Circular City Week

Nordic Companies Showing Best Practices In New York

Last week, Circular City Week New York took place. During five days, more than 250 speakers from different organizations participated with expertise and input to the circular agenda. The Nordic Circular Space – an area dedicated to Nordic companies – gave the opportunity to showcase Nordic circular capabilities and network with stakeholders and partners. Nordic Innovation supported Circular City Week as Premium Partner and co-hosted the session “A Practical Approach to Circular Market Transition” together with Nordic Circular Hotspot.

“I am most impressed by the amount of energy the organizing team has put into making this open collaborative festival for circular economy take place. By bringing businesses, people and organizations together, we lay the foundation for solutions and innovations that will benefit the inhabitants in the Nordic countries and the rest of the world”

Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation

Circular City Week is the largest circular economy event in the US, and it was the fourth time that it took place in New York. The aim of the event is to show how circular practices such as reuse, recycling and upscaling are transforming urban industries and the city as a whole. The week is meant to inspire and raise awareness to current best practices and initiatives across sectors and industries.

Managing Director Svein Berg at Circular City Week New York
Managing Director, Svein Berg at Circular City Week New York

“More than half of the world’s population live in cities. Therefore, cities must play an important role in the transition.  I couldn’t think of a more appropriate place than New York to host the Circular City Week”.

Peter Munch-Madsen, Senior Innovation Advisor, Nordic Innovation

Nordic Region as circular frontrunner

The transition into circular economy is important for Nordic Innovation. It is a part of the Circular Business Models program which is one of the eight initiatives launched by the five Nordic ministers of trade and industry. The aim of the Circular Business Models program is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in the Nordics and to develop the Nordics as agile frontrunners within circular economy and circular business models.

The vision for the Nordic cooperation is to become the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030.  Nordic Innovation seeks to reach the 2030 vision through three innovation missions:

  • A waste-free Nordic region
  • A pioneering region for green mobility
  • Leading within smart and sustainable growth

“Circular economy is definitely at the core of our missions that will contribute to fulfill the goals in the eight programs for a greener post-COVID-19 business sector, launched by the Nordic ministers for business and innovation in 2020”.

Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation

During the five days in New York, companies from all the Nordic countries gathered at the Nordic Circular Space. The Nordic Circular Space was created as an arena for Nordic companies to showcase their ideas and solutions, make presentations and host match-making events. Each of the five Nordic countries had their own exhibition area and a common event space and workshop area. The Nordic Circular Space served as a central point for Nordic activities and branding, and it showed as an example of how regional collaboration can push the circular transition forward.

“The Circular Space was a great opportunity for Nordic companies to network and showcase their solutions. The concept was tested for the first time this year, and I believe it can become a valuable platform for Nordic companies in the future”.

Hege Louise Guttormsen, Innovation Advisor, Nordic Innovation

A practical approach to circular market transition

On day 4, Nordic Innovation co-hosted a session together with Nordic Circular Hotspot. The purpose of the session was to showcase the importance of building Nordic and North American networks of circular frontrunners, innovators and investors. Four Nordic experts participated in the session and contributed with concrete insights, ideas and knowhow to the circular agenda.

“It was a very interesting and action-oriented session. The case of the Coast bench in Vestre’s presentation was an excellent example of circularity and Product as a Service. The bench is not only made from marine plastics but is also rented out in order to ensure ownership, and thereby responsibility, for the material over time. A creative and practical approach to circularity”

Hege Louise Guttormsen, Innovation Advisor, Nordic Innovation.
Presentation by Peter Munch-Madsen
Presentation by Peter Munch-Madsen

Nordic Innovation hold a presentation about the Nordic approach to circularity and how to develop cross border circular initiatives as an example for other regions to follow.

“Currently, Nordic Innovation offers online training and concrete tools to Nordic organizations that see the value for transitioning into circular business models. As a speaker at the panel, I delivered insights on Nordic Innovation’s efforts to take circular business to the next level among Nordic organizations”.

Peter Munch-Madsen, Senior Innovation Adviser, Nordic Innovation.

Speakers at the session:

  • Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation
  • Peter Munch-Madsen, Senior Innovation Advisor, Nordic Innovation
  • Cathrine Barth, Managing Partner, Nordic Circular Hotspot
  • Kristoffer Vestre, Head of North America, Vestre
  • Martin Aares, Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners

Nordic values as key drivers for circularity

Managing Director Svein Berg closed the Circular City Week by highlighting the Nordic values Trust, Transparency and Openness as important drivers behind the Nordic success.

“The Nordic cooperation is based on the idea that together we are stronger. We can learn from each other, experiment with new approaches and this way support the transformation towards a sustainable society. Based on our Nordic strongholds and shared values we can promote sustainable solutions to global challenges, leading by example and encouraging others”.

Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation

Project partner


Portrait of Hege Louise Guttormsen

Hege Louise Guttormsen

Higher Executive Officer
Hege began working at Nordic Innovation in January 2022 after finishing her internship there. Her focus areas include circular business models; mobility and connectivity; as well as Nordic Innovation’s Nordic Task Force for Diversity. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and has previously interned at the Norwegian Consulate General in Mumbai and Lightup Norway.


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.

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Hanna Törmänen

Hanna Törmänen

Innovation Adviser
Hanna has background in Nordic and international exports, public-private cooperation, project management and market analysis. Her focus at Nordic Innovation is to support Nordic businesses and ecosystems in their transition towards sustainable and circular business models.