Service Design in Municipalities

Service design in municipalities was chosen as one of the themes in GRUDE project’s webinars because even though the process is well recognized in the business world, it can greatly benefit the public sector as well. One of the main topics of interest in the GRUDE project is sustainable societies which means sustainable community development and innovations related to ecological issues and quality of life. Service design is all about involving customers, users and other target groups in co-creation of solutions to issues concerning them. Therefore, it is a topic well worthy of spotlight. Here are summaries of the event keynote presentations.

SARA TUNHEDEN
Project Manager at Innovationsguiden (The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions)

Innovationsguiden is a project by The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. The project’s objective is to bring users to the center of service development in municipalities. On their website, Innovationsguiden provides material ready to be used in development projects in the public sector, as well as crash courses in service design and coaching for projects. The leading idea behind the project is the reality of decreasing resources in public sector, and the need to provide as good and meaningful services as efficiently as possible. In a service design process, the foundation for creating new ideas is the understanding that by involving the users in the creation process it is possible to better understand their needs. Testing the ideas is also a part of the process.

The benefits of service design are manifold. First of all, creating services through a process like this is not expensive, because it is not time consuming and the methods provide quick results. Moreover, the process itself increases the understanding about the needs of customers, patients, visitors and residents.

You can find out more about the project on their website https://innovationsguiden.se/ and in the video below.

JAN KEMI
Project Manager at Folkverkstan

Folkverstan is an Interreg-project between Sweden and Finland which aims to create “the service solution next to you” when it comes to repairing and serving household objects. The project itself has been designed through the service design process, and the aim is to create local meeting points for sustainability in consumption: a place where you can repair and upcycle your gear. A positive impact on the climate is pursued by decreasing ecological and economical stress which is caused by our current consumption driven lifestyle as well as a reduction of craftmanship skills. The project activities support sustainable development goal 12 in Agenda 2030: Sustainable consumption and production. Folkverkstan is trying to create a service design based “recipe book” for repairing of everyday products. In addition to increasing general awareness and creating a testbed for concept validation, an implementation guide and a business model is also planned in the future.

You can find more information on the Folkverstan Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/projektfolkverkstan/  

and on the project web site (in Swedish): https://norrbotten.norden.se/projekt/om-projektet-folkverkstan/

HANNU RIPATTI
Business Creative at Passi & Ripatti Oy

Kainuu region in Finland used service design to involve citizens in the development of their everyday services. The process started by gathering 140 diaries from people living in the area, in order to better understand their everyday lives. The diaries provided information about how the system is currently serving people in different life stages. The diaries were analysed into customer profiles and several workshops were organized with officials from municipalities and representatives from businesses, third sector and citizens. One of the workshop themes was participatory budgeting, in which citizens were asked to prioritize the different public services.

The process was implemented in two stages. The first stage gave confirmation that by using service design methods it was possible to better expose the citizens’ needs and wishes for different services. It also turned out, that citizens actually wanted to participate in providing help and services to other community members, and that the current system did not sufficiently support that. In the second stage a new model for providing every day services was created. Ripatti emphasized the value of Experiential Data in creating meaningful, to-the-point public services and the usefulness of service design methods in providing the necessary information.

A publication about the project is available in Finnish and Swedish:
Räddarna i vardagen

And a summary in English:
https://www.localfinland.fi/may-i-help-you-0  

Q&A panel session

The topics of the day sparked an interesting conversation on experiential (qualitative) data and how it can be fully exploited decision making. As Hannu Ripatti stated “experiential data is the most challenging and most rewarding way of gathering information.” Sara Tunheden from Innovationsguiden added that it is important to combine qualitative and quantitative data as they support each other. For example, quantitative survey results can support stories that are gathered from the target group. In public sector, many things are dictated by finances, but allowing the actual users and citizens to actively participate in issues concerning them can produce immaterial value as well as economical savings.

Blog post by
Sari Nisula, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Does Green Business Exist?

GRUDE, VähäC and Väppi projects arranged together a webinar that gathered some of Finland’s top experts of green industrial life to share their views about green economy. Read a summary of the keynote presentations and discussion in this blog article!

Is business life a cause or a solution to global warming?

