Circular economy dictionary



3D printing


Three-dimensional printing or 3D printing is the productization of a virtual model into a physical object with the help of a 3D printer. For example, concrete, plastic, metal, ceramic or glass can be used as printing material. 3D printing can be used in the production of spare parts as well as in medicine and the clothing industry.



Adaptation fund


The Adaptation Fund was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programs in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol.


Adaptive reuse


Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing an existing building for a purpose other than that for which it was originally built or designed. It is also known as recycling and conversion. Adaptive reuse is an effective strategy for optimizing the operational and commercial performance of built assets.


Additive manufacturing


The name for methods in which the piece is made based on a digital model by joining the material together layer by layer.


Aerobic degradation; aerobic decomposition


Decomposition of organic matter by aerobic microbes with oxygen. The process produces a lot of thermal energy.


AFOLU sector


In connection with the publication of the EU’s climate package, it has been suggested that from 2031, emissions from agriculture would also be included in the land use sector. This would be called the AFOLU sector, which, according to the Commission’s proposal, should be climate neutral by 2035. A more detailed legislative proposal for the AFOLU sector would be issued in 2025.


Agenda 2030


The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, which was adopted in 2015. Agenda 2030 is a politically binding document that contains 17 different goals from different areas of sustainable development.


See sustainable development, SDGs.


Agroecological symbiosis


Agroecological symbiosis means a cooperation network of several farms or other actors, the goal of which is self-sufficiency in both energy and nutrients. Efficient nutrient recycling saves natural resources and reduces nutrient leaching into waterways.


Air-quality control


Implementation of the combustion process in such a way that the pollutants are at an acceptable level. Among other things, catalysts, scrubbers and electric filters are used to control air quality and remove pollutants.


An additional emission reduction measure


Additionality means that the environmental improvements would not have occurred without the compensation paid.


Anaerobic digestion


See anaerobic.


Anaerobic digestion, anaerobic decomposition


Decomposition of biological material in an oxygen-free environment where anaerobic microbes are responsible for the decomposition. The term rotting or grounding is also used. Anaerobic decomposition is often accompanied by the release of methane or the bad smell of hydrogen sulfide. Decomposition is slow and produces little heat.




The era of mankind in the history of the world, during which man has had a significant impact on the surrounding nature and climate change through his own actions.




Anthropogenic: used to describe greenhouse gases caused by human activity.


Anticipation; forecast


Forecasting aims to identify factors that influence the formation of the future, map alternative futures and define measures that will help us reach the desired future.


Appeal; complaint


A person or a company does not have to be satisfied with all the decisions and plans of the authority, but he can tell that he is dissatisfied and bring about a change.


Artificial intelligence


See artificial intelligence.


Artificial intelligence


The operation of a computer that mimics human intelligence and may have the ability to think and learn. It is an essential part of the technology industry today.




In the audit, it is assessed whether certain criteria are met, for example for the use of an environmental label or system. The audits can be carried out by yourself or by a third party.


Authority; official


A person or an office to which the law gives the authority to decide on people’s affairs, such as for example a civil servant, agency, poliisi, tax administration or business, transport and environment centers.




Automation means a self-operating device or system. Today, industrial automation often means using a computer to control machines and production processes. As a part of production technology, industrial automation is a more advanced degree of mechanization, where people use machines to help with their work. Automation is one of the key mechanisms in achieving a functioning circular economy.



Backstop technology


Emission-free energy such as wind or sun, which is available without limits.


BAT (best available techniques)


The abbreviation BAT comes from the words best available techniques, i.e. the best usable techniques or the best available technology. BAT means the most effective, advanced, technically and economically feasible production and cleaning methods, as well as methods of planning, building, maintaining, operating and terminating the operation, which can prevent the cause of the operation cause environmental pollution and which are suitable as a basis for environmental permit regulations.


Big Data


See mass data.


Big data


A database characterized by large quantity, diversity, complexity and speed. In practice, it means collecting, storing, sharing, searching, analyzing and presenting huge unorganized and constantly increasing masses of data using statistics and information technology.


Bio-based material


Based on biomass, i.e. organic raw material (e.g. cellulose, sugar cane, corn). However, bio-based is not the same as biodegradable or compostable.




Biochar is produced in high-temperature, low-oxygen pyrolysis, i.e. dry distillation. In this way, the carbon has a very large surface area and a very porous structure. Plant-based biomass, usually wood, is used as raw material. Depending on the raw material, its uses include soil improvement, water or air purification. A ton of biochar can contain up to 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide.




Chemicals made from bio-based raw materials or side streams that aim to replace fossil-based chemicals. Biochemicals can be produced, for example, from recyclable and renewable wood biomass. Biochemicals are used especially in medicine.




Material that breaks down through a biological process (anaerobic or aerobic) into carbon dioxide and water.




Biodiversity, i.e. biological diversity (also biodiversity, natural spectrum or natural diversity) means the diversity of the living nature of the earth or some part of it. A general measure of biodiversity is species richness, i.e. the number of species in an area. Biodiversity also includes genetic variation within a species and the diversity of ecosystems created by species.


Biodynamic cultivation


A farming method based on the sustainable use of natural resources. The aim is to influence the cultivated crop by taking into account the rhythms of nature with the help of, among other things, composting, green fertilization, crop rotation and biodynamic sprays, i.e. preparations. Biodynamic farming does not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers, which is why it is also called an organic form of farming.




Bioeconomy utilizes renewable natural resources to produce food, energy, products and services. It is based on the sustainable use of resources in the production of products and services, where the most technically and economically advanced solutions are utilized.


As a concept, the bioeconomy is quite broad. The bioeconomy can be divided into the following subsections:


Green bioeconomy

Yellow bioeconomy

Blue bioeconomy


Also nature tourism as part of the bioeconomy.


See BAT.




Energy obtained from biofuels. Bioenergy makes up more than 80% of renewable energy in Finland and it covers 30% of the country’s energy consumption (2020).


See biofuel.




Fuel made from biomass, i.e. organic material. The most typical biofuels are bioethanol, biodiesel and wood chips. The fuel is renewable if the vegetation used for it is maintained or replanted. Circular economy biofuels




A gas containing methane (CH4), which is formed when microbes break down organic matter in oxygen-free, i.e., anaerobic conditions, such as manure or sewage sludge. Biogas is classified as a renewable fuel.


Biological cycles


A cycle in which bio-based raw materials and biodegradable materials taken from nature eventually return to natural cycles, so that no waste is generated at all. In biological cycles, biomaterial can be recycled back to manufacturing processes or to a new application. In addition, the biogas produced during the process can be used in energy production.




In biology, biomass means the combined weight of all living things on a certain surface area. It can also be an organic raw material in production and its amount is expressed either as fresh or dry weight.




Biome, or living community, is an ecological term that refers to large-scale entities made up of ecosystems, which have been formed by the combined effect of organisms and their physical environment, such as soil and climate. The most common biomes are:




A field of science that studies the functions developed in nature by evolution and refines them into industrial applications that benefit humans. Also known as biomimetics.




Bioplastic is a plastic that consists entirely or partially of renewable natural raw materials. Bioplastic can also be modified from a natural polymer. Bioplastic does not automatically mean a biodegradable product, as it only says that part of the product is made from bio-based raw materials.




Bioremediation, or bioremediation, means the use of biological organisms such as bacteria, fungi or plants to clean, for example, contaminated soil. Microbes are also often used in biocleaning.




A biotope, i.e. habitat type, is the habitat of organisms, where the key environmental factors are similar and therefore the organisms are of a certain type. In each biotope, you can find organisms that are typical for that biotope. Dividing the environment into different biotopes indicates the assumption that a certain type of environment is a prerequisite for the success of a certain species.


Blue economy


A business model that is based on economic activity that is sustainable and adapts to natural processes. The blue economy strives to make the best possible use of the available resources.


Boomerang effect


See rebound phenomenon.


Business ecosystem


A network where different types of private and public actors cooperate and create complementary products and services or develop new types of know-how and production resources.


Business idea


The idea of what the company does, how to get money as an entrepreneur.


Business plan


An extensive written plan of what the company is, what it does, how it makes a profit.


Business, trade


Everything the company does: manufacture products or services, invoice those to whom it sells products or services, pay taxes and other expenses, keep records of income and expenses.


By product


A material or substance that is created in the processing or production of another object, such as waste heat. These products are called side streams, which can be reused.



Carbon budget


The carbon budget means that carbon dioxidethe amount of side emissions that humanity can still emit and at the same time limit global warming to a certain limit, such as two degrees compared to the pre-industrial climate.


Carbon footprint


Climate emissions caused by human activity. Can be assigned to a company, organization, activity or product. Also consider other significant greenhouse gas emissions.


See environmental footprint.


