The climate change, marine plastics and other urgent environmental issues call for rapid responses. In addition to the on-going stepwise development of existing value chains and operations, we need solutions that are circular by design and have the potential to change our mode of operation more rapidly and at the system level. As a first step, we need data and system understanding of the cycles and value. At the moment, circular data is scattered, siloed, in many forms and formats, and it cannot be easily utilized. Aalto, GTK, Luke, SYKE and VTT have started collaboration to understand the practical data needs and gaps at the system level, to develop new ways of collecting and validating data, and new methods to process and refine data into system level understanding and models. We will build a network that comprises the data users, providers, developers and the solution providers and users in selected cases, and together demonstrate circular designs based on system understanding.


We want to hear from you! In the project, we study the data use, data sources, data collection and assessment tools, and current and future data needs of circular economy-oriented stakeholders. By carrying out interviews and initiating an active dialogue and cooperation with various stakeholders, we aim to find and report relevant data gaps, develop methods and tools for reliable data refining and ultimately proceed to concrete action towards a circular economy. We also want to work with you to ideate and experiment new design-based concepts in our workshops.

Interested? Please contact Inka Orko, VTT!


Data sources, acquisition and assessment tools

A desktop review and assessment of the existing data sources, acquisition and assessment tools, and technologies for circularity will provide a complementing view to the potential of data in circular transition. Interlinkages of data from bio and mineral cycles are especially interesting as a starting point for new circular concepts. The aim is to create a solid knowledge base for building practical pilots and use cases.

Interested? Please contact Tommi Kauppila, GTK!


Data demonstrations and frameworks

We want to experiment and learn by doing! We will deep-dive into four pilot cases (textiles, food, batteries and plastics) and examine the sustainability impacts important in each value chain. This may vary, so we will select the indicators accordingly. We aim to understand what data is needed to estimate the selected impacts, is the data available for us, what data is missing, and then review the data and its quality. We aim to develop methodologies to refine this data to knowledge, i.e. to assess sustainability, bring forth hotspots, and make any trade-offs transparent – all based on data. Further, since the acquisition, processing and storage of data carries environmental impact as well, we want to base our scrutiny on minimum use of data yet ensuring a robust decision-making basis. Based on this, we will provide specific minimum viable product demonstrations to improve the design of the pilot cases. We will further create a decision-making framework for the cases and extrapolate the learnings into general circular design approaches and methodologies.

Interested? Please contact Susanna Horn, SYKE or Eeva Lehtonen, Luke!

Contact SusannaContact Eeva


Data exploitation may require new collaboration, policies and agreements. We will identify the key governance challenges in the field of data-driven circular economy and co-create potential solutions for them. We will also benchmark the international field and boost the national and European dialogue by interacting with the national circular economy forums and actors. We will report the governance challenges and potential solutions and present a policy brief.

For more information, please contact Annukka Berg, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE!


Circular concepts based on data

To make fully circular systems into reality, we need to turn knowledge and understanding into action. By utilizing data and technologies we can design new solutions so that they are circular by design. Bring your great data-enabled ideas, competences and contributions to the table and let’s develop data based solutions together! Our co-creation workshops will start in the fall of 2021!

Interested? Please contact Inka Orko, VTT!


System views and design methodologies

The circular design principles include slowing down circulation, lengthening the product lifetime, redesigning the solutions for circularity, closing the material loops by designing out waste and residues, retaining value with maintenance, reuse and refurbish, and narrowing the loops by making the cycles lean and more efficient.

To be able to apply these principles, we need to understand the system view in our operational environment. We also need to be able to combine different design viewpoints, including technical, economic, environmental etc. In the project, we will compile a system view, collect existing strategies for circular design and present a general approach and framework based on findings in the project.

Interested? Please contact Eeva Lehtonen, Luke and Päivi Kivikytö-Reponen, VTT,

Contact EevaContact Päivi


Welcome to our events! The Think Tank 2021 series will cover our interview findings and kick-off a working process for data-based concepts aiming at defining the data requirements to support circularity and to enhance stakeholder involvement.

For events info, general info and media contacts, please contact project coordinator Päivi Kivikytö-Reponen, VTT.

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