“Circular economy in the Nordics – How can we make it happen?” Just before the summer holidays I had the pleasure of attending an inspiring Nordic event with this theme. The conference that was organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers, brought together a great deal of stakeholders in Oslo and online, combining inspirational keynotes from Nordic, EU and OECD cooperation with findings and examples from joint projects and a number of Nordic cities, not to mention the informal exchange of ideas during the coffee breaks.
I was invited to share key takeaways from a project-in-progress of Gaia’s. For the past two years, we have, together with our Nordic partners, been studying circularity-potential, barriers to change, and needed actions in several key sectors of the Nordic economies. Our work looks into the ongoing development, especially related to construction, bio-economy, the food chain, and smart mobility and logistics. It seeks to highlight how circularity can contribute to healthier climate, environment, and societies. We are also interested in how the use of data and digital tools and the emergence of novel business models – such that build on circulating and sharing material, products and services – can escalate the circular transition.
The Nordic countries have already – separately and together – launched a great deal of actions to speed up the transition towards resource-wise societies. I am sure that many share the strong sense of momentum and expectations on how the Nordics could do even more to release the untapped circularity-potential that our study had found in many areas.
Governments and the public sector support the circular transition in several ways, by creating policies and incentives that help reduce still existing barriers in regulation, technology and market development, and affect both company and consumer behaviour. In our study, we are developing recommendations on what the Nordic countries could and should do together to support this transition. As our work is approaching its conclusion, we are looking forward to sharing key findings and discussing the recommendations with policy makers and other key public and private stakeholders, in our final upcoming policy workshop on 1 September. Stay tuned for more results!
Susanna Sepponen is Business manager at Gaia and Project Manager for the study on Low-Carbon Circular Transition in the Nordics – opportunities and needed actions which Gaia is conducting in cooperation with PlanMiljø, NORSUS, RISE and Environice.
Evaluation and Impact Assessment, Circular Economy, Research and Innovation Systems, Nordic Cooperation,