Our TREASoURcE project team at MTK started the development work by studying the pros and cons of the original service. It quickly became clear that the digital platform must be developed in collaboration with future users, in order to meet their needs and wishes. Easiness to use, reliability and easy approachability of the site were highlighted early on among practitioners.
Cooperation with stakeholders
First co-operation workshop was held in Tampere in January 2023. Stakeholders from all user groups were invited to join; farmers, forest owners, public bodies, as well as both food industry and processing industry representatives. Attendance was high, over 50 people from all stakeholder groups came to the live workshop.
Since the first event, the development work for the KiertoaSuomesta.fi platform has continued through a series of online questionnaires, interviews, and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders and organizations. Similar work is also being done in other TREASoURcE partner countries, namely in Estonia and Norway.
In the next phase, results from different countries will be analyzed and compared. The aim for the comparison is to
1) find best ways for bio-based side and waste stream utilization,
2) enhance circular practices in bio economy,
3) find needs and possibilities for digital marketplaces for side streams among the countries.
One main focus for future work will be the marketing of KiertoaSuomesta.fi site across Finland. Training for different agricultural operators in Finland has been started and will be continued to reach the users of the site, especially farmers. Other user groups have also been reached out to. Targeted marketing is in a key role for the service to take wind under its wings.
New features to the service will be added in coming years. Currently KiertoaSuomesta.fi is used for buying and selling bio-based side streams and waste from agriculture, forestry, and food industry. In addition, contracting services can be listed to the site, and we are exploring the possibilities for listing animal feed and small-scale timber trade.
In the future, service to arrange logistics through the site will be included to tackle one of the main bottlenecks in circulating materials – long distances and transportation. Agricultural plastics, as one of the focus areas of the plastics value chain in TREASoURcE, will also be aimed to get included to the site.
The digital platform is a tool to enhance circularity in the food chain and forestry and to create new business models. In addition to economic benefits for users, an important reason for the site’s creation is environmental benefits. The platform enables materials to be circulated and kept in use for longer. Upcycling nutrients or energy from the side streams also decrease fossil fuel needed for energy or to produce fertilizer products, for example.
Knowledge sharing and future plans
During the development of the KiertoaSuomesta.fi several challenges have been faced. We quite quickly realized that the topics, circular economy and agricultural side streams, are somewhat unfamiliar among practitioners. Before the circularity of biobased side streams can be increased, actors need to be aware of what is meant by these terms. Due to this reason educating practitioners will be a part of future work.
While reaching user groups for the development work can be challenging, we are committed to finding solutions and ensuring that service development is based on user needs and experiences. User involvement is crucial, and their input will help us to create a more functional and useful service for all our users.
Collaboration with other projects has already been active during the first year of TREASoURcE and will be further enhanced in the future. This cooperation has been beneficial; it gives strength to achieve our common goals to promote the circular economy.
In conclusion, the development of KiertoaSuomesta.fi is an ongoing process that requires commitment and a willingness to change. We are determined to closely follow developments in the sector, remain open to user feedback and ensure that the service provides added value to all its users. The future looks bright as we continue to move forward towards more sustainable and efficient use of bio-based side streams.
25.09.2023 | Nora Berglund and Riina Kärki, TREASoURcE project team, MTK – the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, email@example.com
- Digital marketplace for selling or buying bio-based side and waste streams, such as manure, straws, contaminated feed, bark, stumps or any other unutilized biomass.
- Target groups are primary producers, food industry, processors of bio-based materials, and public actors.
- Free to use, login requires a business ID.
- Currently open only in Finland.
- KiertoaSuomesta.fi was relaunched in summer 2023 and will continue to be developed as part of the TREASoURcE project.