Marthe Haugland, Senior Adviser from Nordic Innovation, and Kyösti Lempa, Senior Adviser from NordForsk, were both keynote speakers at CIRCit’s workshop. We asked them a few questions about expectations and outcomes of the project.
The CIRCit project is part of the Nordic Green Growth programme. Why was the programme established in the first place?
“The Nordic countries have committed themselves to ambitious goals towards the Nordic Council of Minister’s Vision 2030 in terms of developing energy-efficient and low-carbon societies. We need wide-ranging efforts to promote the transition towards greener Nordic societies and economies to achieve these goals. The Nordic Green Growth programme facilitates activities that encourage green economic growth, sustainability and competitiveness in both the public and the private sectors.”
“It was also an effort to bridge the gap between research and innovation and to bring the skills and knowledge of NordForsk, Nordic Energy Research and Nordic Innovation together in a collaborative effort, in order to contribute to the green transition.”
What were your expectations for the CIRCit project?
“The CIRCIt project is funded under the thematic area ‘Societal changes and future scenarios with focus on sustainable regional development’ of the Nordic Green Growth Programme. It is especially strong in the areas of analyses of paradigm changes and industrial transformations and development of conceptual frameworks to assist policymakers.”
“I took over the projects in 2019, when CIRCit was already well underway. The fact that the CIRCit project was converting their research and their ideas into tools that they tested with companies in each of the Nordic countries made me hopeful that the tools could have a wide application and could help companies in their transition to a circular economy.”
What is the Nordic added value of the CIRCit project and its results?
“The strong academy-industry networks, tangible tools and guidance for implementation of circular economy in the private sector are all examples of nordic added value. A new PhD completed during the project period will also be an asset for the Nordic industries.”
“The Nordic added value of the CIRCit project is high both in scope and scale. Bringing the knowledge and research efforts of the five Nordic academic institutions together in order to accelerate green growth is, in itself, an added value. In addition, all this knowledge was shared and improved with companies from all of the Nordic countries. The project meant that research and testing done in one country was shared with both researchers and companies in the other countries, like that you could reach a critical mass of companies. The result is definitively more valuable than it would have been had the project been carried out in only one country.”
How will NordForsk and Nordic Innovation work with the circular economy going forward?
“The Nordic Council of Ministers promotes circular economy and green transition in the transport, construction, food and energy industries in its action plan on Vision 2030. NordForsk will coordinate the forthcoming innovation and research programme on green transition, which will provide a platform to promote and further develop CIRCit’s ideas, tools and guidance and bring them to the next step. The CIRCit tools help the stakeholders in the Nordic countries and beyond to rethink product design, business models, digitalisation strategies and decision making on their way to a circular economy.
“Nordic Innovation has an ongoing programme, Nordic Sustainable Business Transformation (2018-2021) that promotes and facilitates the uptake of circular economy in the Nordics, mainly in businesses. In this programme we have promoted the CIRCit project’s work and tools several times and will continue to do so. The tools in the focus areas will be taken aboard the future work of Nordic innovation. We have just received new initiatives from the Nordic Council of Ministers, and I am happy to see that the Ministers for Business priorities circular economy going forward. Nordic Innovation will thus continue to work on circular economy, especially circular business models, a sustainable and circular Nordic construction sector and a sustainable mining industry.”