The Trade Commissioner for Finland in West Africa, Business Finland, Olu Raheem, has urged the country to further its efforts in developing a robust roadmap to take advantage of the emerging circular economy.
While noting that policy-making requires time to achieve, he maintained that more policies on waste management and recycling – and stronger producer responsibilities, among others – will be needed to thrive in the circular economy.
The circular economy – an evolution of the way the world produces and consumes both goods and services – redefines the economies around principles of designing-out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible.
Olu Raheem was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the ‘Plastic Recycling Transformation in Ghana – World Circular Economy’ forum, said it requires a wholesale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.
According to him, Finland as a partner is ready to collaborate; and he urged businesses and organisations to demonstrate a will to act on plastic pollution.
Records show that an industry-wide circular approach to the global plastics sector has the potential to create 700,000 jobs and generate savings of US$200billion per year.
The Finland Ambassador to Ghana, Leena Pylvanainen – also speaking in an interview, noted that the circular economy portends huge potentials for Ghana, while adding that her country is keen on exploring partnerships between the two countries on it.
Among other objectives, she said transforming the way people think about plastic waste – seeing it as a resource and seeing it as full business potential – remains a key priority.
“It is about seeking synergies and forging partnerships. At the government level, Finland and Ghana have partnered at the World Trade Organisation. We worked together on bringing circular economy onto the WTO, and it is a cooperation we are very keen to continue.”
Several local stakeholders at the event acknowledged the need to rethink plastic, both to make use of its value and prevent it from damaging the environment.
The Chairman and Founder of Block Solutions, Markus Silfverberg, said the circular economy provides an opportunity to innovate, drive superior business results and better customer loyalty as well as job creation.
Block Solutions uses bio-fibre and recycled products to produce blocks for construction; and Mr. Silfverberg plans to construct 10 factories across Ghana.
By so doing, he said, they are cutting down their carbon footprint by 90 percent and also creating about 800 jobs with the establishment of these factories – and in the area of waste-picking as well.
Finland was the first country to adopt a national circular economy roadmap in 2016, the ambassador stated.
An emerging way for companies to combat waste and help consumers get the most out of their products is now referred to as the circular economy – the products stay in use for longer, then the idea is to recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.