The webinar was opened by Petteri Lillberg from Demos Helsinki. In his presentation, he emphasized the role of business life in preventing global warming.

Generally, capitalistic market economy is seen as the main reason for current over consumption of global resources. Lillberg pointed out, however, that over the past few years enterprises have started to change their policies considering societal and environmental responsibility. In fact, these themes are creating new value for businesses and have become essential tools for branding.

In addition to minimizing the carbon footprint, maximizing the carbon handprint has become a key to environmental care for companies. The concept of carbon handprint refers to the company’s actions in decreasing their customers CO2-emissions. In other words, a company should try to influence their customers values and help them make greener choices.

How the municipality of Ii made environmental responsibility a platform of success for businesses?

Noora Huotari from Micropolis Oy, explained that green economy was chosen as a strategic focus in Ii for about ten years ago. According to Noora, the most important factor for success in reaching environmental sustainability in Ii, has been activating people from all age groups. The sense of shared responsibility and cooperation between different sectors of society has also been recognized abroad (watch e.g. the BBC Documentary: Ii, the Greenest Town in Europe). The positive attention, in turn, has encouraged the citizens to continue the good work.

When it comes to sustainability and green growth, the role of business life has been recognized as crucial in Ii. Therefore, the municipality has created a “Paikallista” (=local) certificate which the companies are allowed to use once they have committed to use resources sustainably and reduce their CO2-emissions.

So far, the transition to green economy has been a success in Ii. It has brought dozens of new jobs and businesses to the area, over 200 million euros worth of investments, tax money from the new water and wind power plants, as well as, considerable savings for the municipality. Moreover, the international recognition has boosted the town image and increased tourism in the area.

Case Pyhätunturi Oy – The goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable ski resort

Fortunately, businesses that have acted to prevent global warming, can also be found in Lapland. One of these companies is Pyhätunturi Oy which runs ski resorts in Pyhä and Ruka fells. The facilitator of the webinar Tuuli Kaskinen, interviewed Jusu Toivonen, a CDO in Pyhätunturi Oy, about the company’s environmental efforts.

Toivonen explains that the company started to work for nature conservation already in the 90’s and in 2008 the company set a strategic goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2020. A goal which already became reality in 2011 – nine years before the intended deadline. Today, Pyhä and Ruka are Ski In Ski Out resorts where all the services and accommodation are located within walking or skiing distance.

Ever since the beginning, the company management has had a common ambition to protect the arctic nature. Some of the main challenges that the company has faced, however, have been resistance to change inside the organization, the difficulty of finding partners with the same commitment to the environment and a lack of support in implementing eco-friendly practices from the public sector.

Regardless of the challenges, Toivonen emphasizes that taking care of the environment and transitioning to a more sustainable way of running business is not as difficult or expensive as is commonly believed. In fact, according to Toivonen, environmental sustainability offers many new possibilities for business.

New opportunities for green business

In the concluding keynote presentation Jyri Häkämies, who works as a CEO in the Confederation of Finnish Industries, linked the local viewpoint of the previous presentations to a larger, national and international context.

Global warming and environmental degradation demand urgent measures from companies in all branches of business. Customers and financiers have started to demand businesses to take responsibility for protecting the environment by concrete actions. The change in the common discourse has brought new possibilities for Finland. In fact, Finland is already one of the world’s leading producers of clean technology – creating innovations which help reducing negative environmental impacts around the world.

According to Häkämies, some of the most potential solutions for climate issues at the moment are emissions trading, the broader use of electricity as a source of energy, as well as, maintaining and increasing the carbon sinks created by agriculture and forestry. In addition, the new innovations concerning hydrogen offer potentials solutions in the future.

Starting points for environmental responsibility in arctic businesses

The webinar participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and question both during the webinar and in the arranging projects’ social media channels. The idea was to gather experiences and comments about how green economy could be enhanced in business life. In the discussion participants highlighted, for example, the importance of business clusters, the need to increase awareness of the carbon handprint, as well as, to further develop the measures of calculating carbon footprint and handprint. Additionally, it was noted that municipalities should follow Ii’s example and make environmental protection a strategic goal.

