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 check out the following link to our previous blog post about the Greennovation Camp small group discussion where the participants presented several inspiring cases about it!

Group discussion: 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 in our Facebook page and local Facebook group: FB Group Finland

Hoping to see you in May! 😊

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