Carbon handprint


The climate benefits of the product, process or service, i.e. the emission reduction potential for the user. It can be created by the state, a company, an association, or an individual person. Emphasizes positive emission effects in the future.


Carbon neutral circular economy


A carbon-neutral, i.e., net-emissions-free economic system that has adapted to the earth’s carrying capacity.


Carbon neutrality


A product, company, municipality or state that produces only as much carbon dioxide emissions as it can bind. The carbon footprint of a carbon-neutral product over the entire life cycle is zero. Finland is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2035. In addition, municipalities can set carbon neutrality goals for themselves.


Carbon risk


Measures to limit climate change pose risks to the operations and wealth of companies, investors, cities or states. Several solutions in line with the circular economy reduce the carbon risk.


Carbon sequestration


Carbon-containing substances are mainly tied up in the carbon stores of soil and seas. Changes in their ability to bind carbon affect the circulation of greenhouse gases on Earth. For example, plants bind carbon in photosynthesis.


See coal sink, coal storage.


Carbon sink


The carbon sink describes the growth of the carbon stock. All of nature’s own processes that bind more carbon than they release into the atmosphere act as carbon sinks. Changes in carbon sinks have significant effects on atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. When the carbon sink is destroyed, it becomes a carbon emission source.


Nature’s carbon sinks are


oceans (absorb about half of emissions)

forests and vegetation (photosynthesis)


soil (small amounts, agricultural lands usually carbon source) See also carbon sequestration and carbon storage.


Carbon storage


Carbon is bound, for example in forests, so that it is not in the atmosphere. The size of the carbon store changes when the carbon sink, i.e. the ability to store carbon, changes. The ability of forests to store carbon depends on e.g. about the age of forest trees; old stout logs and old-growth forest ecosystems store more carbon than young, fast-growing forests.


See carbon binding, carbon sink.


Cascading principle


Prioritizing the use of raw materials, promoting resource efficiency. For example, wood is first made into products with a higher degree of processing, which are reused or recycled and only lastly are they used for energy.


Center for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment


The business, transport and environment centers manage the regional implementation and development tasks of the state administration in Finland. ELY centers develop and support economic, social and ecologically sustainable well-being, and they are responsible, for example, for issuing land use permits.




A certificate is a certificate that refers to either a personal identifier in information technology, a certificate of the introduction of a quality system issued after a quality system audit, or a debt commitment of a business accountant. Environmental labels such as the Swan label and ISO 14001 are certificates that are used to prove that the product/service is certified according to the standards.


See auditing.




Charity means helping others without primarily pursuing one’s own interests.




European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and the Environment.


Circular economy


An economic model where more goods are not constantly produced, but consumption is based on using services instead of buying: sharing, renting and recycling. In the end, the materials are not destroyed, but products are created from them again and again. In a circular economy, economic growth does not depend on the consumption of natural resources. In this way, the value attached to the materials is preserved in society for as long as possible.


Circular economy business models


Circular economy business models aim to keep the product or value in circulation for longer or to produce value for the product or service with less (material) consumption. They can be divided into five different models:


sharing platforms

resource efficiency and recycling

extending the product life cycle

product as a service



Circular society


A society in which the ecosphere, technosphere and sociosphere are in balance and governed by economic practices that consistently and exclusively serve social well-being without crossing planetary boundaries.


Clean technology


see cleantech.




Cleantech or clean technology covers all technologies, products, services, processes and closed systems that promote the sustainable use of natural resources and prevent or reduce the negative environmental effects of business. Cleantech solutions maximize energy, material and water efficiency both economically and technologically. At the same time, they reduce emissions. The solutions can be intended for companies, individuals and communities


Climate anxiety


Climate anxiety is part of the wider phenomenon of environmental anxiety. Climate anxiety includes difficult feelings caused by environmental problems and their threat.


Climate change


Intensification of the greenhouse effect. Climate change is part of a wide range of environmental and sustainability problems and is also a consequence of human activity. The result of climate change is global warming and the resulting increase in extreme conditions, such as heavy rains, droughts, and intensification of storms.


Climate change mitigation


The countries that have signed the UN climate agreement (UNFCCC) are trying to prevent the most serious consequences of climate change by agreeing to limit the increase in the average surface temperature of the earth to less than two degrees Celsius compared to the level of the pre-industrial period.


Climate feedback


In connection with climate change, an event where the phenomena of climate change continue to affect the factors affecting the climate. In terms of climate change, it can be either positive, i.e. intensifying and warming the climate, or negative, i.e. weakening, cooling the climate.


Climate funding


Climate finance refers to public and private financing aimed at combating climate change or adapting to it locally, nationally and internationally.


Climate law


In the spring of 2021, an agreement was reached on the European climate law. With the Climate Act, the climate neutral goal by 2050 and the 2030 emission reduction goal of at least 55% are legally binding.


Climate risk


The risks caused by the direct or indirect effects of climate change on business operations of companies and society more broadly. The direct effect is, for example, drought caused by weather phenomena, and indirect effects are, for example, the weakening of grain yields caused by drought and the resulting rise in food prices.


Climate-smart agriculture


Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that guides actions to transform the agricultural system towards green and climate-resilient practices. Its goal is to influence the productivity of sustainable agriculture, the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, and the reduction of greenhouse emissions.


Closed-loop recycling


A system in which the materials used and generated in the production process are recovered and returned to the process in such a way that emissions or waste are generated as little as possible.




A cluster, or cluster, is a general term that refers to a group of objects of the same species that grow or otherwise stay together. A cluster can refer, for example, to biological species or to the geographical concentration of interdependent competitive companies engaged in business.




A unit of measure that indicates, in addition to carbon dioxide emissions, other significant greenhouse gas emissions, but are co-measured with this unit. For example, the carbon footprint is described in CO2 equivalents.


See Carbon footprint, GWP.


Collaborative consumption


See sharing economy.


Commitment 2050


A national long-term social commitment to sustainable development, with the help of which Finland implements the UN’s Agenda 2030 goals. Check out Commitment2050’s own pages.


See Agenda 2030.


Communal use


A system that offers independent users access to a product. There is a charge for the right to use, and the service can be corporate or community-based. Shared use reduces the need for an individual to tie up capital to a product. For example, various shared use possibilities have been planned for cars.


Comparative life cycle assessment


In a comparative life cycle assessment, the life cycles of two or more products or systems are compared to each other.




Compensation for loss, inconvenience or inferiority.




A situation where the damage caused to biodiversity by human activity is compensated by increasing biodiversity, for example by buying compensation units with an amount corresponding to the emissions generated.


Compensation for damages


The money that the person who caused the damage pays to the person who suffered the damage. In the event of environmental damage, the land owner receives compensation.


Compensation of emissions


The operator can buy the amount of emission reduction units corresponding to the emissions he causes. In this case, the party selling compensations uses the collected funds for projects whose goal is to curb climate change. The collected funds can be used to finance, for example, renewable energy or the sustainable use of land and forests.


See compensation.





A complaint that the customer makes to the seller when there is an error in the purchased product or service.


Compostable materials


Materials that can be disposed of with biological materials and land as nutrient-rich material.




A natural way to return organic, compostable waste back to the natural cycle


Conference of parties


UNFCCC decision-making body. The conference of the parties meets annually to assess the status of the framework agreement.



Conflict minerals


Conflict minerals refer to the acquisition of minerals from which the funds may be used to finance armed conflicts. The potential and obtained financial benefit can be a factor that aggravates or maintains the conflict. Used very widely, for example, in mobile phones, computers, cameras, cars, airplanes, medical devices, jewelry, and so on.


Conscious consumer


A consumer who is particularly aware of his purchase decisions and his own purchasing habits.




The highest legal act: the basic rights of citizens and the powers of the highest bodies of the state.


Consumer packaging


The packaging, which is in contact with the product, protects and preserves the product and helps the consumer in using the product.


Consumer-to-consumer, C2C


Peer-to-peer trading is trading between consumers, which usually takes place on online platforms or traditional flea markets. In peer-to-peer trading, consumers mainly sell used goods to other consumers. The most common reasons for peer-to-peer shopping are responsible consumption, ecology and affordability.


Corporate responsibility


The responsibility of a company or organization for its social, economic and environmental impacts. In responsible business operations, the company’s direct and indirect effects on the surrounding society are taken into account.


Social responsibility as a term is, on the other hand, more common in use by, for example, public organizations. Sustainable business can be defined as the simultaneous consideration of the three dimensions of sustainability, economic, social and ecological, in the company’s decision-making.



Cost effectiveness


Often, when looking at emission reduction targets and measures, cost-effectiveness estimates are used so that they can be ranked. Cost-effectiveness indicates the measure-specific price per reduced emission reduction unit.