As a conclusion, the keynote speakers shared their advice for environmental responsibility for small arctic businesses:

  • Jyri Häkämies: Find partners and network with other small businesses, keep your business customer-oriented.
  • Noora Huotari: Proudly communicate even the smallest steps your business takes towards greener economy and consider criticism as an opportunity for development.
  • Jusu Toivonen: Keep it simple! Find an electric company which provides electricity that is produced from renewable sources of energy. If necessary, find out options for emissions trading (check out e.g. https://nordicoffset.fi/).
  • Petteri Lillberg: Listen to your customers’ needs and dare to set the price of your product or service high enough.

Blog text by:
Henna Kukkonen, Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Cleanest in Sweden – Jokkmokk!?

Calle founder of Plockenader i Jokkmokks kommun

Instead of letting it punch them down, Calle and Maria decided to do something about all the litter they found on their walks.

Calle, 4 years, and his mother Maria that lives in Vuollerim, Jokkmokk Municipality, used to clean up litter from nature when out walking with their dog. One day, after a particularly littery walk they decided that they wanted to do something more. In june 2020 they started the initiative “Plockenader i Jokkmokks kommun”, which translates to something like “walk and pick up litter in Jokkmokk Municipality”. Today the local Facebook group have around 200 engaged members that keep posting about their litter findings. The local ÅVC (municipality service that takes care of recycling etc) have supported the initiative with “plockenad-kits” with reflective vests and litter bags. Maria says that a similar initiative started in the neighboring municipality Boden after getting inspiration from them.

Maria gives us four strong arguments on why you shouldn’t litter:

  1. Litter is injuring the animals.
  2. Litter is harming nature.
  3. Litter is creating unsafe environments.
  4. Litter is costing a lot of money.

Read full blogtext (in Swedish) here.

Blogpost by
Amanda Mannervik
Strukturum, Sweden

Interview with Symbios of Sweden, Louise Mattsson

The newly funded startup Symbios of Sweden want to meet the need for resource mapping of industries that wants to become more circular. We had a talk with the systems entrepreneur and project manager Louise Mattsson, who is the founder and owner of the company.

Could you tell me a little bit about your newly started business and what you do?
I founded Symbios of Sweden because I saw that there is a missing actor on the market. Someone that is not an organization or a university that can do resource mapping of industries. My company is aimed at helping municipalities, entrepreneurs, organizations, universities, and research institutes that want to do projects at national, regional, and local level, and thereby map the balance between social, economic, and other resources for increased sustainability.  Cross-border co-operation within the Nordic region through Interreg projects is also beneficial for the exchange of experience and interaction. The company aims to contribute to a more sustainable society through its expertise and ideas on how to connect all aspects of society and actors to develop the circular economy in Sweden.

How do you work with shifting to – and helping others shift, to a sustainable and circular business?
Besides identifying the resource and material flow, I make SWOT-analysis of the area (which can be an industrial site, village, a region etc.), calculate the input and output and how many other companies that can be created because of better resource management. I also look at models for how many new job opportunitiespossible symbiosis can bring.The work can be based off interviews with companies and local residences, depending on the site. Every case is unique because the starting point are different for all the sites.Individual companies can get the same help from me and I intend to provide them with tools, guidelines, models, and key numbers, for them to develop the company’s activities.

What are your biggest obstacles today to become more sustainable?
The biggest threat is the Swedish law (of for example waste and side streams) that makes practical applications of models impossible. Development must move forward in this area and this is a slow process from the EU.

What speaks for a circular transition?
Back in 2017 when more people started talking about circular economy, there were few tools for how to use it. It was so new that companies did not know how to address it. I think that now, and especially because of the pandemic, people become more aware of how they are living and how fragile the society is. I think that helps with the circular transition. Both for people that wants to start with self sufficiency and move from cities, but also companies that see the value of their side streams and collaborating with others in different sectors.

Is there any knowledge or information that could help you, or your sector, in the transition?
The leading players today with a focus on industrial symbiosis are Linköping University, RISE and other organizations that have consortiums containing people from big companies. Linköping University has a broad platform and reaches many stakeholders and can have many projects ongoing. Their weakness is that they are only run with project support and are dependent on it. RISE has complete edge expertise in many areas and is available throughout the country, but no specific expertise covering the interdisciplinary areas and how to combine them with the technical ones. I collaborate with both to learn more and to be up to date with projects going on all over the country.

