The Nordic countries have unique positions of strength, a wide range of biological resources from land and water, high technological knowledge, a competitive industry, and a well-educated population, to take a leading role towards a circular economy. These strengths can be utilized to ensure rapid adaptability, improve our global market opportunities and competitiveness.
There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050 on the current trajectory the world will be consuming as if there were three. Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals is expected to double in the next forty years, while annual waste generation is projected to increase by 70% by 2050. According to the international Circularity Gap Report 2021, by combining the agendas of circular economy and climate mitigation we can double the current global circularity rate of 8.6% and thereby cut 39% of total global emissions and 28% of virgin resource use.
The Nordic countries have set ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions and live up to the Paris Agreement in 2030, including reducing energy-related emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing the use of fossil fuels. More efficient resource use, both by industries and final consumers are necessary to reduce CO2 and live up to the Paris Agreement. Circularity must therefore be a tangible and accessible option for consumption and a competitive business strategy for companies.
Circular business models and improved resource efficiency are a means to enhance emission abatement, reduce extraction, improve biodiversity and improve security when materials are kept in the region. Circular business models are a necessity for building resilience of the Nordic region.
Building on the single market and the potential of digital technologies, the circular economy can strengthen the Nordic’s industrial base and foster business creation and entrepreneurship among SMEs. Innovative business models based on a closer relationship with customers, mass customization, the sharing and collaborative economy, and powered by digital technologies, such as the internet of things, big data, blockchain and artificial intelligence, will not only accelerate circularity but also the dematerialization of our economy and make the Nordic less dependent on primary materials.
The program is one of the eight initiatives lunched by the five Nordic ministers of trade and industry. The initiatives represent a determined advance towards a stronger and more sustainable Nordic region and support the vision for the Nordic region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. They are also important steps in the quest to make Nordic business and industry green, circular, and carbon-neutral in line with the vision.
The aim of the Circular Business Model program is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in the Nordics and to develop the Nordics further as agile frontrunners within circular economy and circular business models.
The Nordic countries will not achieve transformative change by acting alone. A Nordic approach to a circular business models will support and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda and work to strengthen the ambitions of EU Green Deal. It will also allow for ecosystem partners to take part in the Horizon Europe missions.
The program employs innovation to catalyze systemic change. The program is designed to generate options in the face of uncertainty and tests integrated and exponential solutions to address the complex, multi-faced nature of the changes we need to make by:
- Stimulating organizations and companies to implement sustainable circular business models through establishing a common baseline for targeted and efficient policy that accelerates the circular and CO2 neutral transition in the Nordics, with a focus on circular business models, data and digitalization.
- Green and Responsible Business Reporting to promote structuring, digitalization, documentation and reporting of CSR and “green data” regarding products and businesses.
- Building a Nordic ecosystem and capital market for green entrepreneurs.