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December 2018 (published: 27.12.2018)
Home > Issue > A circular economy: an analysis of the businesses awareness level
in the Baltic Sea Region countries
UDC 504.062; 330.15
A circular economy: an analysis of the businesses awareness level
in the Baltic Sea Region countries
Sergienko O.I., Pavlova A.S. , Violetta Savoskula, Meeri Karvinen , Jaana Sorvari , Vaira Obuka , Māris Kļaviņš , Karl Hillman , Sakari Autio
The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. Unlike the traditional linear economic model based on a «take-make-consume-throw away» pattern, a circular economy is based on the notion that all waste can be considered as valuable resources in an almost closed loop, where products and the materials they contain are highly valued. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. Current knowledge and performance on resource efficiency and circular economy of industrial enterprises were examined in companies in the Baltic Sea Region countries – Finland, Sweden, Latvia and St. Petersburg Region, Russia in the frameworks of two twinning international projects «ERREC 2.0; Environmental Responsibility and Resource Efficiency» and «LARELICE-P; Preparing Learning about Resource Efficiency Leading into Circular Economy», which have been realized simultaneously in 2017–2018 under financial support of the Intereg Baltic Sea Region program of the European Union and the Swedish Institute, respectively. Both projects were realized in active cooperation by five universities: Aalto University (Finland), Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Finland), University of Gavle (Sweden), University of Latvia, Riga and ITMO University (Russia). The main overall objective of the projects was to increase the level of education among young and elderly people to guarantee skilled work force. The specific objectives of the projects included the recognition of new technologies, innovations and joint activity models to support skills development in circular economy and resource efficiency in participating regions between companies and HEIs. Within the projects the survey between four countries and 51companies were prepared in order to evaluate the current knowledge and performance on resource efficiency and circular economy model as well as experiences and willingness to engage in university-industry collaboration. As the most important concept leading to circular economy respondents chose is sustainability in general (including concepts such as social/environmental/economic sustainability, corporate social responsibility, fair trade etc.), which chose 78,43% of companies. Following resource efficiency (waste minimization, energy efficiency, material efficiency etc.) – 76,47%, preventing pollution to air/ contamination of soil – 39,22%, water pollution control – 29,41% and climate change mitigation/adaptation – 21,57%. The results will promote the sharing of knowledge between universities and companies, offer valuable information on the competences needed in working life, and may lead to new cooperation between Baltic, Nordic and Russian companies and universities.
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Keywords: circular economy, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, life cycle, waste, company, university, cooperation, survey.
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