Are you in any collaboration with public sector?
I am open to collaborate with the public sector, absolutely! I think its an advantage to include all parts of society.

Any international collaboration?
When I worked at RISE as a sustainability engineer, I worked in an Interreg project together with several partners from Finland. Building bridges is something I like working with and Sweden has so much to learn from the other Nordic countries. I enjoy cross border collaborations and it is something I am hoping to have the chance to do more in my company.

What do you think other companies like yours would need to be more sustainable?
I think the key is flexibility and working online. Today we have platforms that enables us to reach out to a bigger crowd – and by that, helping more companies.

What would it take to make companies like yours involved in a project like GRUDE?
For me I have a general interest to be up to date and meet people. Networking is key for connecting industries and people. This area is still new and to concretize industrial symbiosis, all ideas need to be welcomed.

Something else you would like to tell?
I currently work for the municipality of Älvsbyn in the Interreg project Arctiq-DC where I map the resources of the industries in the area. Älvsbyn has big and known industries such as Polarbröd, Älvsbyhus and Älvsby energy, but also many green industries with farming and tourist focus. Depending on where I start mapping resources, it becomes apparent what puzzles are missing in the big picture. In general, Northern Sweden is good in heavy industry such as mining, steel production and forestry, and in some cases good at industrial symbiosis without intentionally implementing it. Instead, it can be the social values that are missing to complete the picture, which is the biggest difference between north and southern Sweden. Industrial symbiosis is heavy reliant on social symbiosis to create balance in societies to make people stay, that is the most important piece of the puzzle in my opinion.

Louise Mattsson, founder of Symbios of Sweden

Thank you for your time Louise and best of luck with your new business!

Blogpost by
Amanda Mannervik
Strukturum, Sweden

Heta Hyttan – a sustainable glassworks in Piteå, Sweden

Heta Hyttan is a traditional glasswork in Piteå (Norrbotten, Sweden) with genuine working methods – but its founder Linda Isaksson is far from traditional in her entrepreneurship. Linda tells the story of a company, and an entrepreneur, in continuous development on the journey towards sustainability.

Linda took the classical glasswork education at the prestigious Orrefors, Sweden, before becoming her own boss. She says that today the glass industry is mainly automated. She describes her own glasswork as a living museum with creative craftsmanship and a modern touch. Sustainability is important in every aspect and in Lindas work, reuse of material is the foundation of the glass making process.

When starting the sustainability journey at Heta Hyttan, Linda begun with dealing with a real energy thief – the melting pot. She shifted to electricity driven ovens allready in 2010 and after that she just continued on the same journey with other aspects of the company. Today she describes that there is a thought almost behind everything, from the reused packaging to the upcycled second hand furniture in the shop.

Read full blog in Swedish here.

Blogpost by
Amanda Mannervik
Strukturum, Sweden

Business Opportunities in Green Economy, summary of webinar 17th of March 2021

Business opportunities in green economy

With this webinar we wanted to give some inspiration on what business ideas in the green economy could look like – and no, you don’t need to be a white man to become a circular or green entrepreneur, due to some cancels we had this very homogene (but oh so inspiring) setup. Anyway, here’s a short summary of our keynote speakers!

Henning Gillberg, Repamera (SWE)
Henning started a company from a real need that he himself experienced. When you have worn out clothes at home that you don’t want to throw away – what to do? Why can’t you ”order a tailor” to your door in the same way like you can order food online in example. He acted on the thought immediately and did a survey online with the question ”have you got clothes that you would like to use, but are broken?”. In 20 hours, he had reached the 100 answers he was hoping for. Henning got the advice from a business developer to find a tailor and a customer – which he did. Since 2018, Repamera is an ecommerce that serves all Sweden with tailor services. Repameras bags are found in all H&M stores and they are also expanding to Denmark this summer.
Henning says that he started with only internet and his bike and that today it is really possible to start an ecommerce without deep technical knowledge. One must start and not plan too much!
The key is efficiency, that’s also the main driver for the customer. It must be worth bying the service instead of doing it yourself.

