Green Transition – Promoting Circular Entrepreneurship in the North

How could we accelerate green transition in the rural North? This was our question in the GRUDE project’s final Greennovation Camp in March 2022. In this blog text, you will find concrete examples of green businesses, tools for developing your company’s circular practices, as well as information on new sustainability-based educational initiatives.

Evelina Lundqvist & Malin Leth: Zero Waste Business Model Canvas

Every year only 8,6 percent of all waste material is recycled. Global warming and the rapid loss of biodiversity are happening right now. This is why companies need to move from being part of the problem to becoming a part of the solution. The change requires tragical transforming of business models and setting clear zero waste and circularity targets.

The Zero Waste Business Model Canvas has been created as a tool for companies who want to strengthen their social and environmental impact according to the UN Sustainable development goals. It adds a societal perspective to business development by recognizing a broader set of stakeholders in the company’s range of influence.

The Zero Waste Business Model Canvas helps companies dive into questions such as:

  • How might our company’s value proposition contribute not only to regenerating the company itself but society in a larger perspective?
  • How might our company provide regenerative products and services that don’t produce waste?
  • How could we contribute to reducing consumption in general?

Download the Zero Waste Business Model Canvas for free

Tomas Knuts: Sustainability in the Region of Ostrobothnia, Finland

In Ostrobothnia, the work towards circular economy started about three years ago. The process has been a journey towards a new normal, and today, there are about 60 different sustainability related projects ongoing in the area.

One part of the sustainability process has been the creation of concrete green transition strategy for regional and business development. The strategy is based on the identification of ten most crucial activities for green economy in the area, as well as, creating check-list for entrepreneurs on how they can get started with circular economy.

The experiences in Ostrobothnia region prove that the key elements for successful green transition are 1) close collaboration between different sectors of society, and 2) indicating the benefits of green economy which creates motivation for change in companies and municipal decisionmakers.

Ostrobothnia in Transition: Road Map for Sustainable Development and Circular Economy

Emelie Isaksen: Fremstr Sustainability Programme

Fremstr is a sustainability focused trainee programme in Troms region, Norway. The goal of the programme is to challenge the local businesses to become more sustainable, and also increase their attractiveness in the eyes of young people entering labour market.

According to the Fremstr training philosophy, learning is most effective in a group of students coming from various educational backgrounds and in close collaboration with local businesses. In order to enrich the learning experience, the companies offering trainee positions are also chosen from different fields of business.

The programme has been received with great enthusiasm by the local companies, and about half of the next year’s trainee positions are already set. In addition, about 100 people have signed up for the mailing list so far, to receive more information about the programme.

Read more about Fremstr trainee programme

Ruben Alkhalil: New Ways of Growing Food with Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by using only mineral nutrient solutions. The method saves both land and water, is completely pesticides-free and helps decreasing CO2 emissions.

The business idea of HydroGreen AB is to do indoor farming in old abandoned houses in Swedish countryside. Their vision is to make it possible for everyone to grow natural food anywhere in the world with just a tap of a phone. The company offers both the hardware and software that allow other companies and municipalities to start hydrofarming where-ever they want.

Despite the potential of their idea, it has yet been challenging to find investors for the hydrofarming business. Hydroponics is a new technology, and making it appealing requires a change in the mindset of potential target groups, who are stuck with the idea of traditional agriculture.

More information about hydrofarming

Emma Dahlqvist, Emilia Keinström & Sofie Olofsson: Making Rings from Old Spoons

Emma Dahlqvist, Emilia Keinström and Sofie Olofsson are last year students in their high school’s technology programme. They founded a company called Återsmycka AB on a young entrepreneurship course which goes on for the whole last year of their studies.

The young womens’ business idea is to make unique rings from old spoons which they receive as donations from friends and relatives or buy from thrift stores. The guiding principle for their business, is the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production.

The young entrepreneurship course and the concrete experiences of starting their own business have taught Emma, Emilia and Sofie many useful skills, such as the process of creating a product, reaching out to customers and marketing.

Check out Återsmycka AB’s designs on their Instagram page

Anne Raudaskoski: Green Consulting

Ethica is a consulting company with a mission to inspire and guide entire industries to regenerative and circular future. They want to make people see that we should not only settle for minimizing the negative effects, but instead, consider how we could start giving the planet back more than what we are taking.

The key principles for creating a better future are 1) designing out waste from our businesses and production, 2) keeping materials in circulation and 3) regenerating natural ecosystems. The means of reaching these goals are profound foresight work, a mindset of curiosity, creativity and awareness as well as, understanding the biological parameters for sustainable business.

Contact with Ethica

Want to learn more? Check out the event recording from GRUDE YouTube channel!
Keynote Speeches & Panel Discussion

Chance for International Networking

In the Camp, we also started a process of identifying problems and bottlenecks that are hindering green transition in the public and private sectors. The ideation process will be continued in workshops and in a networking webinar in May, and we’re hoping that it might result in new development ideas and collaboration in the project area. You can join the process now, by

Check out our Padlet-walls from the Camp and fill in your thoughts for consideration in the coming workshops!
Padlet: Green Transition in the Public Sector
Padlet: Green Transition in the Private Sector

Blogtext by,
Henna Kukkonen, Project Specialist, Lapland University of Applied Sciences