Circular Turku: A Blueprint for Local Governments to Kickstart the Circular Economy Transition

Monday, 29 March, 2021

Circular Turku: A Blueprint for Local Governments to Kickstart the Circular Economy Transition

This publication is a product of the“Circular Turku: Regional collaboration for resource wisdom” (2019-2021) project, which aims to design a regional roadmap to operationalize circularity in the Turku region with the support of local stakeholders and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. The report captures the results and learnings of the inception phase of the project and the existing endeavors and good practices of Turku.​

Publishers: ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and City of Turku (Finland)

Date: February 2020

Citation: City of Turku, ICLEI (2020). Circular Turku: Regional Collaboration for resource wisdom. Bonn, February 2020.


The circular economy offers a relevant practice-oriented framework to rethink the way resources are managed at the local level and shift away from extractive production practices. Through urban planning, policies, investments, and their ability to convene different stakeholders, local governments are well-positioned to turn the ambitions of the circular economy into an everyday reality.

Yet because the circular economy doesn’t have sectoral or geographical boundaries it can quickly feel overwhelming. As a result, the circular economy often ends up being marginally implemented.

Experiences in Turku show the value of regional and multi-stakeholder collaboration in operationalizing the circular economy in a systemic way. This report offers a deep-dive into front-running circular economy practices from the Turku region and provides insights into the governance model and participation mechanisms needed to make them happen. Finally, it showcases how the circular economy can support ambitious climate action through concrete pathways other local governments can replicate.

Moving forward, the city of Turku is designing an action plan to comprehensively implement the circular economy in the surrounding region in an inclusive and participatory manner. These efforts are undertaken as part of the Circular Turku project, co-funded by Sitra and implemented in close partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The aim of this cooperation is to draw learnings from international best practices and design needs-based tools and collaborative methodologies for other local governments to use around the world.

Circular Turku is shaped by the inputs of committed stakeholders from a wide variety of fields. Their voices and vision for a Circular Turku as represented throughout this report are foundational to the work that the city plans to undertake.

Together with the city of Turku, a vibrant community of circular economy actors will ensure Turku fulfills the objectives laid out in its city strategy: Becoming carbon-neutral, zero waste, and respecting ecological boundaries by 2040.

Access the full report here