Back 26.11.2015

Gaia develops indicators for circular economy

The significance of circular economy and resource efficiency is growing steadily as natural resources continue to deplete. To measure circular economy, we need new indicators as well as collaboration between the public sector, businesses and consumers. Gaia was commissioned by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra to conduct a preliminary study on a national barometer for circular economy.

Circular economy means using resources, premises and services more efficiently and minimising material loss and waste streams. The idea behind circular economy is that what is waste for one company or person can be raw material for another.

Many large corporations are now turning to circular economy in order to develop their business but interesting new business models also spring from small and medium-size companies and startups. Sharing economy puts into question our current models of buying and selling. We have also started to pay closer attention to things like the resource efficiency of products and services as well as product safety. Added economic value is generated and distributed in new ways.

“As circular economy grows, we need new ways to measure it, and to reach the best possible measuring results, we need collaboration between the public sector, businesses and consumers,” says Business Director Mari Saario from Gaia.

Gaia has ample experience on building circular economy and measuring economic and sustainability impacts. In September, Gaia conducted a preliminary study on a national barometer for circular economy, in other words, a comprehensive set of indicators suitable for measuring circular economy. The work was commissioned by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Gaia has also counselled the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy on measuring resource efficiency and circular economy, and developed indicators for many companies seeking significant savings and new business opportunities from circular economy.

“Currently available statistical data can be used to measure circular economy but we also need new source data and new kinds of statistics. The multidimensional nature of circular economy and the lack of raw data present a challenge for compiling a good barometer. Many resource economy phenomena take place within companies, outside established systems or among individuals. It is important to develop new indicators and ways to measure them,” says Saario.

The barometer should help recognise circular economy opportunities, follow economic development and enable international comparison. According to Gaia’s preliminary study, indicators best suited for further development include resource productivity, business related to circular economy, sustainability of material cycles, material loss, as well as values, attitudes and new ways of consumption.

“Circular economy does not happen without companies. We help our clients to find new business opportunities from circular economy. Utilising side streams and industrial symbioses, for instance, can save costs, improve financing perspectives, help with permits, streamline operations and create new business,” says Gaia’s Chairman Pasi Rinne.

More information:

  • Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Board, Gaia Consulting, tel. + 358 400 464 127, email: