Finland puts circular economy at heart of its SDG strategy

The Finnish government has released its second voluntary national review (VNR) of the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) progress.

The report, which covers all 17 goals and 169 targets, assesses Finland’s achievements since its first VNR in 2016. SDGs, which was adopted by the UN in 2015, is a framework which places sustainability at the heart of economic growth. These goals include improved resource efficiency and clean energy, through to the protection of biodiversity and more responsible consumption. 

Crucially, SDGs feed into wider civil society, including individual cities and individual companies, which have pledged their commitment to SDGs. The World Green Building Council has identified nine SDGs that relate directly to the built environment.

According to the VNR report, which has been peer reviewed by Switzerland and Mozambique, Finland has managed to successfully integrate sustainability assessments into its annual cycle of policy planning, budgeting and reporting. However, it concedes that environmental aspects have been easier to integrate into policy than social ones. The VNR also notes that cities’ engagement has increased, with three cities having prepared Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs).

Creating a circular economy by 2025 is a key national goal and after becoming the first country in the world too create a national roadmap in 2016, its objective is now to “bring the circular economy to the core of competitiveness and economic growth strategy, transition to low-carbon energy, start considering natural resources as a scarcity and promote the shift to a sustainable lifestyle.”

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