Lappeenranta has signed the European Circular Cities Declaration along with three other Finnish cities: Helsinki, Turku and Tampere. The declaration was published on 1 October at the 9th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Mannheim, Germany.

Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment of the City of Helsinki, represented Finland at the event. At present, more than 20 European cities and regions have signed the declaration and are committed to supporting circular economy and promoting a resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially sustainable society. The organisation behind the declaration is ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, which is expecting more cities to sign the declaration. Ilkka Räsänen, Environmental Director of the city of Lappeenranta, sees this declaration, co-ordinated by ICLEI, as one stage in the transition towards a circular economy at the local level. Lappeenranta has been a member of the ICLEI network since 2017, Mr Räsänen says.  In 2016, Lappeenranta put together a roadmap for resource wisdom with the help of Sitra. The roadmap helped establish the city’s guidelines for promoting and implementing the principles of circular economy in the city’s own activities, which is a strategic statement for sustainable development. Last year, the city of Lappeenranta joined the Finnish network of forerunners in the circular economy, Mr Räsänen continues. A roadmap for circular economy is currently under way. Networking and participation in international co-operation will not only benefit the city’s image but also bring tangible benefits. By joining the network of pioneering European cities, the region will receive support from European networks and improve its access to circular economy funding,” Mr Räsänen points out. ‘This will also bring benefits to our partners, such as the LUT University, the LAB University of Applied Sciences, and local businesses. Joining the network will also support our European Green Leaf process. The city of Lappeenranta is a pioneer in climate protection. The city participated in the municipal climate campaign in 2000, the HINKU municipal network in 2014, and the FISU network of pioneering municipalities in resource wisdom in 2015. In a climate conference held in spring 2016, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities awarded the city a certificate for its climate protection efforts. In order to accomplish the city’s ambitious goals, it is crucial that the city participates in the activities of international networks and receives support and information from pioneering cities round the world. In 2014 and 2016 City of Lappeenranta was nominated as the Climate Capital of Finland by WWF.