Cradle to cradle


Cradle-to-cradle is a technical design model where the idea is that a product that is no longer in use should be relatively easily available as a raw material for a new product instead of being waste that is difficult to utilize.


Cradle to crave


Life cycle assessment, which evaluates the natural effects of a product or process from raw material procurement to the disposal phase


Cradle to gate


Life cycle assessment, which evaluates the natural effects of a product or process from raw material procurement to the manufacturing stage.


Critical raw materials


Raw materials that are of great economic importance and whose availability involves potential risks. Often very important for industry. The group includes e.g. rare earth metals and platinum group metals. By controlling side and waste flows, the availability of materials can be improved and their circular economy can be promoted.


Cruelty-free certificate


A certificate that guarantees that no animal tests have been used in the production of the product.


Cruelty-free, not tested on animals


A product, such as cosmetics, that has not been tested on animals.


CSR communication; responsibility communication


Responsibility communication makes visible the company’s social and environmental responsibility. The company’s values and striving for sustainable development are the basis.


Cultural sustainability


One of the four areas of sustainable development. It means nurturing and passing on things related to culture such as languages, traditions and customs. It also involves the development of coexistence between different cultures. In culturally sustainable development, diversity and balanced growth are accepted and everyone’s rights are valued and respected.


See sustainable development.





A non-binding, political statement by ministers attending an important meeting.




Separating things that have been connected until now so that both can be realized independently of each other. For example, disconnecting perceived well-being and economic growth from the consumption of natural resources. In relative decoupling, economic growth produces fewer emissions than before, and in absolute decoupling, emissions fall as a whole at the same time as the economy grows.


Degrowth thinking


Fiscal thinking or the principle of moderation, which is a perspective critical of the primacy of economic growth, capitalism and overconsumption, and a political, economic and social movement. Fiscal thinking is often based on environmental thinking and it encourages the reduction of production and consumption, i.e. the shrinking of the economy, because overconsumption is believed to cause long-term environmental problems and social inequality.




Dematerialization means production efficiency, i.e. that more goods and services are produced using fewer resources. With the help of dematerialization, the aim is to curb the environmental harm caused by the production and consumption of the product.


Depletion time


The time remaining before a particular natural resource is used up. See also natural resources.




A process that converts a monomer or a mixture of monomers into a polymer. The process is driven by an increase in entropy.


Design for disassembly


A design principle that requires post-use options for disassembling the product, component and materials


Design for recyclability


The design principle of the product, which takes into account the possibility of recycling the product after use.


Design for repairability


The product design principle based on which the products should be manufactured using materials that make the product them lpost to be repaired.


Design life


A design principle that requires maximizing the beneficial use of a product or service.


Desing for sustainability


A design principle that requires the optimization of the environment and social benefits associated with the use of a product or service.


DfA (design for all)


The result of the design is a versatile usable product or service that takes into account different users and operating environments. The process takes into account equality, diversity and inclusion.


Digital native


A generation with a particularly strong relationship with digital and technology. Diginative means either the representatives of the Y generation born between 1980 and 1995, or alternatively the so-called millennials, i.e. the representatives of the Z generation born between 1996 and 2010.


See millennials, Generation Z.




Converting analog information into digital format, which can mean, for example, scanning paper documents and converting them into electronic PDF documents.




Downcycling is the opposite of upcycling, where a valuable product is turned into a less valuable material or materials are recovered from it that can be used for another purpose. A typical downcycling example of this is plastic that is recycled into a new material, whereby the plastic becomes a less durable plastic. Another example is recycling a polyester shirt back into polyester yarn. The thread is perceived to be of lesser value than the original shirt.


See upcycling.




Downshifting is a way of life that emphasizes simplicity, uncomplicatedness and slow life (slow life). It is the opposite of career-oriented and busy lifestyle. The purpose of downshifting, which is also called appeasement or making life reasonable, is to improve the quality of life by reducing work and consumption. Its popularization as a life attitude among young adults can be seen as a protest against the materialistic, performance mentality of today’s society.




See downshifting


Due diligence


In Finnish, the term due diligence is used only in business life and usually only in a narrower sense of the inspection of the object of the acquisition by the party to the planned acquisition. This is used to map out the risks and responsibilities related to the business transaction in advance.



Earth overshoot day; overshoot day


Calculated, the day of the year when people’s ecological footprint exceeds the Earth’s annual biocapacity, i.e. the ability to produce renewable natural resources and process greenhouse gas emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels.


Earth’s ecological carrying capacity


The upper limit of the strain caused by consumption, production, waste and other human activities on nature. If this limit is exceeded, environmental damage will result, which will quickly affect our own well-being and livelihoods. The circular economy promotes the decoupling of economic growth from the overuse of natural resources, strengthening the earth’s ecological carrying capacity in the long term.




Means a balance sheet that details the material and energy flows related to the product or activity as the use of raw materials and environmental impacts.




Design in which consideration of environmental aspects is combined as part of product development work. Ecodesign can touch both product and service design. Ecodesign utilizes environmental knowledge, which is used to create innovative inventions or ways of doing things in a way that consumes less of the environment.




See ecodesign




See ecodesign.




Eco-efficiency refers to activities whose goal is to produce service and well-being with the least possible environmental impact and less consumption of natural resources.




European environmental label for energy maintained by various environmental organizations. In Finland, the ecolabel is administered and maintained by the Finnish Nature Conservancy (SLL). It is awarded to energy produced from renewable energy sources with certain criteria. The goal of the Ekoenergia ecolabel is to guide consumers in energy choices and to increase awareness of the environmental harms of energy production.




Entrepreneurship that strives for sustainable development and a green economy, as well as the use of natural resources, which at the same time is backed by know-how that utilizes new innovations.




The aim of the environmental label is to increase impartial information about the environmental effects of products and to guide the production and consumption of products in an environmentally friendly direction. With the help of environmental labels, a company can communicate to consumers about the competitiveness of its product in environmental matters.


See audit inti, certificate.


Ecological capacity


The upper limit of the strain caused by consumption, production, waste and other human activities on nature.


See Earth’s ecological carrying capacity.


Ecological compensation


Ecological compensation is a means of securing natural diversity. The goal of ecological compensation is to compensate for human-caused harm to biodiversity, which occurs, for example, in construction projects and the utilization of natural resources. A compensation credit is an increase in biodiversity somewhere other than in the degraded area.


Ecological construction


It means building in such a way that the environment is burdened as little as possible. When evaluating the environmental burden of a building, the entire life cycle of the building must be taken into account, from the production of building materials and the construction itself to the use of the building and ultimately also to demolition


Ecological design; sustainable desing


See ecodesign.


Ecological footprint


The ecological footprint describes how large an area of land and water is needed to produce the food, materials and energy consumed by a person or a group of people, as well as to process the generated waste. According to the environmental organization WWF, humanity’s ecological footprint already exceeds the earth’s carrying capacity by more than 25 percent. The ecological footprint is measured in the global hectare (gha).


See environmental footprint.


Ecological handprint


The ecological footprint is based on life cycle thinking and channels the product’s manufacturers to think about how the product reduces the footprint of its end user, i.e. the customer, or this customer’s footprint, i.e. the environmental impact. Instead of partial optimization, it looks at the entire product chain, starting from raw material acquisition and use to production, product use, disposal and recycling, and all the way to the final disposal of waste generated from the product.


See carbon fingerprint.


Ecological rucksack


Ecological backpack is the total amount of natural resources used to create a product or service in weight, i.e. the actual weight of the product, i.e. the amount of natural resources that the product requires; material and energy costs in all phases of the product, including transportation, use, final processing and so on. The calculation also includes the hidden and side flows of the product.


There are five different groups of ecological backpacks:


non-living or abiotic basic materials

living basic materials

agricultural and forestry land masses


air and its ingredients ecotourism or ecological tourism (eng. ecotourism)


See sustainable tourism.


Ecological sustainability


One of the four areas of sustainable development. At the core of ecological sustainability are the preservation of biological diversity and the functioning of ecosystems, as well as the long-term adaptation of human economic and material activities to the sustainability of nature. In terms of ecological sustainability, the key is to follow the precautionary principle.


See biodiversity, ecosystem, sustainable development, precautionary principle.


Economic responsibility


A business that operates profitably, competitively and efficiently, including anti-corruption measures, tax payments and environmental responsibility.


Economic sustainability


One of the four areas of sustainable development. It is balanced growth in terms of content and quality, which is not based on long-term indebtedness or the disposal of reserves. A sustainable economy is a prerequisite for the central functions of society and guides when making value choices.


See sustainable development.




A functional entity that is made up of interacting organisms living in an area with uniform natural conditions and their inanimate environment.


