Policy development and support measures for circular economy in Päijät-Häme

During the final BIOREGIO interregional meeting in Nantes, France on 29.-30.3.2022, the focus was put on the policy overview related to bio-based circular economy in all partner regions. The Päijät-Häme policy situation was presented by Riika Kivelä and Katerina Medkova.

People are sitting around an oval table. There are microphones in from of every person. At the front, there is a paper with the agenda of Day 1 – Tuesday 29 March, with the title BIOREGIO and a project logo on the right corner of the paper agenda.
Picture 1. Focusing on bio and circular economy policy overviews from the BIOREGIO project regions. (Picture: Katerina Medkova)

Innovation, Skills and Sustainability in Päijät-Häme

Finland’s regional and structural policy programme for the period 2021 – 2027 is called Innovation and Skills in Finland. The Programme supports industrial, energy, climate, innovation, education, and employment policies and includes measures of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Europeans Social Fund Plus. (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021.)

The Programme funding’s priority areas are (1) Innovative Finland, (2) Carbon Neutral Finland, and (3) More connected Finland. Priorities 1 and 2 are dedicated to the whole of Finland (relevant to the Päijät-Häme region), whereas priority 3 is only to Eastern and Northern Finland. Each Priority Area has Specific Objectives precisely describing the Programme’s aims (Table 1). (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021.)

A table summarising the priority areas and respective specific objectives of “Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021-2027” program. The priority areas are (1) Innovative Finland, (2) Carbon Neutral Finland, and (3) More connected Finland. They are divided in 1-3 specific objectives.
Table 1. An overview of Specific Objectives (ERDF) of the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021-2027 programme. (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021)

The Programme’s funding consists of EU and national funding with a total amount of EUR 2.493 billion, of which EUR 1.469 billion will come from the EU and EUR 1.024 billion from national co-financing. The implementation of the national policy instrument is closely linked to the Päijät-Häme Regional Strategy and Programme 2022 – 2025 and the new regional Smart Specialisation Strategy. (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021.) Regional development measures and projects must contribute to the priorities of both national and regional strategies and programmes.

The Regional Strategy in a nutshell

The Päijät-Häme Regional Strategy and Programme and Smart Specialisation Strategy were both updated in 2021 (Päijät-Hämeen Liitto 2022). The process included several virtual workshops with participants from public organisations, cities and municipalities, universities and other educational institutes, and companies. Renewal and Attractiveness were selected as the main priorities of the programme. Renewal in Päijät-Häme means, for example, that so-called “old industries” and old production methods must be renewed to become more sustainable. All industries must consider climate change and carbon neutrality in their production methods. Attractiveness means actions that promote the region in sustainable and good living for all; citizens, companies, and considering nature values.

A graphic overview with a title of the Regional strategy in a nutshell and a logo of BIOREGIO on the right top corner. In the centre, there are two lines with blogs of different colours, icons, and texts. In the first row, called Smart Specialisation strategy, there is Sustainability, sports, food and beverage, and Manufacturing. In the bottom row called Regional strategy, there are two blogs, Renewal and Attractiveness.
Picture 2. A printscreen from the presentation on the Päijät-Häme Smart Specialisation and the Regional Strategy. (Picture: Riikka Kivelä & Katerina Medkova)

The new smart specialisation´s spearheads are Sport, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing. The main aims of these priorities are internationalisation and connecting the region to global value chains in selected industries. (Päijät-Hämeen Liitto 2022, 3.) Spearheads are based on strong regional clusters, such as Grain Cluster, Lahti Sports Hub and Lahti GEM – Green Electrification of Mobility Cluster, but the spearheads also include other related industries. The previous smart specialisation spearheads Circular Economy and Design are now seen as cross-cutting themes promoting sustainability in developing actions. Sustainability relates to circular economy solutions and sustainable design methods to be considered in every development measure in the region. Päijät-Häme’s Circular Economy Roadmap and Bio-based Circular Economy action plan, Päijät-Häme Climate Action Roadmap and Design Roadmap are tools to promote development systematically.


Riika Kivelä works as a Project Manager at the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme and in the BIOREGIO project.

Katerina Medkova works as an RDI specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences and is the BIOREGIO Communication Manager. BIOREGIO is an Interreg Europe funded project that started in January 2017 and lasts until December 2022. LAB University of Applied Sciences acts as BIOREGIO lead partner. Link to the BIOREGIO project.

Susanna Vanhamäki works at LAB as a Chief Specialist in Sustainable Communities. She is also the project manager of BIOREGIO.


Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. 2021. Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021−2027 promote regional vitality, employment and wellbeing. Press Release. Finnish Government. Cited 13 Apr 2022. Available at https://valtioneuvosto.fi/en/-/1410877/innovation-and-skills-in-finland-2021-2027-promotes-regional-vitality-employment-and-wellbeing

Päijät-Hämeen Liitto. 2022. Smart Specialisation Strategy in Päijät-Häme Region. Cited 1 May 2022. Available at https://paijat-hame.fi/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/040122_SMART_SPECIALISATION_STRATEGY.pdf


Link 1. Interreg Europe. 2022b. Project Summary. BIOREGIO. Cited 11 Apr 2022. Available at https://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/bioregio/