From Linear to Circular – Shifting your Business Model

The third Virtual Greennovation Camp in the Interreg Nord-project GRUDE was held Tuesday Feb 9th, focusing on the utilization of side streams in rural Arctic areas. In one of the group sessions after lunch, where the overall theme was Circular Business Models, several interesting, current issues and cases were addressed by the participants. Read more about it here.

One of the topics raised was the challenge of getting small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) – with budgets and cost control, shielding their core business – involved. Thus, by-products and side streams become “out of sight, out of mind” as said by one of the participants.

In recent years, and particularly after the implementation of the UN sustainability goals in 2015, firms have increased the awareness of their own contributions towards achieving the sustainability goals. However, there are few firms that actually work with carbon accounting, sustainability strategies and life cycle analysis. If we are to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees, all parts of the business community must contribute.

Many leaders have good intentions, but they lack knowledge and capacity for implementation. How can we get SMB to prioritize side streams in their business strategy? What is needed to make the shift from linear to circular business models? As discussed at the event, this is not the issue of one sector, all sectors that have the knowledge and experience must help to promote the shift and close the knowledge gap in order to bring us closer to the circular economy!

Blogpost by:

Grethe Lilleng, SINTEF (No)

Circular Business Models – summary from Group Session

The third Virtual Greennovation Camp in the Interreg Nord-project GRUDE was held Tuesday Feb 9th, focusing on the utilization of side streams in rural Arctic areas. In one of the group sessions after lunch, where the overall theme was Circular Business Models, several interesting, current issues and cases were addressed by the participants. 

Louise Mattson, Älvsbyn Municipality (Sweden)used to work for the research institute RISE in Luleå but now works at Älvsbyn Municipality in an EU-funded project called Arctic DC. The project focuses on industrial symbiosis, using the waste heat (up to 40 %!) from data centers. Northern Sweden’s cold conditions are a perfect fit for data centers. In the project at RISE Louise was part of installing a bunker that draw the waste heat to driving up mealworms in the bunker. The mealworms themselves could be used in example for nutrition to chicken whilst their waste has proved to be a good fertilizer for tomatoes. It is possible to visit the container and have a look! It was hard to find entrepreneurs to take over now that the project funding is ending but Louise says she still have some ideas and she has also seen examples here in Norrbotten on startups working with similar ideas. She also gave us a tip that a data center in Boden is installing a greenhouse that will use the waste heat from the center. 

Wisdom Kanda, Linköping University (Sweden), presented his newly started 4-year FORMAS-project about Business Ecosystems and Start-ups developing Circular Business Models. The project is based on the idea that there is a knowledge gap between the new circular businesses and the business support systems that needs to be bridged. Wisdom got the question from a participant – “What does a company need to able to call itself circular?”, to which he responded that that is an important question and something he will keep in mind for the project. If you are a company with a circular business model or part of the business support system and eager to learn more – get in touch! 

Inger Pedersen, North Sweden Energy Agency/Sustainable Business Bridge (Sweden), carries out a variety of projects focused on sustainability. One new project in the portfolio is Sustainable Business Bridge where they will match companies with underutilized side streams with entrepreneurs who wants to make business out of it. Does your company struggle with becoming more resource efficient? Inger and her team help companies present their “problem” and find potential suppliers who can find solutions, or researchers that can help. Read more here.   

Maja Blomquist, SMICE/SNIUS and the Circular Business Model Canvas (Sweden), emphasized how important it is with the border crossing cooperation. In the recently finished SMICE-project they had Norway and Trøndelag as partners and Maja stated that it was absolutely important to speed up the process, see new trends and deepen the knowledge. She also stated that TRUST is an important factor when introducing something “new”. In SMICE they focused a lot on the innovation support system but also on changes at a policy- and regional level, in example working with the regional development strategy. One concrete result from the project is that they helped the Swedish Agency for Economical and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) to develop a Circular Business Model Canvas, a circular business modeling tool. Download the circular business model canvas for free here.   

It is evident that Circular Business Modeling is not the issue of one sector, all sectors that have the knowledge and experience must help to promote the shift and close the knowledge gap – no matter if you are an entrepreneur, business developer or researcher!

Blogpost by:
Amanda Mannervik, Strukturum (Se)
Grethe Lilleng, SINTEF (No)

More from less – Greennovation Camp 09/02/2021

Registration  

Apply to the event via the following link:  https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/FA73D2A1CD6A4E72

Last day for application: Tuesday February 2nd  

No attendance fee!

Contact information  

Norwegian project-coordinator Kine Jakobsen at SINTEF Nord in Tromsø, kine.jakobsen@sintef.no  

Social media 

Follow our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/grudeproject  

… and our regional groups! 

GRUDE yhteisö LAPPI: https://www.facebook.com/groups/191857642034080  

GRUDE Nord-Norge: https://www.facebook.com/groups/382740529310168  

GRUDE Community Jokkmokk: https://www.facebook.com/groups/grudejokkmokk   

Sustainable Local Communities

Virtual workshop 2020-11-11

Norway has completed its first workshop. The objective of this workshop was exchange of experience and discussion about whether, and possibly how work with sustainability can help to create attractive local communities where people want to live». Including issues such as «what does it take to create willingness to live and attractiveness in local communities?», and «what are the biggest challenges to get people to settle down in the rural districts?».

Some of the biggest and most central issues when recruiting young people to the districts are the lack of leisure facilities, transport facilities and jobs. These factors are challenges, at the same time as they are essential to create the attractiveness and willingness to live in the districts. This is paradoxical, and the question: «What came first – the chicken or the egg? » is a highly relevant question within this issue. Should the inhabitants initiate measures to attract newcomers, and hope for them to stay there and maintain these measures? Or should newcomers move from the urban cities to the districts, without preconditions about neither work or school- and kindergarten offers, just to hope for it to develop gradually?

Among the participants at the workshop there was a general understanding of the importance of access to relevant jobs to attract people from the big cities. One problem is that positions often are not advertised on the open market, but rather through contacts and networks. Newcomers, without acquaintances in the region, may find it challenging to know who to get in contact with. Active municipalities that follow up the business community and initiate companies to recruit new employees to the region, is essential.

How can work with sustainability help create attractive local communities where people want to live? The work on sustainability and the transition to a circular economy can help create housing in the districts by helping to create new jobs. Young, educated employees see sustainable workplaces as highly attractive and many apply to companies that operate responsibly and focus on sustainability. Sustainability thus has a marketing value for companies and the whole community – a factor that can attract people to the districts. If attractive jobs are created, with sustainability in focus, this can contribute to graduates wanting to move to the district. A circular economy, which makes better use of resources, can lead to more innovative business models and new jobs.

This workshop has provided many suggestions that may be interesting to follow up further, including: (1) Can the digitalisation boom we have seen during the pandemic make it easier for people to move to the district? (2) What types of marketing tools can be used to market the region as well as attract more people than today? (3) Can more focus on cooperation and networking – across sectors and disciplines – attract people to the districts? We look forward to more discussions about sustainability and attractiveness in the future.

Article by:
Frida Hansen, UiT (NO)
Grethe Lilleng, SINTEF Nord (NO)
Kine Jakobsen, SINTEF Nord (NO)