Ecosystem services


Material or immaterial goods or processes produced by biodiversity and functioning ecosystems, which are divided into four categories:


production services (e.g. food, water, pharmaceuticals, building materials)

maintenance services (e.g. photosynthesis, nutrient recycling, soil formation)

regulatory services (e.g. climate regulation, water purification, air purification)

cultural services (e.g. aesthetics, recreation, inspiration)


eet is produced from waste or side streams. Energy obtained from biofuel is called bioenergy.


See bioenergy, waste stream, side stream.


Electronic waste; e-waste


see SER scrap.



Emission right


Emission rights aim at neutralizing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by individuals or companies. Markets, companies, governments, and others buy emission rights in order to be able to comply with the emission limit set for them.


Emission trading


One of the three flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Countries that have signed the Kyoto agreement and have legally binding emission targets are allowed to produce a certain amount of greenhouse emissions.


Emission trading, burden sharing and LULUCF


In the EU, the emission reduction targets are divided into three different areas: burden sharing, LULUCF and emissions trading sectors. Emissions from agricultural activities are mainly reported in two of these sectors, i.e. the burden sharing sector and the land use sector (LULUCF). Purchased electricity from agriculture is reported in emissions trading as part of other electricity production.


End of life


The stage of a product’s life cycle when the product no longer has value to its original owner and is disposed of. See also life cycle, useful life.


End of life cycle


The product’s end-of-life date and the starting point for reuse, recycling or final disposal.


Energy efficiency


Improving the efficiency of energy use so that energy consumption is reduced in the production of services, deliverables and products. Energy efficiency is part of climate policy.


Energy tax


Energy tax is an environmental tax on energy substances, energy production and consumption. Energy taxes in Finland include the basic and additional taxes on transport fuels, light and heavy fuel oil, coal, fuel peat, natural gas and electricity, as well as maintenance security fees for these.


Environmental assessment


An assessment of the historical use of the soil or building, which includes sampling and chemical analysis to look for contaminants. The goal is to repair the environmental damage that happened in the past.


Environmental footprint


The environmental footprint aims to combine the different environmental effects and different footprints (ecological, carbon and water footprints) described by the life cycle assessment and serves as a measure of the environmental friendliness of the product or service. It also serves as a communication tool for environmental efficiency in addition to other metrics. More about footprints here.


Environmental handprint


Organizations can use environmental footprints to evaluate the positive environmental impacts that their customers can achieve by using the products or services offered by the organizations. You can find out more about the environmental footprint here.


Environmental impact


It includes negative and positive environmental effects, which by trying to form a net effect.


Environmental impact analysis


The environmental impact assessment procedure (EIA) aims to reduce or completely prevent the harmful environmental effects of the project.


Environmental indicator


A quantity that describes the state of the environment and its properties, and which is used in environmental accounting to describe changes caused by activities in the environment and helps in comparing environmental loads quantitatively over a certain period of time in relation to a certain factor.


Environmental management system


Management systems with which the company’s environmental issues are systematically managed and developed.


Environmental responsibility


A business that works to protect natural diversity and ecosystems so that nature’s sustainability is not exceeded.


Environmental restoration


See restoration.


Environmental toxins


Chemicals that have entered the environment as a result of human activity and that are harmful to humans or organisms.




Basic concepts and principles of a dignified human life. Ecological products and services are considered ethical.


Ethical consumption


Buying products or services from companies and associations that follow ethical practices and principles.


EU-REACT funding


The European Union’s REACT-EU instrument (recovery aid supporting cohesion and European regions) expands the crisis measures implemented through investment initiatives to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus and measures to repair the damage of the crisis, taking into account the support of social cohesion and climate goals.


See European Union.



European Commission


The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Its operations are managed by 27 commissioners, one of whom is the chairman of the commission.


European law


Legal rules issued by the European Union and agreed by the member states


See European Union.


European Union


European Union An economic and political union formed by 27 European member states.


Extended producer responsibility


Obliges a company that packages or imports packaged products to organize the collection and recycling of its packaging waste in its entirety and to bear the resulting costs. In addition, the waste act and the regulation concerning packaging stipulate the goals and requirements for the recycling and reuse of packaging for the responsibility of the producers.



Factors of production


Resources used in the production of commodities, i.e. goods and services. Economics is divided into three groups:


labor i.e. made by people

capital, i.e. production equipment and human capital

land and natural resources


Fair; just


Fairness and fairness means fairness, that which corresponds to the general concept of law. It can mean a human virtue as well as a characteristic of a social system or an act.


Farm to fork strategy


The Farm-to-Fork Strategy (2020) is one of the central actions of the European Green Development Programme. It promotes the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050 and aims to transition to a sustainable model in the current EU food system.


Fast fashion


A way of working, especially in the clothing and accessories industry, that relies on cheap prices, poor working conditions, constant innovation and a fast turnover of goods.




Damage caused by negligence or negligence.


Feedstock recycling


In chemical recycling, chemical reactions are used, with the help of which the material is returned to its original raw material by breaking down the polymer chains into smaller molecules.




Organic materials derived from the natural environment and engineered to degrade back into the natural environment.




An electronic database that contains Finnish legislation, jurisprudence, decisions and regulations of ministries and central agencies, State agreements and government proposals.


Fit for 55 package


The Fit for 55 climate package is a large package of climate and energy legislation proposals published by the Commission (July 14, 2021). The package answers how the EU should do it, so that in accordance with the goals, emissions can be reduced by at least 55 percent by the end of the year. The Fit for 55 package contains 13 legislative proposals, of which eight strengthen current legislative instruments and five are completely new regulations.




Flow, i.e. volume flow, is the volume of the amount of liquid passing through the cross-section of a flow channel (pipe, bed, watershed, etc.) in a unit of time. In the SI system, the unit of flow is cubic meters per second, or m3/s.


Food chain


The flow of food from primary production to households, “from field to table”. More about the food chain here.


Food security


All people have enough nutritious and safe food at all times to enable a healthy and active life. Food security is structured according to three basic pillars:


Food availability and supply stability: food is continuously available, either produced by the country itself or with the help of imported food. Food crises can be prevented and managed. A food crisis can be caused by e.g. crop loss due to a natural disaster or an unstable political situation.

Availability of food: people have at their disposal sufficient physical and financial resources to acquire foods suitable for a nutritious diet.

Usability and safety of food: the food fulfills the full nutritional content and people have basic knowledge related to nutrition and it is possible to handle the food hygienically.


The most significant causes of the opposite of food security, food insecurity, are poverty and climate change.



Food sovereignty


Food sovereignty is the right of nations to define their own agricultural and food policies. In other words, food should not be treated as a conventional market commodity, and agriculture cannot be applied as a similar technique all over the world, but must be adapted to suit local conditions.


Food system


A broader concept than the food chain, which aims to more broadly and realistically describe the chain formed by agriculture, industry, wholesale and retail trade, and households.


The food system is connected by the following three processes:


Biological processes through which food is produced and their ecological basis.

The economic and political processes through which food is produced, managed and regulated.

Social and cultural processes, such as cultural traditions and values, that influence food production.


Food waste


Food waste is unnecessary bio-waste, the generation of which can be avoided by better anticipation or by preparing or storing food differently. Food waste occurs at all stages of the food chain, but most of all it occurs in households.





In gasification, solid biomass is converted by a thermal process into a gaseous intermediate product, which can be further refined into renewable chemicals, biofuels for transport, and electricity and heat.


Generation Z


Those born between 1996 and 2010. This generation does not know a time before the internet and cell phones.




Geodiversity, i.e. geological diversity, consists of rock and soil and the variation of geological processes and surface forms together with climate factors. It is part of natural diversity together with biological diversity.


Geothermal energy


Geothermal heat is a heating system based on a heat pump that utilizes the energy radiated by the sun stored in the soil or water.


Global hectare (GHA)


A global hectare is a hectare-sized area whose ecological productivity corresponds to the average productivity of the earth.


Green chemistry


Green chemistry aims to develop the most environmentally friendly chemical compounds and processes for various needs and to reduce the use of dangerous or harmful substances in chemical products or processes.


Green deal


The European Green Deal, the green development program published by the Commission, was published in December 2019. The program presents the means by which climate neutrality will be achieved by 2050.


Green economy


The green economy is product development and service provision rooted in environmental protection or energy security. Typically, it is a low-carbon, resource- and energy-efficient economy that maintains or even increases natural capital and the benefits it provides. In the green economy, we move to a new kind of social activity that aims to increase people’s well-being within the limits of the earth’s carrying capacity. It is also expected to increase equity, by reducing poverty, maintaining employment and distributing resources responsibly.


Green electricity


General name for electricity produced with renewable forms of energy that pollute little or not at all. See also renewable energy sources.


Green growth


Economic growth based on low carbon and resource efficiency. In an effort to secure the availability of natural resources and promote social well-being.