“You have replaced my mother as the favourite repairer of my clothes” said one of our other speakers Peter Nilsson, who has used the Repamera service a few times.

Juho Särkijärvi, Arctic Rental (FIN)
Arctic Rental started just eight months ago but allready have customers both from the Rovaniemi area (where the company is located) as well as tourists travelling from the rest of the country. The customers reserve the gear online, get a code and can then pick it up from a locker.
 Just like Henning, Juho also started the company out of a need he experienced himself. Juho has earlier been travelling the world to pursue his interest in outdoor sports like skiing and surfing. When travelling, you can’t always bring all the gear you need – and you may not even own the gear you would like to use anyway and that’s where renting gear comes in handy. It’s not something new to the world but Juho says that there still needs to be some kind of mindshift around ownership, and mentions that he thinks that Sweden is further ahead than Finland when it comes to adopting the sharing economy. For families with growing kids, it’s also beneficial to rent instead of buying many different sizes in a short period. “Get the prices down”, Juha states that this is the single most important thing to get a lot of customers.

Peter Nilsson, Smart Recycling (SWE)
The business of Smart Recycling is an AI-based tool for measuring when it’s time to empty a container. The solution is a sensor that is put in the container, giving information on the status.
The problem is dual. First you have the fact that the average recycle container is only half full when it’s emptied, which gives a lot of extra logistics and pollution. On the other hand there are 25% of containers that are overfilled before they get emptied. With this measuring tool the containers will be emptied just in time and only when needed to. The logistics are optimised so that the people emptying the containers know their route and which containers to empty on forehand.
Today the system is used on glass containers all over Sweden and Peter says they welcome all kinds of new collaborations and customers.

“If you do not measure – you do not know!” says Peter.

Jari Marjeta, Marjetas Oy (FIN)
Marjetas is a company working with municipal roadways, making them secure but for less money.
Jari believes that you have to personally go green in your values and actions – then the companies will follow. His own company have their own green system, with repair-services and more.
Jari describes the way they work with fixing broken roads in example, where they have a way of analysing exactly where the damage is and, in that way, repairing only what is needed and not more. Just like Smart Recycling, Marjetas is all about the data. They get the data, share it and optimise the work.
Working on municipal and state roadways, Jaris experience tells that many decision makers allready understand that doing things in an ecologically sensible way might also be the economically most sensible way.

Example from the Q&A session

There are a lot of demands and needs for circular businesses, but not enough entrepreneurs – why?

Henning: Laws, rules and taxation! Prices today need to be too high for the customer because of that. We need to decrease the taxation for circular services. Repair-services has a decreased taxation from 25% to 12% today but I believe we need to do more.

Juho: People are thinking too complicated. I you have a good idea, discuss and see if could be a business. To have a business is easier than people think at least in Finland.

Tailors from Northern Sweden – an opportunity for you!
Repamera said that they are willing to discuss some kind of franchise solution with local tailors who wants to be parts of the Repamera family – and at the same time reducing transports of the garments down to the Malmö office. Interesting! Let your local tailor know and contact Henning Gillberg at Repamera!

Blogpost by
Amanda Mannervik
Strukturum
Sweden

Interview with Wiebke Reim

We had a chat with Doctor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), Wiebke Reim.

Hi Wiebke! You where on of our highly appreciated keynote speakers during our latest Camp ”MORE FROM LESS – making rural arctic sidestreams more profitable” – what are your key take aways from the event?
It was a great event and it is so nice to see that there is such a big interest in these questions that are about circular economy and especially rural arctic side streams that also is of major interest in our research. It was also great to hear about all the fantastic examples and great initiatives that are already ongoing here in the arctic region.

You seem to be involved in many projects related to Circular Economy and Circular Business Models, how come you find that field so interesting and urgent?
Business and also research has previous mainly been focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) where companies should do good thinks for the society and the environment in addition to their normal business. But with the logic of circular economy and circular business models it is possible to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits simultaneously and I think that that is necessary in order to convince that majority of companies to engage in the transition to a more sustainable business.

