Realizing Green Transition in the Rural Arctic through Cross-border Collaboration

In the GRUDE project’s final webinar on 31 May, we heard several interesting presentations about green initiatives and collaboration in the Arctic area. In this blog text you will find a summary about the keynote presentations.

View the full presentations and slideshows in our Library.

Peter Algurén – Financing PaaS Models

RISE is a Swedish research institution that is striving for sustainable growth in the society. They are aiming for creating longevity products that have high utilization rate. In his keynote presentation, Peter Algurén introduced solutions on how to finance Product-as-a-Service models.

The problem with selling long lasting, high quality products is usually making the business profitable. One solution to this, is to sell a service instead of the product itself. This type of operations model is usually more sustainable, but may also require high investments from the companies when they start their business.

The solutions for financing PaaS models can be divided into three different categories:

  1. Asset based solutions, such as creating a future adaptive design, utilizing a leaseback operations model or contract financing.
  2. Business case -based solutions which include reducing risks with controlled growth, stable revenue flows, etc.
  3. Relationship based solutions which focus on building strong and long-lasting relationships with customers and business partners.

Ann-Hege Lund – Cooperation between Municipalities and the Tourism Sector

The municipal sector is dependent on tourism sector in creating attractive local communities. In the same way, municipalities have a key role in making development in the tourism sector possible.

In 2018, Innovation Norway created a Sustainable Destination Label which is a great tool for engaging local communities in long perspective. The tool provides a standard that is verified by 44 criteria that are based on the UN Goals for Sustainable Development.

A closer cooperation between municipalities and the tourism sector is essential for many reasons. First of all, the Arctic areas are low in many resources, which makes it especially important to consider their use wisely. Secondly, developing tourism in the rural areas helps reduce relocation and increases local value creation.

Keeping the rural North competitive and attractive requires development and close collaboration between the municipalities, local businesses and tourism sector.

Karl Almås – Border-crossing Ideas for Blue Economy

The rural Arctic consists mostly of ocean. Yet, the marine resources and potential are currently mostly untapped. In fact, we only use two percent of the marine bioproduction that would be suitable for human consumption.

Karl Almås presented an idea of a cross-border cooperation project which would focus on feeding the growing aquaculture industry in a sustainable way in the Arctic.

At the moment, two thirds of the fish feed is imported from countries South of the Equator. Therefore, it would be necessary to identify new sources for protein production in the Nordic countries and investigate possibilities for upscaling them.

Federico Zenith – Producing and Exporting Hydrogen from Stranded Resources

Federico Zenith works with the Haeolus project that proposes a new-generation electrolyser integrated within a state-of-the-art wind farm in a remote area with access to a weak power grid. During the project they have also identified preconditions for starting a hydrogen valley in Finnmark, Norway.

The production and utilization of hydrogen as a source of energy, start from building functional infrastructure. Hydrogen producers need reliable income, whereas users need a steady supply chain, predictable costs and readily available maintenance.

In Finnmark, the potential for hydrogen production is enormous, and there are many opportunities emerging also on the demand side. According to Zenith, the problems on the way of transitioning to hydrogen economy are no longer technological. Instead, the challenges lay within coordination and societal policies.

Jukka Lokka – The Role of Municipalities in Green Transition

Finland has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2035. When it comes to reducing emissions, the first actions are always the most significant, and require changes on government-level policies (e.g. transitioning to electric cars and renewable energy). Later on in the process, however, local actions and the role of municipalities in initiating change, become essential.

The key challenge on the municipal level is a lack of knowledge about climate issues and green economy. In addition, reaching consensus about controversial topics, such as wind power and forest use, can be difficult.

For green transition to take place in the rural sparsely populated areas, it is crucial to disseminate information effectively. This means, for example, taking enough time for dialog and introducing successful examples of previously implemented green actions. It is also essential to reach strong commitment in the high levels of public organizations.

Renata Musifullina – Towards Green Arctic through Cross-border Initiatives

Renata Musifullina introduced a collaboration process which was started in GRUDE project for about two months ago. The goal of the process has been to identify new initiatives for green economy in the Arctic, and it has resulted in six ideas or problems that could be potential starting points for future collaboration. The ideas are:

  1. Reaching emission goals in the public sector
  2. Necessary public sector investments in regional resilience (such as local food and energy)
  3. Development of circular business models in the private sector
  4. Finding funding and leadership for circular innovation hubs in the countryside
  5. Development of sustainable tourism practices
  6. Resilient and sustainable fish feed production

As GRUDE project, we will continue the collaboration with our stakeholders that have expressed their interest to find solutions for the aforementioned issues.

Should you need support with the planning phase of a green initiative of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact our project staff. You may also find useful the project planning template provided by Interreg Aurora and the Interreg Aurora Facebook page with information about funding and partner search announcements.

Blog text by,
Henna Kukkonen, Project Specialist
Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Nikki Schmidt, Big Brain Agency