In May 2019 the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra challenged every municipality in Finland to compete for the title of Circular Economy Municipality of the Year.

Further information:

Research and Development Manager Pirkko Melville, City of Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 266 1593, pirkko.melville@jyvaskyla.fi

Environmental Director Päivi Pietarinen, City of Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 266 5155, paivi.pietarinen@jyvaskyla.fi

Environmental Specialist Mervi Saukko, City of Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 266 5185, mervi.saukko@jyvaskyla.fi

The City of Jyväskylä was declared the winner of the competition at Kuntamarkkinat, the top event in Finnish public administration, on September 11th. Honourable mentions went to the cities of Lappeenranta and Oulu. Ten municipalities in total took part in the competition.

”It’s fantastic that such a varied group of municipalities took part in the competition. It’s clear from the entries that the municipalities are already engaged in a whole variety of circular economy work. As a consequence of the competition the details of these excellent examples can also be disseminated more broadly”, explains Tuuli Myllymaa, Head of Group at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.

"Many municipalities and cities have given the circular economy centre stage in their operations, with the aim of creating a future for their municipality which is both vibrant and carbon-neutral. The competition was of an extremely high standard and those municipalities which took part had adopted a cross-cutting approach, making the circular economy a part of everything they do, from governance right through to practical solutions", says circular economy expert Marleena Ahonen, Project Co-ordinator at the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Competition winner Jyväskylä committed long-term to a circular economy

Jyväskylä has demonstrated strong and persevering commitment to a circular economy and sustainable use of resources. Jyväskylä has been keen to engage in a number of trials and experiments, many of which have been permanently adopted. Some, such as the highly successful waste lunch experiment, have been extended to other municipalities. The biogas ecosystem created in Jyväskylä is a fine example of the city’s systematic efforts to facilitate a more fossil-free vehicle stock and achieve self-sufficiency in the production of biogas.

Jyväskylä also conducts exceptionally broad and impressive cooperation. The city has conducted research-based trials in collaboration with universities and universities of applied science and produced educational content supporting the circular economy. Businesses, in turn, have been able to use the new Kangas residential area as a test bed for smart solutions. These measures have also assisted in boosting residents’ well-being by reinforcing the sense of community and creating opportunities for meeting people. What is more, citizens of Jyväskylä are activated by means of events, competitions and a variety of campaigns.

”We’re delighted and positively surprised by the recognition we have received! Resource-wise Jyväskylä has made a commitment to be carbon-neutral by the year 2030 and waste-free by 2040. Winning this award encourages us to pursue these ambitious targets with even greater determination”, emphasize the City of Jyväskylä’s Research and Development Manager Pirkko Melville, Environmental Director Päivi Pietarinen and Environmental Specialist Mervi Saukko with obvious satisfaction.

Circular Economy Municipality of the Year competition staged for the first time

In May 2019 the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra challenged every municipality in Finland to compete for the title of Circular Economy Municipality of the Year. When choosing the finalists an assessment was made of how effectively the measures described by the municipalities concerned promoted a circular economy from an environmental perspective as well as from an economic and well-being standpoint.

In addition, the effectivity, replicability and innovativeness of each competing municipality’s circular economy measures were evaluated, as well as the commitment of the municipality to change. Particular weight was given to circular economy measures that were integrated and visible throughout the city’s operations. The winner of the competition was chosen anonymously in the sense that the judges did not see any information that might identify the municipality concerned.

”For a long time now the principles of the circular economy have defined the actions of Finland’s municipalities, but the term and the conceptualization of measures beneath it is new. The competition successfully helped the municipalities to construe their operations in circular economy themes and demonstrated the enormous amount of work done in the municipalities in pursuit of sustainability”, underlines Timo Reina, Deputy Managing Director at the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.