At the Greennovation Camp you presented the SYMBIOMA-project, could you tell us a little more about it and what you have learned so far?
Symbioma is funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Program and together with researchers and companies from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland we want to improve the valorization of industrial food waste. We have seen large differences between the countries of how the utilization of food waste is organized. The partner countries have much to learn from each other and there is a huge potential to collaborate. We are also developing a technology innovation platform (TIP) at www.symbioma.eu where you can identify possibilities for valorization of the food waste that your company is producing. The project is very exiting and has created a lot of attention which shows that side streams need to be better utilized.

In the event you presented a few business cases that you have worked with in the project, is there something that you would like to highlight?
It is fantastic to see all the innovative companies that turn challenges into solutions, and it is important to communicate these good examples to other companies and to facilitate collaboration.

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Is it possible for other companies to be involved in the project if they find it interesting?
Yes, of course. They can contact me (wiebke.reim@ltu.se) for more information and we are looking for companies that have good processes and technologies to make use of their side streams in food production and those that would like to improve the handling of their side/waste streams.

In 2019 your doctoral thesis won a price as “the best thesis of the year” by Vattenfall. Could you give a short summary of what it says and why you think it’s so accurate right now?
My thesis was about the implementation of new business models with a particular focus on risk management and collaboration. The knowledge from the thesis is now used to work with circular business models where the collaboration with other actors is a major factor for the success. In addition, only with a well-developed business model it will be possible to achieve the goal of the circular economy by creating economic, social, and environmental benefits simultaneously.

If you where to predict the soon future in business modeling – what do you see?
I see that business models need to become better in accounting for collaborations and partnerships where the business model also goes beyond the own company boundaries. I also see that we need to become better in highlighting the environmental and social value that a business model is creating and capturing. In addition, it is important to communicate that the business model components of value creation, value delivery and value capture need to be aligned and that changes in one component also will have an impact on the other components.

Anything else you would like to add?
It was a great experience to be part of the Greenovation Camp and I look forward to future events and activities from the Grude community.

Thank you for taking time Wiebke and good luck in all your future projects!

Circular Business Innovations from the Northern Arctic Areas

Greennovation Camp flyer

Summary of Greennovation Camp Keynote Speakers

The third virtual Greennovation Camp in the Interreg Nord-project GRUDE was held on Tuesday 9 Feb 2021. The focus of the event was on the utilization of sidestreams in rural Arctic areas and the day was kicked off by three keynote speakers from all of the three countries collaborating in the GRUDE project: Norway, Sweden and Finland.

This blog text will sum up the most interesting points in the keynote presentations. In case you would like to dig deeper into circular business models or the role of public sector in facilitating circular economy, check out the following links to our other blog posts about the Greennovation Camp group discussions where the participants presented several inspiring cases about these topics!

Group discussion 1: Public Sector Facilitating Circular Economy
Group discussion 2: Circular Business Models


Wiebke Reim: Circular Business Models and the Business Ecosystem – The Valorization of Food Waste

Wiebke Reim from Luleå University of Technology introduced us the Symbioma project. The objective of the project is to establish a circular economy related Technology Innovation Platform (TIP) which would boost eco-innovation in the Northern Arctic area by identifying new products from sidestreams, adopting new business models and forming resource efficient value chains.

In creating a more sustainable, circular economy Wiebke emphasized the importance of rethinking the values that businesses are based on. She also presented some great examples of circular business models, one of them being a piloting carried out in cooperation with Botten Vikens brewery.

In this experiment spent grain was used for cultivation of mealworms for chicken farms. In addition to reducing waste, the mealworms use up the water, naturally in the spent grain, so it can be further utilized as an odourless fertilizer. Furthermore, using mealworms as chicken food, offers a locally produced, sustainable option for soya.

According to Wiebke the implementation of circular business models requires:

  1. Understanding the need for transformation and rethinking the company’s core values
  2. Identifying current resource streams and potential for change
  3. Finding suitable partners and technology in the business ecosystem
  4. Understanding that circularity can look very different and everyone can contribute.

Reetta Nivala: Growth by Recycling

Reeta Nivala works as a Business Development Manager in the company Honkajoki Oy which is Finland’s leading processor of animal by-products. The goal of Honkajoki is to reduce, reuse and recycle waste produced by slaughterhouses and meat-cutting plants. At Honkajoki the waste is processed into organic raw materials that can be used for animal and fish feed, pet food, fertilizer, cosmetics industries, chemicals, as well as, fuel and biodiesel.