Green infrastructure


Green infrastructure increases the climate resilience of urban areas and helps cities adapt to the challenges of a changing climate. Green infrastructure includes both natural areas, such as forests and streams, and constructed green areas, such as parks, green roofs and storm water structures.


Green investment


Buying climate- and environmentally friendly machines, equipment or real estate for production.


Green jobs


Jobs in the main industries of the green economy that promote environmental protection and/or energy security.


See green economy.


Green living


A lifestyle that aims to reduce one’s own carbon footprint by changing e.g. energy consumption, diet and exercise.


Green logistics


It is common to change the transport chain to load as little as possible on the environment.


Green washing


Greenwashing means superficial environmental friendliness that does not extend deeper than advertising. Its purpose is to clean up the reputation or guide the consumer to consider the service or product responsible.


Greenhouse effect


The ability of the atmosphere to absorb heat radiation reflected from the earth’s surface. This insulating ability means that heat does not escape into space.


Greenhouse emissions


Emissions usually mean greenhouse gases that cause global warming.


Greenhouse gas inventory


The UN climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions monitoring system oblige to monitor and report greenhouse gas emissions annually.


Greenhouse gases


The most important greenhouse gases naturally occurring in the atmosphere are


water vapor (H2O)

carbon dioxide (CO2)

methane (CH4)

nitrous oxide (N2O)

ozone (O3)


In addition, CFC compounds, i.e. freons, and F-gases, i.e. fluorinated greenhouse gases, which are mainly used in refrigerators and air conditioners, heat pumps, electrical switchgear, fire fighting, cellular plastic manufacturing, and as aerosols and solvents.


GRI (global reporting initiative)


The GRI standard is an international responsibility reporting guideline, the purpose of which is to help define the content to be reported and provide guidelines for presenting information. GRI’s goal is to create a generally accepted and global operating model for social responsibility reporting.


Gross margin


The gross margin can be calculated when variable costs are deducted from turnover.


Gross negligence


Gross negligence is considered negligent conduct that is close to intentionality. It is usually distinguished from ordinary negligence by the fact that gross negligence has features of the contracting party’s clear disregard for contractual obligations.



Ground-source heat pump


A ground source heat pump uses electricity to transfer heat from the ground to the object to be heated, and it produces a greater amount of heat than the electrical energy consumed by the pump.


GWP (global warming potential)


Greenhouse gas factor used in the calculation of carbon dioxide equivalent.


Hazardous waste


Causes a special danger or harm to health or the environment if it gets into the wrong place.


Hidden water


Means all the water that is consumed during the product’s entire life cycle: from raw material production until the product is treated as waste. The amount of hidden water can be calculated for any product. For example, it takes about a thousand liters of water to produce a liter of milk, approximately 400,000 liters to make a car.


Horizontal recycling


A method of recycling materials that allows the material in question to be reused in a similar operation as before.


Hybrid vehicle


A vehicle that uses not only oil-based fuel but also other fuels. Typically, the second energy source of a hybrid vehicle is electricity.




A chemical reaction in which hydrogen joins the unsaturated double or triple bonds of a molecule.





An image or idea of what a company is like: is it reliable, are its products good, does it act morally right.




Immaterialization includes the perception of a product as a service that fulfills some human need. Need satisfaction is replaced by intangible goods.


Impact business model


A business model whose purpose is to create positive social and/or environmental effects.




All-encompassing, inclusive, involving, integrating into society and the community.


Industrial ecology


A branch of science that studies material and energy flows in human-created industrial systems and consumption. Means a system that aims to optimize the material and energy flows of production processes so as to create the operation of non-systems is not disturbed and is therefore part of the circular economy.


Industrial metabolism


All physical and chemical processes occurring in industry.


Industrial symbiosis


An operating model based on cooperation, where companies effectively utilize each other’s side streams, technology, know-how and services. Another person’s side stream or waste turns into a productive resource for another, saves costs and reduces environmental impact. The operating model of industrial symbioses FISS operates in Finland.


Integrated responsibility


Responsibility is integrated into an essential part of both the company’s strategy and actions.




Integration means combining or collecting two separate things into one entity.


Intergenerational equity


Equality between generations refers to fair consideration of current and future generations in the face of climate change. This includes taking into account not only the current youth and adult generations, but also the unborn generations.




Goods intended for sale to customers. Current assets also include supplies that are used to build products that are sold to customers.


Inventory analysis


The first step in the product life cycle assessment, where the necessary information is collected from the entire product system, which is connected by material and energy flows.




Buying machines, equipment or real estate for production. The investments are used for several years and are not sold to the customer.


IoT (internet of things)


The Internet of Things is a network of networked objects, devices and vehicles. It is expected to reduce unnecessary work and costs, make operations more efficient, improve competitiveness and enable new businesses and services.




Abbreviation for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is an intergovernmental climate panel whose goal is to analyze scientifically produced information on climate change for national and international decision-making.


IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry)


International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry



Juridical system


The totality of all legal norms, i.e. binding rules and regulations.




A Japanese continuous improvement strategy based on the following principles: good production delivers good results, learn by seeing, communicate with data, manage based on facts, identify and fix the root causes of problems, and work as a team.


Kyoto protocol


A document supplementing the UN climate agreement, which entered into force in 2005. See also the Paris climate agreement.





See final investment.




A demarcated and managed disposal area for unusable waste and inorganic waste, i.e. a landfill.




Landscaping means any activity that changes the visible features of a land area. For example, trees, plants, hedges or trellises can be used in landscaping, which can selectively create shade and protection from the winter wind in agriculture. Landscaping architecture is also used for stormwater management, among other things.


Law on environmental protection


The Finnish Nature Conservation Act (SDK 1096/1996) is the main law of Finnish nature conservation legislation, which has connections with many other laws or directives related to nature conservation.


LCA (life cycle analysis)


See life cycle assessment.


LCD (least developed countries)


See least developed developing countries.




Leasing One of the five business models of the circular economy, where the customer pays for the long-term rental of movable fixed assets, such as machines, equipment and vehicles. Leasing of buildings and fixed assets is also possible.




See leasing.


Least developed developing countries


The poorest countries in the world. According to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) definition, least developed developing countries have low income levels, weak human resources and are economically vulnerable.



Legal act


An expression of will by which rights are established, changed or revoked (e.g. an offer).


Life cycle


Means the life cycle of a product or service, which takes into account all the stages that a product or service goes through during its life cycle: procurement of raw materials, processing, production, use, end of life and transport. Dematerialization and immaterialization are utilized in designing the life cycle to be more environmentally friendly.


See dematerialization, immaterialization.


Life cycle assessment (LCA)


In a life cycle assessment, the environmental effects of a product or service are investigated from the stage of obtaining raw materials to its abandonment. The stages of the life cycle assessment are the definition of the goals and scope of the life cycle assessment, the life cycle inventory, the life cycle impact assessment and the interpretation of the results of the life cycle assessment, where the results of the above mentioned stages are combined and possible conclusions and recommendations are presented. The tool can also be used to compare the environmental friendliness of different products.


See life cycle inventory, life cycle impact assessment.


Life cycle cost


Life cycle costing is a method used to evaluate the economic effects of a product or system during its life cycle. Costs are incurred, for example, in the production of raw materials, manufacturing, processing, storage, transportation, use, maintenance and repair of materials, as well as the utilization and final treatment of generated waste.


Life cycle impact assessment


In the life cycle impact assessment, the information obtained in the life cycle inventory is classified, described and valued as part of the life cycle assessment.


See life cycle assessment, life cycle inventory.


Life cycle inventory (LCI)


In the life cycle inventory, the material and energy flows related to the product or activity are detailed as the use of raw materials and environmental impacts as part of the life cycle assessment.


See life cycle assessment.


Life cycle management


Life cycle management is the inclusion of life cycle thinking in decision making.


Life cycle model


Contract package, with which the design, construction and maintenance of the building is procured as a single entity. It is the Finnish equivalent of the international Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement model.


Life cycle thinking


The basic principle of life cycle thinking is that the environmental impacts caused by the product must include not only the manufacturing process, i.e. the direct impacts, but also the indirect impacts, i.e. all the environmental impacts that are caused in the different phases of the product’s life cycle before and after its manufacture. The goal is to find out the overall effects of the product’s manufacture and use.


Lifetime, service life


The time the product will remain usable if properly used and maintained. Technical and economic lifetimes can also be set for the service life.


See life cycle.


Limit change adaptation


Adaptation to climate change refers to both political and practical actions by which various actors reduce, prepare for and adapt to the various effects of climate changeand related risks. The goal of adaptation is, for example, to reduce the danger to people or the financial damages that may be caused by the effects.


