Without drastically improving global resource efficiency, it will be impossible to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The WCEF+Climate is a global conference for a global audience, spanning approximately 24 hours to reach audiences across all time zones. The WCEF+Climate will be hosted at our virtual conference venue, built on the latest creative thinking on how to provide the full conference experience in a digital fashion. Networking and interaction will remain a major component, even in this virtual setting!
The World Circular Economy Forum + Climate conference will take place on 15-16 April 2021 in the Hague. Starting and closing in the European afternoon, we move with the sun to reach our audience in all time zones. The WCEF+ Climate will be hosted at a virtual conference venue, built on the latest creative thinking on how to provide the full conference experience in a digital fashion. Just like a professional TV-show, but interactive. Networking and interaction will remain a major component, even in this virtual setting!
WCEF+Climate 2021 is hosted jointly by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Several sessions at the WCEF+Climate will be co-hosted with other knowledge partners and organisations to highlight the role of the circular economy in combatting climate change and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Netherlands has the ambition to become a fully functioning circular economy by 2050. To reach this target, the government is taking various measures to create a social climate and an economy that is open for behavioural change, and an ecosystem in which all the necessary social and institutional changes are embraced. However, to create an economy that is truly 100 percent circular, we will need to go beyond our borders and work with fellow pioneering partners to achieve a shared mission.
The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is a future fund that collaborates with partners from different sectors to research, trial and implement bold new ideas that shape the future. Their aim is a Finland that succeeds as a pioneer in sustainable well-being. Sitra is an accountable and independent future-oriented fund that is influential nationally and internationally and acts as a think tank, promoter of experiments and operating models, and a catalyst for co-operation. In being accountable to Finnish Parliament, their future-oriented work is funded with the returns on investments based on their endowment capital. www.sitra.fi
The World Circular Economy Forum is Finland’s and Sitra’s global initiative. The first WCEF was held in Helsinki, Finland, in June 2017 and had 1,600 participants from nearly 100 countries. This April, the Netherlands and Sitra will co-host the WCEF+ Climate conference in the run-up to the annual main event WCEF2021 in Toronto, Canada, in September 2021. WCEF Side Events are organised throughout the year.
The conference will focus on how a circular economy can contribute to reaching our common climate targets. Other topics include the reuse, collection and recycling of plastics and electronics, reduction of CO2 emissions from heavy industry, monitoring, as well as enhancing international cooperation between governments, businesses, knowledge institutes and civil society in the context of circular economy.
The main goal of the WCEF+Climate is to inspire countries, organisations and people to take bold next steps that aim at a circular economy by 2050, a necessity for carbon neutrality.
The conference aims to reach three results:
- Agenda setting and mobilisation
- Increasing political commitment for the link between the circular economy and climate change
- Reaching the circular economy’s full potential in Nationally Determined Contributions
- Coalition building
- Enhancing structural engagement across regions
- Building cross-regional coalitions to increase circularity in value chains of plastics and electronics
- Integrating the circular economy in existing frameworks
- Better incorporating the circular economy in SDGs and the Agenda 2030
- Establishing synergies and way forward in circular economy monitoring linked to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals
In addition, the conference aims to increase knowledge in the field of climate change, the circular economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions by focusing on themes such as reuse of plastics and electronics, reduction of CO2 emissions from heavy industry and stimulation of international cooperation between governments, business, knowledge institutes and civil society.
The WCEF+Climate will bring together key players and stakeholders from around the world, representing institutions, governments, cities and communities, the private sector and civil society, including youth movements.
Joint action is required to accelerate the circular economy globally. Young people in particular will feel the consequences of climate change. Their action and commitment to further climate adaptation are key to acceleration. Therefore, youth engagement is one of the focal points of WCEF+Climate.
The WCEF+Climate is part of the World Circular Economy Forum, which is a global initiative of Finland and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Although there is no formal link with other international climate conferences and processes, the link between circular economy and climate is a relevant topic for processes such as international climate negotiations, international private sector collaboration and international coalitions on the circular economy and climate.
All sessions will be in English, with simultaneous translations available into Spanish and French as conference platform features.
The Conference’s outcome document is the WCEF+Climate Action Statement, and will comprise commitments to ensure that we are accelerating the just transition to a circular economy and scaling up action.
From 15 March 2021, all entities will be able to submit their contribution in the form of a commitment, ensuring concrete action is taken to ensure we achieve a circular economy by 2050, a necessity for climate neutrality.
The commitments for the WCEF+Climate can be submitted through this website. We encourage all partners and participants to submit their commitments in the run-up to the conference. Submitted commitments will be part of the WCEF+Climate Action Statement, the conference’s outcome document.
Anyone can submit a commitment, including people, associations, companies, organisations and countries.
Registering, participating and access
No, participation in the WCEF+Climate is free of charge, just like all WCEF events are.
Yes. To gain full access to the online conference platform, with all the features WCEF+Climate has to offer, including participating in sessions and meeting other participants, you need to register in advance.
After registration, you will receive the credentials to log in on the conference platform. Check your email and your spam folder regularly.
It is also possible to follow the conference by viewing recordings of sessions afterwards on our YouTube channel.
Interaction with other participants will be possible through several functionalities on the conference platform: you can chat with other participants and you can join our networking area to discuss various topics with your peers.