Reeta explained that only approx. 34 % of a cow is consumed as a part of the human diet in the Western countries whereas the rest of the animal (consisting of fat, bones, inner organs, intestinal content, etc.) is typically considered only as waste.

In addition to reducing waste and enhancing circular economy, the utilization of animal by-products has many other benefits. Firstly, the materials processed at Honkajoki are easily traceable across the industry which makes them safe to use. Secondly, the thorough utilization of by-products effectively prevents diseases from spreading, and finally, adds value to the meat production value chain.

Jan Gabor: World Class Green Industrial Park

Jan Gabor works with property development in Mo Industrial Park, which is the largest energy recycling project that the Norwegian Research Council has ever issued. There are 114 companies located in the Industrial Park and their industry sectors vary from metal and material as the largest sector to oil, gas and energy sector, food and chemical sector, as well as, industry clusters.

The main objectives of the project are:

  1. to reduce specific energy use by 20-30% and
  2. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10%

Jan also presented several specific initiatives which are a part of the Industrial Park project. These initiatives aim to model and optimize integrated energy systems in industrial parks. For example, in a project called CO2 HUB Nordland, Mo industrial park has worked with several large Norwegian companies from different sectors and helped them capture their CO2 off-gas. After capturing the CO2,it is either permanently stored in old oil deposits in the seabed in the Northern Sea or used in production of new products.

There is also a plan to establish an electrolysis production plant in Mo industrial park where hydrogen and CO2 could be combined as methanol which works as a carbon-neutral, synthetic option for gasoline. According to Jan, transitioning to use methanol or other types of e-fuels would mean up to 94 % reduction in CO2 emissions.

If you’re interested in circular economy and would like to learn more, please join us in the next Greennovation Camp on 11 May 2021. Our theme for next time will be Sustainable Tourism.

We’ll be posting more info soon on our Facebook page.

Hoping to see you in May! 😊

Blogpost by:
Henna Kukkonen,
Lapland University of Applied Sciences
Finland

Public Sector Facilitating Circular Economy

Summary of Group Discussion 1

In the group session of the 3rd Greennovation camp we had an opportunity to hear two exiting case studies that were linked to circular economy in public sector.

Inga Hermann:
Inga Hermann from Luleå University of Technology presented a case about black water and urine diversion systems for nutrient recovery from wastewater. System aims for more efficient recovery and reuse of valuable nutrients. Nowadays, volumes of water that must be treated are massive, as feces and urine are mixed with large amount of clean water. Simultaneously, nutrients from wastewater sludges are underutilized in food or feed production.

Rethinking the black water treatment, for example utilizing source separation and small-scale treatment systems, promotes the transition toward circular economy. Reusing of nutrients from household wastewaters would cover majority of the need for food production for corresponding population. In addition, CO2-emissions per ton of nutrient is less that in chemical fertilizers, and processing can also produce energy e.g. as a form of biogas.

Sanna Tyni:
Sanna Tyni’s case presentation was about a development project called LTKT 2.0 which aims for reinforcement of circular economy activities in Lapland. Circular economy is acknowledged to be important concept also for Lapland and project continues the work for developing the knowledge and networks further, both in public and private sector. One output of the project is to design a circular economy roadmap for Lapland.

Discussion:
After the case presentations we focused on a question of how public sector could act as an enabler for circular economy.

One important action is raising the awareness: communities haven’t necessarily considered how to handle and enhance the nutrient recycling. At least in the wastewater treatment sector also guidance and financial support from the government was recommended, as well as, demands for nutrient recovery, not only nutrient removal.

Communities should also utilize more actively participatory methods i.e. involve citizens to the decision making, as in the example of Ii municipality in the previous Greennovation Camp. It was reminded that municipalities are different to each other and everyone has to work on finding the best suitable methods for themselves, even though possibilities of solid business models for the municipalities were also under discussion. Public sector can act as an enabler for many everyday things. Making it possible to use local food products and local resources, increases the livelihood and vitality in the area.

Blog post by:
Satu Ervasti
The Natural Resources Instute
Finland

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)