Business model innovation is increasingly recognized as a key ingredient for the paradigm shift towards a circular economy. There is already quite some literature on how new business models (such as product-as-a-service, or sharing) can, at least theoretically, foster circularity. It is time to put the theory in practice and actually achieve higher circularity! A growing number of initiatives are launched on the European and national levels to explore this new exciting territory.

Date: Wednesday June 5th, 2019

Time: 9:30 – 12:30

Location: Holiday Inn Helsinki City Center (Elielinaukio 5, Helsinki)

In this event, you will participate in round table discussions on outstanding circular business model innovation needs and challenges, as well as on how to best collaborate to co-create solutions.  Hosted by six leading European research institutes – as part of the European Circular Economy Research Alliance (ECERA) – who will share their first-hand experience in working with companies and municipalities to develop and implement circular economy business models.  


9:00 – 9:30

Arrival and coffee

9:30 – 9:45

Welcome & Introduction of ECERA

9:45 – 10:15

Pitching of circular business model projects from six ECERA members

10:15 – 11:00

Breakout session 1 - Making circular business models work:  What are the challenges?

Choose a table based on a sector or CBM archetype of your interest, including building, consumer goods, product as a service, and sharing.

Plenary sharing of breakout session findings

11:00 – 11:15

Coffee break

11:15 – 11:45

Breakout session 2 - Making circular business models work: Innovation support and collaboration to overcome the challenges.   

Choose a table based on your innovation needs, or your experience as a solution provider in:

Strategy & Innovation methodology;
Environmental/economic analysis, business case;
Network & value chain collaboration.

11:45 – 12:15

Panel discussion

Brendan Edgerton (WBCSD) – Panel moderator
Hanna Ljungkvist Nordin (IVL)
Ola Tjade (Flokk)
Anna Aminoff (Hanken)
Cliona Howie (Climate KIC)

12:15 – 12:30

Wrap up

The World Circular Economy Forum side event is open and free to all WCEF participants. It will be of particular interest to companies interested or experienced in circular business models, circular business support organizations (e.g. consultancy firms, NGOs) and research organizations (e.g. institutes, universities).

This event is already fully booked.  But we welcome you to get in touch with ECERA if you would like to know more about what the RTOs are doing in the field of circular business model innovation, and how we could potentially collaborate.

This event is organized by ECERA - the European Circular Economy Research Alliance.


- Karl Vrancken, Research Manager, Sustainable Materials Management, VITO

Karl is responsible for the strategic management of VITO’s Sustainable Materials programme, is senior expert on circular economy and has a part-time assignment as professor at the University of Antwerp (Dept. Bio-engineering). He started his career in the environmental engineering industry. He worked as a Detached National Expert with the European IPPC Bureau in Seville. Karl is consortium chairman of the EEA European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials for a Green Economy and chairman of the European Circular Economy Research Alliance. He is chair and scientific committee member for several conferences and stakeholder groups,  with a focus on innovation for circular economy.

- Brendan Edgerton, Director of Circular Economy, WBCSD

Brendan is the Director of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 companies working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. Since joining WBCSD in Geneva in 2015, Brendan has contributed to over 10 publications on the circular economy. Brendan most recently co-developed and launched Factor10, WBCSD’s circular economy program. Factor10 now has almost 40 members, spanning across 16 industries and responsible for over USD $1.4 trillion in annual turnover. Brendan has an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s in Ecological Design from the University of California Santa Cruz.

- Ke Wang, Circular Economy Business Researcher, VITO

Ke manages knowledge products on circular business models at VITO, and is keen on synergizing environmental and economic interests.  She is the Coordinator of Horizon 2020 CIRCUSOL project, and an active contributor in various other EU-level circular economy initiatives, including Horizon 2020 BAMB and CICERONE.  Prior to VITO, Ke had nearly a decade of experience working in the industry as an innovation leader.  Ke holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University and an MBA from Rotterdam School of Management. 

- Willemijn van der Werf, Business Developer Circular Economy, TNO

Over the last decade, Willemijn has worked in a variety of areas of sustainable innovations. From alternative fuels for aviation, development of a novel technology using CO-containing waste streams for fuels and chemicals as well as -most recently- circular innovations in the built environment. Her work has centered around business development within public private partnerships, financial feasibility and societal acceptance of these innovations. Willemijn has gained her knowledge within a multinational, a scale-up as well as a research organization, hence experiencing a broad background of working environments.

- Maria Antikainen, Principal Scientist, VTT

- Hanna Ljungkvist Nordin, Senior Project Leader, IVL

- Eli Fyhn Ullern, Research Scientist, SINTEF

Eli Fyhn Ullern is a Research Scientist at the Department of Technology Management, SINTEF Norway. She currently does research in innovation management and collaborative innovation. 

- Sigurd Vildåsen, Research Scientist, SINTEF

Sigurd Sagen Vildåsen holds a Ph.D. in the area of corporate sustainability with an emphasis on circular business model innovation. Sigurd is currently working on various projects in collaboration with manufacturing companies through his research positions at SINTEF and NTNU (Norway).

- Marco La Monica, ENEA

- Ola Tjade, Business Development Manager, Flokk

- Anna Aminoff, Assistant Professor, Hanken School of Economics

- Cliona Howie, Business Development Lead, Climate KIC