Linear economic model


The current economic system, if a material taken from nature passes through the economic system and ends up back in nature as waste. The system is based on the introduction, production, consumption and disposal of natural resources.


Linear risk


The risk that the company faces when relying on a linear economic model based on producing products from new raw materials and disposing of the product after use. See also linear economic model.




A product that is grown, produced, manufactured and sold in a specific area. Local products are typically less processed and produce less carbon dioxide emissions.


Local raw materials


Raw materials that have been sourced and processed in the same region where they are consumed.


Lock-in situation


A situation where the design or manufacturing process prevents innovation.


Loss of biodiversity


Biodiversity loss means the impoverishment of natural diversity as a result of human activities. Global warming, land use and pollution are the root causes of the impoverishment of biodiversity.


LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry)


LULUCF is an abbreviation of the English words land use, land use change and forestry. The LULUCF regulation includes emissions and sinks from forests, agricultural lands and wetlands.


See emissions trading, burden sharing sector.



Machine learning


Machine learning is one of the subgroups of artificial intelligence that improves its performance by learning independently from data withoutseparate operating instructions. Most applications utilizing artificial intelligence are based on machine learning.




Demand and supply of the product or service, opportunities to sell, area where you can trade.


Material flow


The material flows of the national economy describe in tons the amount of substances taken from domestic nature or otherwise transferred and changed, the raw materials and processed products imported from abroad, and the export of raw materials and processed products. The material flow includes transporting and storing meals and products.


Material input


The amount of natural resources used to make a product or raw material. The material input is the sum of the ecological backpack and the raw material or the product’s own weight


Means of competition


The things a company uses to get customers to buy its products or services, e.g. product quality, price, advertising or environmental friendliness.


Mechanical recycling


A process in which, with the help of mechanical processes, the material is modified for a new purpose. Ways can be e.g. crushing and tearing.




They describe long-lasting, large and slowly changing and often interconnected phenomena that do not change in an instant.


MFA (Material flow analysis)


Material flow analysis is a method for studying the implementation of the circular economy and for managing material flows. The method can be applied to the evaluation of the material consumption of the national economy, region, company or product.


Micro plastics


A plastic particle that is synthetic and does not biodegrade. Microplastic is less than 5 millimeters in size and is often created when plastic products become brittle.




Those born from the beginning of the 1980s to the mid-1990s/2000s, i.e. Generation Y.




A naturally occurring solid element or inorganic compound with a specific composition and usually a regular crystal structure.


MIPS (material input per service unit)


Eco-efficiency measurement unit that compares the material input of a product or service to the number of service times it offers


Mixed waste; household waste


Non-recyclable waste. Mixed household waste ends up in incinerators in the area to produce energy and heat.


Modular design


A manufacturing method in which the product to be built is divided into sub-assemblies suitable for standardized factory production. Standards for connecting parts are created.




An entity consisting of different modules, where a product, service, space or organization can be split into parts and re-connected to meet different needs. Modular solutions are flexible and adaptable.




An independent part of a whole. By combining several different modules, different entities can be assembled


MSW (Municipal solid waste)


Waste generated in the final consumption of products in communities, which is generated mainly in households and service sectors, as opposed to industrial waste, which is generated in production.




Contains ingredients that come from nature and are not created by humans.


Natural resources


Natural resources mean everything in nature that humans can use for their own benefit. Natural resources are divided as follows:


reserves and flows

animate and inanimate

intangible and tangible


Nature conservation


Nature conservation is an activity whose goal is the preservation of living species, habitat types, natural diversity, natural beauty and landscape values.


Negative emissions


Achieved by sequestering more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than is released into the atmosphere. For example, by increasing forest and soil sinks, combining bioenergy production with carbon capture and storage, and absorbing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.


Net impacts


Means the result obtained by subtracting the negative effects from the positive effects. The sum of greenhouse gas emissions and emissions. A sink is a process, action, or mechanism that sequesters a greenhouse gas, aerosol, or their precursor from the atmosphere.


Net sink


A sink is a process, action, or mechanism that sequesters a greenhouse gas, aerosol, or their precursor from the atmosphere.


No-debit rule


The member state must ensure that there are no emissions from the land use sector during the selected period. The sector’s emissions must be compensated by other activities of that sector.


Non-renewable resources


Natural resources that are limited in quantity. Divided into two different categories: perishable and sustainable. Depleting natural resources decrease as they are used, while sustainable natural resource sources deplete as they are used, but can be reused unlike depleting natural resources.


Nutrient cycle


Nutrient cycling ensures the circulation of useful nutrients necessary for life in the ecosystem so that they are not wasted. Wasted nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, eutrophicate water bodies and accelerate the depletion of resources. At the moment, the nutrient cycle is disrupted on Earth. A lot of nutrients are lost at different stages of the entire food chain.


Nutrient cycle


It is related to the solid nutrient cycle and refers to the processing and utilization of side streams generated in agriculture and the entire food chain, such as manure, sewage sludge, biomass and waste, so that the useful nutrients they contain – especially phosphorus and nitrogen – can be taken back into the cycle and used as fertilizer, for example. Without nutrient recycling, sufficient food production for the entire world’s population is threatened.



Ocean Therman energy conversion


The operation of the marine thermal power plant is based on the temperature differences of the seawater at different depths. The sun’s heat causes a temperature difference between the upper and lower layers of the sea. The marine thermal power plant converts the temperature difference into energy by means of a thermodynamic cycle. The generated gas is directed to the thermal power plant, and the gas coming out of the plant is compressed with the help of deeper, cold seawater.


Open-loop recycling


Use of the used product, its part or process waste as a raw material for other types of products or in energy production.


Operating environment


All that is outside the company. The operating environment can consist of, for example, customers, competitors, authorities or the European Union.


See European Union.




A mandatory rule issued by an authority.



A natural mineral deposit from which metals can be economically produced.




Organic products do not use genetically modified crops, growth promoters or hormones.



Paris agreement


The UN international climate agreement governing climate policy, which was renewed in 2015. It complements the agreement concluded in 1992. The central goal of the climate agreement is to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a harmless level.


Patent protection


Anyone can apply for protection for their invention, e.g. for a new product, from the Patent and Registration Board, then no one else can copy the product.


Permanent emission reduction measure


Persistence means that carbon dioxide has been bound in a long-term storage, for example in a forest. If the forest is cut down or burned, the climate benefit is lost. This makes measuring the persistence of emissions challenging. In agriculture, too, there are challenges in measuring the permanence of carbon dioxide stocks, because when various agricultural measures are implemented, for example when tilling the land, emissions are released into the air. In addition, the definition of permanence is not standard, and there is no commonly agreed time limit for it.




In photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to form sugar and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere. Connecting is also the first stage of carbon binding. Plants use about half of the carbon dioxide they absorb to grow biomass.




Phytoremediation is the cleaning of contaminated soil, wastewater or indoor air with the help of plants.


Planetary boundaries


A concept used to assess the conditions for human well-being in a world of growing development needs and environmental risks. Some of these threshold values have already been exceeded, such as the threshold values related to genetic diversity and nitrogen and phosphorus cycling.


Planned obsolescence


A phenomenon related to the industrial design or design of consumer products, where the product manufacturer designs the product in such a way that the product loses its usability before the consumer has used up the product, so that consumers would replace the consumable part or buy a new product more often.


Plastic free


A product that does not contain plastic in itself or in the packaging.




A Japanese system of how to achieve the ultimate attainable level of production quality, zero defect level. Poka yoke is a human- or machine-based system whose central idea is 100% investigation of the origin of errors.




Portfolio can mean an earnings folder, a stock portfolio or an investment portfolio.


Precautionary principle


Gives the right to take certain measures to protect the environment or consumers, even if the information about environmental harm is not certain, but the phenomena could be serious or irreversible. In connection with the precautionary principle, we can also talk about the precautionary principle and risk management.




The manufacturing stage of an industrial product. Prefabrication can be, for example, a method of construction in which the parts of the finished entity are already built in a factory, workshop or other construction site before the actual assembly or construction of the final product.




A thing that must exist or be ready before something else happens.


Primary packaging


See consumer packaging.


Private leasing


An individual offers a product he owns for rent, either directly or through an intermediary.


See leasing.


Product as a service


One of the circular economy business models. In it, the product is rented or leased or performance is offered as a service. Functionality is sold instead of owning the product, as for example with rarely used products.


See circular economy business models.


Product life cycle extension


One of the circular economy business models. The product can be repaired, serviced, updated and resold or manufactured, thus extending the product’s useful life for its original purpose.


See circular economy business models.


Product lifecycle


See life cycle.


Product lifetime extension


Features of the product that extend the time the product can serve its intended purpose.


PSS (Product-service system)


A business model where the product and related service are delivered consistently.


