Photoshoot: 6-12.2.2016, Location: Rovaniemi / Finland, Client: Visit Finland & Visit Rovaniemi, Photographer: Juho Kuva
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Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai announced the winners of Santa’s Sustainable Competition, the Finnish Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion’s first, live virtual event. Aimed at promoting circular economy values among young people, students were invited to submit letters and videos to Santa Claus outlining their sustainable wishes for the future. Six UAE schools were named winners of the competition and will receive the opportunity to have a live virtual call with the real, Finnish Santa Claus.

With the help of judges from The Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai and Santa Claus named winners from GEMS Royal Dubai; GEMS Wellington International School; Nord Anglia International School Dubai; Ryan International School, Sharjah; Smart Vision School Dubai and Rosary Private School, Sharjah. The winners were selected due to their deep understanding of the issues affecting the health of our planet, enthusiasm to be change agents of the future and innovative ideas as to how we can all work together towards the same circular economy goal.

Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, discussed the significance of including young people in sustainable conversations: “With plans to host Santa Claus at our Snow Cape pavilion postponed to December 2021, as a team we felt it was important to recognise the innovative ideas of our future leaders. We have been overwhelmed with the positive response the competition received. The main theme of Finland’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Sharing Future Happiness’ and the only way to secure the happier, sustainable future our younger generations deserve is by working towards a circular economy, using a model that encourages us to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“The entries we received have demonstrated young people today are passionate about saving our planet from the current overconsumption of goods and natural resources and we are proud to have been able to provide them with a platform to share their voice and have their wishes heard.”

Recognised as a global pioneer of the circular economy concept, Finland became the first country in the world to develop a national circular economy road map, written by The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, in 2016. The road map aims to reform its economic model by 2025. The transition is underway within government departments, businesses, towns and cities, and is already having a positive impact on the everyday lives of Finnish people. With its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, Finland seeks to share the lessons learned and help other participating countries learn more about the circular economy concept and embrace it.