Senior innovation adviser at Nordic Innovation, Elis benediktsson in front of a computer screen displaying an image of the OECD and Nordic Innovation webinar 31 march 2020

OECD and Nordic Innovation joined forces for the circular economy

On 31 March 2020, OECD and Nordic Innovation came together to host two webinars on circular economy: Spotlight on the circular economy in cities and regions and What’s new and how to measure circularity at local level? The interest was overwhelming with approximately 500 people joining the webinars. The effort to work towards a circular economy was as visible as ever.

OECD, the City of Oslo and Nordic Innovation had originally planned a roundtable on the circular economy in cities and regions on the same date, this will be moved to later this year. Read more here.

With over 250 people joining and taking part in the discussion, Spotlight on the circular economy in cities and regions summed up the current circular economy landscape in Europe. Nordic Innovation’s senior innovation adviser Elís Benediktsson finished the session by giving an overview of strategies and initiatives across the Nordic countries.

Launch of three OECD reports on circular economy

In the first part of the webinar, three new OECD reports were presented; from the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The Swedish report is from the city of Umeå in northern Sweden. Deputy Mayor Janet Ågren presented the report and shared their next steps and recommendations:

  • Facilitate: Coordinating function, map out initiatives
  • Promote: Support and educate businesses, organisations, NGOs and civil society
  • Enable: Circular and green public procurement, circularity in the waste-and resource plan

The presentation can be found here and the webinar here (Umeå presentation from 08:30).
The three reports are available on the OECD website.

The next generation of circular city case studies

Next up were the new cities and countries kickstarting their OECD journey. Here, Granada, Glasgow and Ireland presented their current circular initiatives and aspirations for the future. These presentations can be found here.

Circular economy in the Nordics

In the last part of the webinar, we focused on the Nordics. Håkon Jenthoft from the City of Oslo presented their strategy for a circular economy, focusing on green public procurement to succeed in the mission of becoming a net-zero emission city by 2030.

“Green public procurement is one of the most powerful tools that we have, therefore how we develop this tool is important”

– Håkon Jenthoft, City of Oslo

You can see the presentation and the entire webinar here.

The final speaker of the webinar was Nordic Innovation’s senior innovation adviser Elís Benediktsson. He outlined was has been achieved to date in the Nordics, presented the targets set by each country, and introduced the current and planned initiatives. Elís also explained the role of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the joint vision for 2030.

“We must work together, learn from each other, go for the things that work and not be afraid of letting go of things that don’t”

– Elís Benediktsson, Nordic Innovation

When answering the question What can the Nordics really learn from other countries regarding circular economy?, Benediktsson highlighted the importance of being humble “…We can always learn from others and we’re happy to share what we are doing. In terms of circular economy, we have looked at the Netherlands and Japan, as well as other actors on the international stage, and tried to learn from their experiences”. Through Nordic cooperation and partnerships, the Nordic countries have managed to come far in a short amount of time. “We must work together, learn from each other, go for the things that work and not be afraid of letting go of things that don’t”, Benediktsson finished.

Elís Benediktsson's presentation can be found here.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Elís Benediktsson through the contact info below.

The second webinar What’s new and how to measure circularity at local level? attracted equally many participants and can be found in its full length here.

Thank you to all who participated and took part in the debate. We look forward to welcoming you to a physical roundtable in Oslo, hopefully later this year.


Portrait Elís Benediktsson

Elís Benediktsson

Senior Innovation Adviser
Elís combines his scientific educational background with his broad international experience in biotech, banking and economic diplomacy. His main strengths lie within business development & analysis, project management, as well as international trade & investment advisory.

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