Public projects promoting the circular economy


Public projects that aim to promote social activities that utilize circular economy business models


Public transportation; public transit; mass transit


A system where passengers do not travel in their own vehicles. Public transport or public transport includes train and bus services as well as ferries, metros and trams. Public transport is maintainedthan as a more environmentally friendly form of movement.




Dry distillation, where at a high temperature without oxygen or in a very small amount of oxygen, in a pyrolysis reaction, the product is broken down into the desired product. The final products are either solid, liquid or gaseous.





The final approval of a framework agreement, protocol or agreement, often by a country’s parliament or other legislative body. Ratification enables the state to become a party to the agreement.


Raw material, feedstock


A processable natural resource or semi-finished product from which finished end products or materials are processed.


Rebound phenomenon


A situation where the solution to a problem reduces the benefits or worsens the problem itself. For example, changing a car to a newer one that consumes less fuel can increase driving, or when a technological innovation leads to cost and resource savings in production, thanks to which products become cheaper. This, in turn, can ultimately lead to greater overall production and consumption. Simply focusing on resource and eco-efficiency as partial optimization does not necessarily promote the circular economy as a whole.


Recoverable or/and recyclable material


A waste fraction that can be reused either as such or as a raw material for another product. See also recycled product/recycled material/recycled product



Recycle; reuse


Reuse is the reuse of a discarded substance, object or other useful waste. Synonym for recycling.


Recycled fiber


See recycled fiber.


Recycled fiber; secondary fiber


Recycled fiber produced from material already in use using recycling methods. For example, plastics and textiles can be returned to fibers and new recycled materials can be made from them.


Recycled product


See remanufactured product.


Recycled product


A product made from recycled material.




Recycling means using a material, object or other cultural thing for benefit in a new context. It also reduces air, water and land pollution caused by waste disposal.


Recycling material


Material removed from its original use, which is modified into a material suitable for the same or a new purpose.




The processes and actions of markets, companies, governments and individuals that aim, for example, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


REE (Rare earth elements)


Elements with exceptional chemical and physical properties. They occur in very small concentrations, never alone and mixed with different types of minerals and therefore challenging to acquire from an economic point of view.


REE metal (rare-earth element metals)


See rare earth metals.




A rule on how to use the law. It is issued by the President of the Republic, the Government Council or a ministry.




The product is updated or remanufactured into a similar product.




The removal of pollutants or contaminants from soil, groundwater, sediment, surface water or buildings for the general protection of human health and the environment.




One of the circular economy business models. Renewable, recyclable and biodegradable materials and renewable energy are used in the design and manufacture of the product. In addition to manufacturing and product sales, the company can also sell its industry-related know-how to others.



Renewable energy resources


Solar, wind, water and bio energy, geothermal energy and energy from waves and tidal movements. Read more about energy.


Renewable resources


Such natural resources that do not run out. However, the condition is that they are not used more than they have time to renew.


Repair; restore; refubis


Restoring the product to working condition by replacing or repairing broken or damaged parts and improving the appearance of the product, e.g. by cleaning, painting or changing fabrics.




The ability of people and communities to function in changing conditions, to face disturbances and crises and to recover from them, such as the ability of society to recover from war or the ability of nature to restore the balance of ecosystems. The attributes associated with resilience are flexibility, elasticity and recovery. The circular economy is resilient because it is not based on scarce raw materials or their over-consumption and is built on contingency, operational flexibility and self-sufficiency.


Resource efficiency


Describes activities aimed at reducing the environmental load in the production and consumption of products and services, from raw materials through final consumption to recycling and disposal.


The danger of resource efficiency is partial optimization of resource use, which is often not resource-wise. It is also one of the business models of the circular economy, where waste and side streams are processed using technologies into recycled materials and recycled products.


See business models, resource wisdom.


Resource scarcity


As the world’s population grows and the population becomes more prosperous, the need for energy, water, farmland and many key raw materials continues to grow strongly. This can substantially weaken the availability of resources in the future, which leads to a significant increase in the prices of raw materials.


Resource wisdom


The ability to use various resources thoughtfully and in a way that promotes sustainable development. In its immediate sense, resource efficiency is a broader concept, as it examines the consumption of resources absolutely at the level of society, in order to achieve a holistic to a poor result.


Resource-based economy


According to the resource-based economy, the basis of the economy should be resources instead of money. A resource-based economy makes use of available resources, providing a method by which natural resources can be distributed in the most fair, humane, and efficient manner.


Resource-wise economy and carbon neutral society


A society that does not produce carbon dioxide emissions or waste and does not exceed the earth’s ecological carrying capacity. The circular economy meets both challenges: both increases resource wisdom and promotes carbon neutrality.




A responsible product or service provides environmental, social and economic benefits while minimizing the product’s negative impacts throughout its life cycle.


Responsibility report


Tells about the company’s essential environmental, economic and social impacts on stakeholders and the environment.


Responsibility strategy


Connecting sustainable development to the company’s strategy or the company’s sustainable development strategy.


Responsible investingn


Taking into account environmental issues, factors related to social responsibility and governance issues in investment activities while improving the return and risk profiles of the portfolio.


Responsible marketing


A transparent marketing method that supports the company’s responsibility strategy and actions.




Restoration is a means of speeding up the return of the human-modified environment back to its natural state or as close to it as possible. It is a kind of process in which a damaged natural resource is biologically, structurally and functionally restored.




The product or its part is reused as is. Reuse can be either for the same or a different purpose than originally. The product that ends up as waste is therefore used either as is, by repairing it or by changing its intended use.


Reverse logistics


The return of the product flow from the customer to the original supplier, repairer or retailer. It is part of a whole that includes, in addition to product collection and transportation, testing, sorting, repair, recycling and redistribution, which functions as one part of enabling the circular economy.



Risk management


A plan made in advance of what to do if an accident or damage occurs and how to prevent damage.



SDGs (sustainable development goals)


The 17 sustainable development goals agreed by the UN member states in 2015 and are part of the sustainable development goal program Agenda2030. Read more detailed descriptions of each item on the website of the UN of Finland.


See agenda 2030, sustainable development.


Secondary packaging


A package that holds one or more consumer packages together.




A group of industries with similar business processes, products or services, such as construction or health services.


SER waste (electrical and electronic waste)


Electrical and electronic waste. Electrical waste is equipment that has been put out of use and that needs electricity to operate.


Shared economy


A sharing economy is a shared or communal economy in which goods are shared, borrowed or rented instead of owned. Various digital platforms and applications enable it to be implemented on a practical level in modern times. In the sharing economy, underutilized commodities are put to efficient use, which increases the utilization rate of products and we can reduce the need for virgin and new products. The sharing economy is sometimes also called shared consumption.


Sharing platform


With the sharing platform, consumers and companies can easily borrow, rent, sell or otherwise share their own resources, such as their goods, premises and expertise. It is also one of the business models of the circular economy, where excess capacity and various resources can be used more efficiently by often utilizing digital services.


See circular economy business models.


Sixth wave of extinctions


The sixth mass extinction is a wave of extinction that started as a result of human activity, which has led to the extinction of several species in the Holocene period, as well as the disappearance of the populations of the remaining species and a decrease in the number of individuals.


Slow Food


Slow Food is an international association and civil movement that wants to protect the diversity of food and agriculture and the world’s food cultural heritage. Slow food seeks a calmer lifestyle that values food. It can take time to prepare and eat it.


See downshifting.


Smart & Clean


A technology, product, service, city or region that, with the help of digitization, guides the consumer or company to environmentally clean choices.


Smart growth


A form of urban and traffic planning whose purpose is to promote a better life for everyone. Smart growth saves resources, protects nature, strengthens local businesses and creates vibrant neighborhoods by making use of buildings already in use and using a smaller area in land use so that everything you need is within walking distance.

Social design


Designing a change that aims to improve the quality of life. It can also be the social and communal impact of a need coming from the community with the methods of art and design.


Social responsibility


A business method that promotes the company’s social responsibility.


Social sustainability


A business that works in accordance with society and social interests. One of the four areas of sustainable development. It means equality for all people, gender equality, health and education.


See sustainable development.


Solar power; solar energy


Solar electricity is produced by a solar panel. The panels consist of solar cells, where the energy of the sun’s rays creates an electrical voltage. Photovoltaic systems can also be installed in residential and office buildings, in which case they produce part of the energy needed in the building.


Source of emissions


An emission from an isolated source. Emission sources can be random, point-like or diffuse emissions from a wide area or from several sources.


Strengthening the ability to function


In the context of climate change, strengthening operational capacity means developing technical skills and institutional capacity in developing countries, so that they could respond to the causes and consequences of climate change in an efficient manner.


Subject to license


A business that requires a permit from an authority, e.g. pharmacy operations, mining operations, energy operations.




