Safeguarding Finland’s future: The interplay of circular economy and comprehensive security

Published 29 June 2023


In a world marked by interconnectedness, Finland recognises the importance of comprehensive security in ensuring the wellbeing of its society. As Finland sets its sights on a carbon-neutral circular economy by 2035, it becomes crucial to explore the security implications of this transition. This project aims to shed light on the interlinkages between circular economy and comprehensive security, particularly from the perspective of technologies. By delving into this uncharted territory, we aim to equip ministries and the private sector with a deeper understanding to shape Finland’s future security landscape.


Context of vulnerability

The vital functions of Finnish society heavily rely on complex international infrastructures and processes. Beyond power politics, recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian war of aggression, and Finland’s ascension to NATO have highlighted the fragility and vulnerability of cross-border flows. In the face of these multifaceted threats, complacency is not an option. For a small and open country like Finland, strong international political, economic, and technological links are indispensable to safeguard critical societal functions. Recognising Finland’s limited self-sufficiency in critical materials and technologies, it becomes clear that it relies extensively on the global network economy.


Comprehensive security in an interdependent world

Finland’s national comprehensive security efforts have long acknowledged this reality. Through its national security of supply and preparedness policy, as well as its broader external relations, Finland has placed its trust in effective multilateral governance, cooperative security, and the predictability of the external environment. These principles, upheld within a liberal rules-based world order, have been crucial in sustaining international peace and the functioning of societies. However, the evolving operating environment brings forth new challenges that demand innovative concepts and approaches to uphold and develop overall security.


The role of circular economy

Enter the circular economy–a transformative approach aiming to reduce the use of natural resources and minimise environmental impacts across economic and societal activities. Finland’s ambitious target to achieve a carbon-neutral circular economy by 2035 carries significant implications for national security and crisis preparedness. This project seeks to bridge this knowledge gap and foster a comprehensive understanding of the transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy for Finland’s security landscape, especially from the perspective of technologies.


Exploring implications and opportunities

By examining the security implications of Finland’s circular economy transition, we aspire to uncover the intricate connections between environmental sustainability, economic and societal resilience, and national security. Through comprehensive research and analysis, we aim to identify potential vulnerabilities, risks, and opportunities arising from this transition. This understanding will empower policymakers to formulate effective strategies, policies, and practices that enhance Finland’s security posture in the face of evolving global environmental challenges.



This project is part of Demos Helsinki’s mission to empower all societal stakeholders to lead with conviction towards a future that is more desirable than dystopian. The questions we try to answer, therefore, are not so much “what will happen next” but “how is what we are doing today building a fairer and more sustainable world”. It’s a more ambitious approach to resilience.


Otso Sillanaukee
Expert, Expanding Agency