Marthe Haugland and Kyösti Lempa standing outside in Oslo and smiling at the camera.

CIRCit Discovering the Opportunities of the Nordic Circular Economy

At the workshop, the project presented research results on how companies can transition to circular economy and shared tools from their new workbooks.

The CIRCit project is part of the Nordic Green Growth program by NordForsk, Nordic Energy Research and Nordic Innovation. Why was the program established in the first place?

Kyösti Lempa, NordForsk:
“The Nordic countries have committed themselves to ambitious goals towards the Nordic Council of Minister’s Vision 2030 in terms of developing energy-efficient and low-carbon societies. We need wide-ranging efforts to promote the transition towards greener Nordic societies and economies to achieve these goals. The Nordic Green Growth program facilitates activities that encourage green economic growth, sustainability and competitiveness in both the public and the private sectors.”

Marthe Haugland, Nordic Innovation:
“It was also an effort to bridge the gap between research and innovation and to bring the skills and knowledge of NordForsk, Nordic Energy Research and Nordic Innovation together in a collaborative effort, in order to contribute to the green transition.”

What is CIRCit?

The CIRCit research project (Circular Economy Integration in the Nordic Industry for Enhanced Sustainability and Competitiveness), with operations in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland, was established in 2017 and supports the Nordic industry to discover the opportunities of circular economy.

The project is the result of a collaboration between the three Nordic organisations NordForsk, Nordic energy Research and Nordic Innovation.

What were your expectations for the CIRCit project?

Kyösti Lempa:
“The CIRCIt project is funded under the thematic area ‘Societal changes and future scenarios with focus on sustainable regional development’ of the Nordic Green Growth Program. It is especially strong in the areas of analyses of paradigm changes and industrial transformations and development of conceptual frameworks to assist policymakers.”

Marthe Haugland:
“I took over the projects in 2019, when CIRCit was already well underway. The fact that the CIRCit project was converting their research and their ideas into tools that they tested with companies in each of the Nordic countries made me hopeful that the tools could have a wide application and could help companies in their transition to a circular economy.”

What is the Nordic added value of the CIRCit project and its results?

Kyösti Lempa:
“The strong academy-industry networks, tangible tools and guidance for implementation of circular economy in the private sector are all examples of Nordic added value. A new PhD completed during the project period will also be an asset for the Nordic industries.”

quote author

Circular economy is a mindset that needs to be implemented at a system level and we at Nordic Innovation are driving the mobilization for the transition.

– Marthe Haugland, Nordic Innnovation

Marthe Haugland:
“The Nordic added value of the CIRCit project is high both in scope and scale. Bringing the knowledge and research efforts of the five Nordic academic institutions together to accelerate green growth is, in itself, an added value. In addition, all this knowledge was shared and improved with companies from all the Nordic countries. The project meant that research and testing done in one country was shared with both researchers and companies in the other countries, like that you could reach a critical mass of companies. The result is definitively more valuable than it would have been had the project been carried out in only one country.”

How will NordForsk and Nordic Innovation work with the circular economy going forward?

Kyösti Lempa:
“The Nordic Council of Ministers promotes circular economy and green transition in the transport, construction, food and energy industries in its action plan on Vision 2030. NordForsk will coordinate the forthcoming innovation and research program on green transition, which will provide a platform to promote and further develop CIRCit’s ideas, tools and guidance and bring them to the next step. The CIRCit tools help the stakeholders in the Nordic countries and beyond to rethink product design, business models, digitalisation strategies and decision making on their way to a circular economy."

Marthe Haugland:
“Nordic Innovation has an ongoing program, Nordic Sustainable Business Transformation (2018-2021) that promotes and facilitates the uptake of circular economy in the Nordics, mainly in businesses. In this program we have promoted the CIRCit project’s work and tools several times and will continue to do so. The tools in the focus areas will be taken aboard the future work of Nordic innovation.

We have just received new initiatives from the Nordic Council of Ministers, and I am happy to see that the Ministers of Trade and Industry priorities circular economy going forward. Nordic Innovation will thus continue to work on circular economy, especially circular business models, a sustainable and circular Nordic construction sector and a sustainable mining industry. Circular economy is a mindset that needs to be implemented at a system level and we at Nordic Innovation are driving the mobilization for the transition."

Read and download the CIRCit Workbooks here.


Portrait Marthe Haugland

Marthe Haugland

Senior Innovation Adviser
Marthe combines her international experience with her knowledge of business development and innovation to promote Nordic cooperation within the circular economy. She belives Nordic cooperation can drive the systemic change and give Nordic companies a competitive edge going forward.

Twitter   Linkedin