Replacing something with another.


Supply chain


A network where different organizations cooperate to guide and develop material or service flows as well as related money and information flows. In the supply chain, up to 80 percent of the total time can be value-free time. logistics is part of supply chain management.




Surplus is an item in the income statements of municipalities and municipal associations, cooperatives, associations and foundations that corresponds to the profit in the income statements of companies. A surplus is created when the revenues for the financial period are greater than the expenses.


Sustainable business


See corporate responsibility.


Sustainable consumption


Environmentally conscious and sustainable consumption means that the consumer takes into account the environmental harm caused by consumption and prefers ecological alternatives in their choices.


Sustainable development


Sustainable development is global, regional and local continuous and controlled social change, the goal of which is to secure good living opportunities for current and future generations. In sustainable development, the environment, people and the economy are taken into account equally in decision-making and operations. It is often divided into ecological, economic, social and cultural aspects of sustainable development.


See ecological sustainability, economic sustainability, socialn sustainability, cultural sustainability.


Sustainable food system


Food produced in a sustainable food system promotes health, and its production and consumption take place while saving natural resources and optimally using and recycling them. In addition to crop production, the versatile system takes care of the soil and curbs climate change while adapting to it. In addition, the food producer and consumer are closer to each other in the food chain.


Sustainable tourism


Tourism that takes into account its current and future economic, social and environmental effects. The sustainable use of natural resources, environmental protection and community and cultural activities are at the center, while taking care of the various needs of tourists, the tourism industry, the environment and target communities. You can learn more about sustainable tourism and its principles here.


Synthesis gas; syngas


General name for a gas containing hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Synthesis gas has wide application possibilities in the chemical industry, and it is often produced by gasifying coal or biomass.


Systemic change


Systemic change refers to the simultaneous change of operating models, structures and these interactions, which creates conditions for future well-being and sustainable development.


Systems thinking


Based on the idea that everything affects everything. The research object is not divided into parts, but the aim is to see how the different parts affect the whole, i.e. the system.



Technical cycles


The focus of technical cycles is material development and product design as well as industrial symbioses. In the technical cycle, semi-finished products and materials are recycled back into components or raw materials for new production after the end of the products’ useful life.


Tertiary packaging


See transport package.


Textile waste


Including textile unnecessary for the owner as well as textile waste and textile products. Of these, the textile products can be used for their original purpose. Unsorted waste textiles are treated as waste.


Textile waste


Disused, broken and/or dirty textile that is not suitable for reuse. All unsorted waste textiles are waste.


The Green Transition


The green transition refers to a change towards an ecologically sustainable economy and growth that is not based on overconsumption of natural resources and fossil fuels. A sustainable economy relies on low-carbon and solutions that promote the circular economy and biodiversity.


Thermal recycling


A process that utilizes thermal energy, in which the material is melted so that it can be modified into a new raw material.


Tidal energy


Tidal energy, or tidal power, is a form of energy production based on the utilization of tides. Typically, power plants are based on a power dam limiting the flow of the tide, where water turbines are placed.


Tipping point


Describes any process whose rate of occurrence accelerates dramatically after a certain point. A phenomenon that was previously considered rare is spreading quickly.


To revert


Returns or undoes something to a previous state.


TOD (transit-oriented development)


Comes from the words transit-oriented development, which is a form of urban planning aimed at sustainable urban growth. TODs aim to maximize the number of residential, business and leisure spaces within walking distance of public transport. The aim is to promote a symbiotic relationship between the use of public transport in a compact and dense urban form.


See public transport.




Unit of measure for mass. Symbol t. 1 t = 1,000 kg. The symbol for a kiloton is kt. In large-scale production, the expression thousand tons (abbr. ttn) can be used for this, which is one million kilograms.




Describes the extent to which the company’s operations are open, visible and noticeable to outsiders.



Triple bottom line


A reference framework containing a social, environmental and economic perspective, which aims to make business more sustainable.



The northern coniferous forest zone, or taiga

Temperate forest (major hardwood forest)

Heinikkomaa (which includes, for example, prairie, steppe and pampa)

Leather-leaved, i.e. Mediterranean vegetation


Tropical rainforest


In addition, water areas can also be classified as biomes. A rough division can be made, for example, between fresh and salt water.




A turbine is a rotating machine that converts the energy of the flowing medium into the rotational energy of the turbine. Usually, a generator is attached to the turbine shaft, which converts kinetic energy into electrical energy.




The company’s sales revenue without value added tax. Turnover only includes income from the company’s actual business operations.





The UN Global Compact is a corporate responsibility initiative launched by the UN in 2000. The UN agreement encourages companies to adopt a sustainable and responsible way of operating and to report on their implementation.




Changing useless material into a new form so that the material has even better quality or greater value. For example, clothing can be made from textile waste, such as production surplus or scraps.


Urban mining, urban mining


Recovery of metals from, for example, buildings and city infrastructure.




A social phenomenon in which the share of the population living in cities in the total population increases. Urbanization is one of the megatrends. Jobs and a better living usually attract people to move to cities. Urbanization is also referred to as urbanization.



Validity period


The validity period can be related to lunch vouchers, gift cards, movie tickets as well as contracts.


Value chain


Describes the step-by-step processing of a commodity from raw material to a finished product. Each step or process in the value chain increases the value of the product. A typical example of a value chain is the process of designing, manufacturing and distributing a product.


Verifiable emission reductions measure


The verifiability or reality of emission reduction means that the compensation must not involve carbon leakage. Carbon leakage is often referred to, for example, in discussions related to forest emission reductions, where, in cases of limiting felling of Finnish forests, the increase in felling of trees abroad is considered.




Separation of business income and expenses.


Virgin material


Previously unused material, primary material.


Voluntary measures


Voluntary actions refer, for example, to the reduction of greenhouse emissions by companies or other operators without contractual obligations. Voluntary actions facilitate the availability of climate-friendly products and processes and encourage consumers to think environmentally friendly when they make purchasing decisions.




A substance or object that its owner has decommissioned, plans to decommission or is obliged to decommission. Waste is a man-made concept, because no waste is created in nature, but everything is utilized and recycled in a continuous circulation of matter.


Waste hierarchy


See waste hierarchy.


Waste hierarchy


The waste hierarchy, i.e. the order of priority, means the order of importance of waste management operations. According to the waste legislation, the waste hierarchy must be followed in all activities as far as possible. It is primarily necessary to reduce the amount and harmfulness of the generated waste.


Waste management


Waste management is a basic service that affects the health and living environment of citizens and is part of the infrastructure of communities. The focus of waste management is shifting from the traditional landfill to recycling and other beneficial uses. Other waste management methods include incineration, composting and reducing the generation of waste.


Waste sorting


Collection of a certain fraction of waste separately and separately from other types of waste.


Waste water


Water that can cause environmental pollution. Wastewater treatment is governed by the Environmental Protection Act.





See energy waste.




Waste sorted from mixed waste, from which heat and electricity can be obtained by burning in a power plant.


Water footprint


Means the total amount of water required by all consumption, when hidden water is added to people’s direct water consumption, the water footprint is obtained. The water footprint illustrates how much water our lifestyle requires. The daily water footprint of a Finn is almost four thousand liters. Almost half of that comes from hidden water contained in foreign products.


See environmental footprint.


Wave energy


Wave power or energy is an energy production method under development, where the energy of waves generated by the wind is converted into electricity. The method is still in the experimental phase. Due to the high cost level of energy, not many wave power plants have been built in the 2010s.


Wicked problem


A thorny problem is a problem that is particularly difficult to solve. A hissy, fiendish or evil problem usually involves many factors and variables that make the problem complex. Different values and perspectives are often associated with such a problem and can be characterized as open and changing over time. Fiscal problems are unique, in which case the solution models are not directly transferable from one problem to another.



Yasso07 reporting standards


A reporting model that measures the change in short-term carbon stocks in agriculture, i.e. plant residues and manure application (harvest is not reported). Yasso modeling is only suitable for mineral soils (not peat soils) and predicts the decomposition of organic matter based on its chemical quality and climatic conditions. Yasso does not model the amount of carbon ending up in the ground. Yasso modeling is used in national greenhouse gas reporting.



Zeitgeist movement


The Zeitgeist movement is a global grassroots people’s movement that aims to drive a resource-based economy. The business is open and has no official memberships. The Zeitgeist movement does not pursue its goals through political activity, but tries to get people to act differently by pushing their own views.



Zero waste


See zero waste.



Zero waste


A thinking model whose central point of view is to reduce waste and aim for a lifestyle where no waste is produced that cannot be recycled.


Zero-energy house


Means a building that produces as much energy as it consumes. The sum of total consumption on an annual basis is zero (YSA low-energy houses, passive houses, plus-energy houses)

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