The international conference “Circular Economy in the Nordic-Baltic Region: How far have we come?” took place in Riga on September 10 and was organised by Latvian Environmental Investment Fund, NGO Green Liberty, Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Latvia and Embassy of the Netherlands to Latvia.
The purpose of the event was to continue the dialogue about progress towards a circular economy in public and private sectors among the main stakeholders - consumers, suppliers, policymakers and legislators, as well as academic and nongovernmental experts and media.
The role of local governments is to promote and implement a circular economy through innovative procurements, while the role of entrepreneurs is to develop smart and sustainable business models, products and services.
It is clear that the linear model of economic growth we relied on in the past is no longer suited for the needs of today's modern societies in a globalised world. where we take natural resources, make products and - after a brief period of time - discard them as waste. This inefficient modus operandi depletes natural resources, requires large quantities of energy, creates waste and is not sustainable.
The circular economy offers an alternative model where products are not discarded as waste after they stop being used, they preserve as much value as possible for as long as possible - by prolonging working life, sharing, repairing, reusing, recycling and using them as raw materials for the production of new products. This approach reduces waste, energy consumption, saves natural resources, creates new jobs and is more cost-effective.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY - OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS, Rudīte Vesere, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia, Department of Environmental Protection
TOWARDS CIRCULAR TEXTILES, Barbara van Offenbeek-Kuipers, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
FUTURE OF FURNITURE AND TEXTILE IN CIRCULAR ECONOMY, Mervyn Jones, Sustainable Global Resources Ltd
SUSTAINABLE AND ZERO WASTE FASHION DESIGN, Baiba Ladiga Kobayashi
The conference was supported by Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia, Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, Embassy of the Netherlands, Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture, Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Baltic Sea Region Interreg programme, Stockholm Environmental Institute.