Actions Towards Sustainable Tourism Business

This blog text is a summary of one the three Grennovation Camp keynote presentations. Matti Ala-Outinen from Hawkhill Company, Finland, introduced the actions his family company has taken in efforts to combat the climate change and environmental injustice.

Hawkhill Company’s 9 rental cottages are surrounded by Nuuksio National Park near Helsinki. The company was founded by Matti’s grandparents in the 60’s and today Matti and his siblings are leading the business in the area where they have lived and grown up. Due to decades of family history in the area, sustainability and responsibility are built-in as core values of the company. The current owner’s objective is to preserve the environment as serene and tranquil as it has been in their childhood.

When it comes to fighting the climate change, Matti’s core message is that there is no need to wait for the politicians or the EU to make big decisions. Instead, we can make the change right now. In Hawkhill Company’s case the owners have rewritten their whole business strategy and defined the business as a tool to fight climate injustice and to be forerunners who challenge partners and business competitors for change. The company wants to set an example of an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, yet flourishing, business.

In practice, the actions towards sustainability have included for example, investing in electric cars and charging points in the cottage resort area, the change to nuclear energy and geothermal warming systems, restoring company owned peatlands and investing in the vitality of the nearby village in different ways. So far, the actions towards sustainable and more transparent travel business have proved to be great competition benefits and keys to growth, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

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

Tromsø & Sustainability – Before and After COVID-19

This blog text is a summary of one the three Grennovation Camp keynote presentations. Lone Helle and Inger-Lise Brones from Visit Tromsø-Region AS presented the sustainability development in the largest destination company in Norway, as well as the effect of COVID-19 for the travel industry in Tromsø.

During the past 10 years before the pandemic, tourism in Tromsø had grown fast and travel industry had become the second largest value creator in the area. Event though flourishing tourism had brought economical growth to the region, the increasing number of visitors was also causing problems: busses were blocking the main street in Tromsø and tourists were trespassing people’s back yards or taking pictures of kindergarten children. The challenges were portrayed in the surveys done as a part of the sustainable travelling strategy work in 2018. 38 percent of the residents reported negative experiences related to tourism and 35 percent expressed their worry that tourism might decrease their quality of life in the future.

After two years of work and gathering information from local travel companies, residents and guests, Visit Tromsø in cooperation with Tromsø municipality finished a strategy for the whole travelling industry in the region in 2019. The strategy aimed for increasing awareness of sustainable tourism. This includes, for example, value creation by involving the local people, highlighting the local culture and history, as well as, creating general guidelines for travellers in the area. The persistent work was rewarded in 2019 when Tromsø, as the first city in Norway, received a sustainable destination certificate.

The hit of the global pandemic in Tromsø region can be described as devastating as it meant nearly a full stop for tourism in the area. For example, the income from sold activities in Visit Tromsø dropped from NOK 9 million in 2020 to 100 000 NOK in 2021. On the other hand, the pandemic became a starting point for new cooperation between different stakeholders in the industry. The focuses of the strategy work for the coming years have been defined as green shift, digitalization and destination management which considers, not just individual players’ interests, but the needs of the community as a whole.

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

Great Interest in Emissions Free Construction Sites in Northern Norway

15th of April, SINTEF Nord hosted a 3-hour webinar on emissions free construction sites in Northern Norway. Participants from public and private sector joined to discuss the potential for deploying electric machinery in construction projects.

The construction industry is a contributor to both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. By making the construction sites emissions free, Norway will be one step closer to achieving their climate goals.

Emissions free construction sites are relatively new for both public developers and the private business sector. However, public sector is sending strong signals that future building and construction sites in Norway will be emission free. Recently, seven municipalities in Norway have joined together and set ambitious climate goals: All municipal building and construction projects must be emissions free by 2025 – and from 2030 all building and construction activities in cities must be emissions free.

The city of Oslo was the first to have an emissions free construction site. At the webinar, one of the central questions discussed was what prerequisites are needed for success with emission free construction sites in Northern Norway? To shed light on this, we listened to regional actors along the entire value chain, that being municipalities, power grid suppliers, contractors and suppliers of equipment and heavy machinery.

What can be learned from Oslo? One of the things mentioned was the establishment of early and good dialogue between the involved parties. This is crucial both with regard to the procurement strategy and the contractor’s role in setting procurement criteria, but also with regard to planning and facilitation of, among other things, power supply at the sites themselves. Energy and power needs should be clarified early and optimized along the way. It was also emphasized that new solutions such as mobile batteries and flexible chargers should be considered.

There is no doubt that an emissions free construction site should be seen as a collaborative project that requires both early planning and optimization along the way. There is also a need to carry out pilot projects – to learn, to try new solutions, to document what works and how to achieve the best possible climate effect with the lowest possible costs. Pilot projects for emissions free construction sites should take place with a lower risk for the contractor and developer through the use of the available incentive tools.

This blog post was originally posted on the SINTEF blog.

Authors:
Randulf Høyli (SINTEF Nord),
Grethe Lilleng (SINTEF Nord) &
Kristin Fjellheim (SINTEF Community).

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!