Please check your spam or promotions folder. In case you still cannot find the confirmation, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCEF+Climate will be designed to provide easy access for all those interested in taking part. The conference can be followed on desktop computers or mobile devices.
Please double-check if you have a VPN connection (or connection through a proxy) enabled. If so, disable the VPN or the proxied connection and try again.
Contact and press
You can learn more about WCEF+Climate and get the latest updates on this website and through Twitter @wcefplusclimate.
You can follow WCEF+Climate discussions on social media using the hashtags #WCEFClimate and by tagging @wcefplusclimate.
Circularity stretches far beyond recycling. In fact, it is about refusing, reducing, re-using, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing and repurposing and finally recycling – all ensuring that we use fewer natural resources and live within planetary boundaries.
The circular economy requires a systemic change to design out waste, avoid pollution and keep materials in use for as long as possible. A transition to a circular economy requires a change in all of our mind-sets. We need to recognise the value of the products we use and the materials we extract. It’s crucial that we under- stand and recognise the true social, environmental and economic costs of production and consumption. For this to happen, we need joint commitment and innovative action from governments, businesses, organisations, civil society and consumers.
The potential of new business models that embed circularity for innovation – while bringing about decent work – already exist. Many countries, companies and organisations are preparing for the just transition to a circular economy, while consumers across the world are more conscious about the true cost of the products they are purchasing and throwing away. Numerous companies and countries across the globe already recognise the incredible potential of a circular economy and resource efficiency as an instrument that could help us reach the targets set out in the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The current unsustainable use of natural resources plays a key role in the three global crises: the biodiversity crisis, pollution crisis, and the climate crisis. Globally, unsustainable resource extraction and processing accounts for 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress, while generating half of global carbon emissions. Action is urgently needed.
Currently, climate change mitigation efforts focus most- ly on energy supply and increasing renewable energy production. The current energy supply chain accounts for approximately half of our total global emissions. So, if the Paris Agreement targets are to be met, our energy transition efforts need to be complemented by making significant changes to our value and supply chains. Extraction, processing, use and disposal of the materials we use daily are the other part of the equation. With circular solutions, we can enhance resource efficiency and limit the use of virgin natural resources. If we move to a circular economy, we could avoid pollution and reduce our carbon footprint by around 20%, several reports show.
This shift to a circular economy is happening in many places around the world, but still on a relatively small scale. We need to upscale these solutions, share best practices, and work across borders and sectors. There is a lot of room for improvement, as only 8.6% of the global economy is circular today, according to the latest Circularity Gap Report.
A key principle in this context is ‘working together’. One company, one government, or a single citizen making the shift towards circularity is a good start, but by far not enough. New materials and products are needed, alongside innovative approaches in production processes. We can rethink our way of doing business, based on the true costs of production.
Ground-breaking, forward-looking business models need to be developed and encouraged. Governments should create the right legal conditions, enhance incentives for sustainable business models, stimulate circular solutions and increase awareness. In addition, governments must think beyond their borders. The consequences of climate change transcend borders, and our circular solutions should as well.
Customers and citizens should start by becoming more conscious of the real cost of a ‘take-make-waste’ society and consider changing their consumption patterns accordingly. They have the power to encourage companies to develop creative solutions to meet their more sustainable demands.
By bringing these different players together, we can make sure that we’re all heading in the same circular direction: across borders, industries and continents! The World Circular Economy Forum aims to do just this: bring us together, ambition, opportunities and all!
While the task ahead of us may seem daunting at times, we’re convinced that our goal is in reach! If we work inclusively, a circular economy offers more jobs, less pollution, and ultimately a healthier planet, where we can all thrive and prosper!
Only if we work together, can we move from a ‘take-make-waste’ society to a circular economy.
In September 2015, 193 members of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Agenda encompasses 17 SDGs, including SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 13: Climate Action; SDG 14: Life Below Water; and SDG 15: Life on Land.
These SDGs all have one thing in common: they require us to think differently about our relationship with nature and how we use natural resources. The year 2020 ushered in a “Decade of Action” to deliver on the Goals by 2030. The “Decade of Action” calls for accelerating sustainable solutions for solving the world’s biggest challenges.
The just transition to a circular economy is one way to put us back on track to achieving the SDGs by 2030. By changing our current consumption and production patterns, we impact the way we interact with nature, the kind of job opportunities and economic growth we prioritise and ultimately: the well-being of people and our planet.
Later in 2015, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, 196 entities adopted the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a binding agreement that brings all nations together to combat climate change. Currently, climate change mitigation efforts relating from the Paris Agreement focus mostly on energy supply and increasing renewable energy production. The current energy supply chain accounts for approximately half of our total global emissions. So, if the Paris Agreement targets are to be met, our energy transition efforts need to be complemented by making significant changes to our value and supply chains.
During the WCEF+Climate we will explore the inter- linkages between these agendas. We will zoom in on how the circular economy can ensure that our national development plans, Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), national climate plans, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and long-term strategies comprise ambitious action so that we can meet these important targets together, before it’s too late.
Circularity stretches far beyond recycling. At its core, the transition to a circular economy requires a clear change in mind-set. We need to recognise the value we should attach to the products we use and the materials we extract, and we need to ensure that production patterns account for the true social, environmental and economic costs they generate. In this way, the true value of materials can be reflected, and materials can be used at their highest value possible for as long as possible, which is central to a circular economy.