The Next Economy
In Finland, the Circular Economy Goes Mainstream

Poised as a leader in the transition to a circular economy, Finland is living up to expectations with businesses finding new uses for wood pulp and doughnut fryer fat.

Finnish forest industry company UPM — the only paper company listed on the **Dow Jones Sustainability Indices **and the only forest industry company invited to the United Nations Global Compact LEAD sustainability leadership platform — has found a creative use for the residue and waste resulting from its paper, pulp and plywood production.

With the construction of a biorefinery at its Kaukas site, UPM has been able to transform pulp production residues into renewable biodiesel dubbed UPM BioVerno, which is suitable for use in all diesel engines, a step towards creating a closed loop system. The biorefinery produces 120 million liters of wood-based renewable diesel per year, as well as naphtha as a byproduct, which can be used as a biocomponent for regular gasoline. According to UPM, both BioVerno products reduce up to 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition to naphtha, the process of refining wood resin into biodiesel generates turpentine, pitch and sodium bisulphite, which can be used to produce perfumes, bleaches and bioplastics.

UPM’s goal is to reach a stage where no waste from its sites is taken to landfill or burned without the energy first being recovered. The company aims to achieve this in Finland within the next few years and by 2030 for the rest of its global operations. Approximately 90 percent of its waste is already being recycled.


Meanwhile, oil refining and marketing company Neste and Fazer Bakery have joined forces to launch the Doughtnut Trick campaign to create renewable diesel derived from fryer oil used to make Fazer’s May Day doughnuts. The amount of diesel that’s made from the oil used to fry three doughnuts is enough to drive a distance of about one kilometer.

Neste and Fazer created the Doughnut Trick campaign as a way to spark conversation about recycling and the potential of the circular economy in Finland, as well as proper disposal of cooking oil. The value of the fuel generated through the exchange will be donated to the Finnish chapter of the charity SOS Children’s Village International.

The partnership is a timely one, coinciding with Fazer’s production of May Day doughnuts. Doughnuts are a popular food in Finland during this time of year. As many as 16 million Fazer Omar and Berliinimunkki doughnuts are eaten annually. This is around three doughnuts a year for each person in Finland.

“We were immediately inspired by the cooperation idea, as Fazer Bakery’s primary goal is to prevent the generation of waste and to reduce its volume,” said Nina Elomaa, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Fazer Group. “In our opinion, this is a great way of introducing people concretely to the circular economy and at the same time to support a good cause.”

“Through the Doughnut Trick, we want to illustrate how waste and residues can be reused to produce new products, in this case, high-quality Neste MY renewable diesel,” said John Lunabba, Director of Sustainability at Neste.

Recycling and reusing fats aren’t a new concept for Fazer or Neste. The Finnish asphalt and soap industries use Fazer’s frying fats as raw materials and Neste uses fats from the meat industry, as well as others, in Finland to make its renewable diesel. Last Christmas, Neste joined the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland in its Christmas Waste Ham Fat campaign, a similar initiative that involved collecting ham roast fats for recycling into fuel.

Neste’s renewable diesel is made entirely from waste and residues and is available at gas stations in the capital region, as well as in Tampere and Turku. Neste MY can help motorists reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent over the lifecycle of the fuel compared to conventional diesel.

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