Sustainable Arctic Societies – Towards a Circular Economy

GRUDE Greennovation Camp Event was operated by GRUDE Swedish partner STRUKTURUM and it was full of inspiring topics, keynotes, ideas and motion. This online event left no-one cold as the participants got to enjoy not just interesting keynote speeches but also some physical yoga exercises and see the outcome, the results of the workshop moments illustrated before their eyes.

Energy Boost of the day was presented by Ylva Maria Pavval who got all the participants to stand up and do some yoga. Stretching and taking deep breaths was very welcomed before starting such an exciting morning sitting still listening to the keynotes.

Briefly about the keynotes,

Laura Vidje, sustainability consultant from Elva Hållbara, shared her views on the big picture of external analysis on circular economy for the public sector in Norbotten. It´s all about rethinking and redesigning.
Reduse. Reuse. Recycle. Dispose.
These points stand for all production of goods and materials. Laura made the point quite clear, “nature´s cycle is already looping, nature doesn´t have the problem of design. People do”.  The system needs changes and solutions could be online education and circular business models. Emphasis in municipalities should be put to procurement of refurbished IT as an example.

The illustration describes details of Laura´s presentation

Susie Jahren, Circular Economy Lead and Senior Business Developer from SINTEF Norway, described different aspects of jobs, economy and emissions in the Norwegian circular economy. Susie talked about what if scenarios as a result in value and job creation study. Susie processed the lifecycle of personal electronics, what if they were longer lasting? And how could you prolong the durability of these goods? Maybe by leasing or sharing them? Instead of buying new equipment the life time of existing equipment could be prolonged by repair services. This angle would offer the greatest value creation potential in the service industry.

The illustration describes details of Susie´s presentation

Leena Vuotovesi from Micropolis, municipality of Ii gave the audience some concrete tools on how to tackle climatic change with economical benefit. Municipality of Ii has invested on resource efficiency and circular economy with carbon neutrality, zero waste and avoiding over consumption. Their method is pretty much similar as heard on Laura´s presentation:
Reuse. Redo. Recreate.
Ii produces and consumes only renewable energy, wants to include all the citizens in the climatic change tackle and utilises shared economy platforms as well as clean traffic such as leasing electric cars powered by wind and solar energy. The municipality believes in three driving forces of managing the power of an arctic society: commitment, trust and belief. These local solutions to global challenges have had an impact on the city budget worth over 2M€ annually, cuts on city taxation 1,5% and 80 new jobs on energy sector. Leena asks “How can you NOT afford to invest on climate work?”

The illustration describes details of Leena´s presentation

Weine Wiqvist from Swedish Delegation for Circular Economy introduced the delegation and a national strategy of circular economy in Sweden. The delegation is a coordinating forces between different activities of the society, businesses and public organizations for example. The delegation is an advisory body of the government and works with different expert groups encouraging the overall cooperation. The academia, industry and rural angles are to be taken into consideration. The delegation´s priorities are plastics, public procurement and design. Circular economy requires involvement of many parties, agencies, organisations and individuals.  

The illustration describes details of Weine´s presentation

The keynote speakers got to answer some questions after their presentations during a panel discussion. The idea was to dig a bit deeper and hear some details and concrete ideas on how to move forward and what to do, where to start in municipalities.

Energy break lead the participants to orientate into working in teams and creatively as the next stage of the event was the workshopping stage. The participants got to imagine what would an ideal municipality look like if a) a miracle had happened and b) there are no obstacles.

Workshop stage

All the groups got to contemplate the same question: How can we create a change towards sustainability in rural arctic societies?

The question was framed with sectors:

On public sector dialog and networks between different stakeholders was found important. A mutual arena for discussions is needed and tools for efficient communications would be appreciated. Decision making in both public and private sectors needs courageous testing and awareness to lead the change of mindset and attitudes.   

Research and education can offer system thinking and solving centers bringing together universities, businesses and municipalities. Students should have sustainability and circular economy angles added into every field of their studies and young people in rural areas need support and mentoring for starting their own businesses.

Civil society point of view brings together people of all ages, voices of children, students and elderly need to be heard and taken into consideration. Spaces such as empty real estates could become casual meeting points for discussion, living room for municipalities´ and cities´ own societies.   

Business & business supporters need comprehensive networks in rural communities. Calculated risks need to be taken to foster cross sectional collaboration. New technology and applications can help lead businesses towards sustainability. This and new focus on the possibilities of change will offer new possibilities to local economy.

Finally, people need to learn more about their regions and just love living there.

The BigBrain Agency illustrators were with us during the day making amazing illustrations of every stage of the day. These illustrations present the results of each stage of our Greennovation Camp and classify each idea into a poster like picture.

Join the Greennovation Camp atmosphere and sense the inspiring feeling of the event by listening to the recording of the event and all the keynotes here:

Sini Yli-Suvanto, Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Reporter of the day