"With today's solutions, we only meet half of our sustainability goals. Through collaboration, Sweden can become a pioneer"

2020-10-12

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On October 21, some of Sweden's largest companies will gather for the Circular Initiative in order to drive work forward towards a more circular economy. Participating is Professor Robin Teigland, who, among other things, researches circular economy and believes that companies, politicians and academics must collaborate more to find new solutions. With today's solutions, we achieve only half of the UN's global sustainability goals, according to Teigland.

Working with circular flows and products is not only vital to achieving national sustainability goals, it also strengthens corporate business, product development and brands. This is the opinion of Robin Teigland, Professor of Strategy and Digitalization at the Department of Technology Economics and Organization at Chalmers in Gothenburg.

– When you start to base your thinking on the circular economy, new ideas and opportunities arise in the development of solutions and products. We find new services and areas for improvement - things that benefit both business and the environment. Examples include new materials, a sharing economy and the ability to replace individual components, instead of entire products. With today's solutions, we only meet half of our global sustainability goals. In order to succeed, collaboration is required between academics, companies and politicians, says Robin Teigland.

Companies that are both willing and able

– Sweden has every opportunity to become a pioneer in sustainable development and circularity. We have the technology and companies here are both willing and able. What’s needed is collaboration, whereby we learn from each other and contribute the best of what we have to offer. Arenas like the Circular Initiative are very important and can show the way, says Robin.

The Circular Initiative is a collaborative arena initiated by Stena Recycling in 2019. Within this forum, companies collaborate and contribute their expertise in order to achieve more circular material flows in society and industry, by highlighting common goals, innovation and technological development. The collaboration and development projects run throughout the year and a joint event is held annually to inspire and present the projects’ results.

Due to Covid-19, the Circular Initiative 2020 has been arranged as a digital event and will be broadcast from the meeting place, A House, in Stockholm on 21 October. Participants will be on-site, with invited guests participating via link.

During this year’s event, the participants will present a number of joint projects, including new initiatives and give progress reports and results on existing ones. Among other things, the program will feature these presentations:

  • ABB presents a new circular flow for electric motors in industry - an important contribution to making business more energy efficient and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Electrolux and Stena Recycling reveal a major achievement, resulting from an innovative collaboration during the year.
  • Stora Enso presents how they have developed a circular by-product from paper and pulp production.

Through technological advances and new forms of collaboration, the projects contribute to waste prevention and make better use of the waste that is produced. More companies are encouraged to join the initiative.

Consumers make higher demands

– Circular flows are not only a matter of managing the earth's limited resources in a smart way, it’s also a strategic issue for the manufacturing industry. Consumers are making ever-increasing demands on the products they buy. Manufacturing companies that work actively on these issues, and sustainable business, have, and will continue to have, a competitive advantage. By collaborating, we can go further than we would individually, says Fredrik Pettersson, Managing Director of Stena Recycling Sweden.

In a survey conducted by Kantar/Sifo, on behalf of the Circular Initiative, more than 90% of the respondents said they expected manufacturers to use more recycled materials in their products. 57% stated that they were willing to pay extra for such products. The same survey also shows that a majority (67%) believe that companies should take the major role in increasing the use of recycled materials.

 

About the Circular Initiative

  • The Circular Initiative is a collaborative arena, where decision-makers meet to discuss and develop concrete measures for more circular material flows within Swedish industry. The initiative was launched by Stena Recycling in 2019. Investor, ABB, Combitech, Electrolux and Stora Enso have been partners since its inception but other industrial companies are welcome to join.
  • Collaborations and projects take place all year round. Once a year, representatives from participating companies gather to present a number of joint projects, including new initiatives and give progress reports and results on existing ones.
  • The first event took place in 2019. This year, the Circular Initiative has been arranged as a digital event on October 21 at 09:00-11:30, only invited guests may participate.
  • This year's speakers will include: Fredrik Pettersson, Managing Director of Stena Recycling AB; Jacob Wallenberg, Investor AB's Chairman, Dennis Helfridsson, Managing Director of ABB Sweden, Ola Nilsson CXO/CTO of Electrolux, Noel Morrin, Chief Sustainability Manager at Stora Enso and Robin Teigland, Professor of Digitalization Management at Chalmers. The moderator will be Eva Hamilton, former CEO of SVT (the Swedish public service television company) and a board professional. Find out more at: https://circularinitiative.stenarecycling.com
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Photo 1: The first event took place in 2019. This year’s Circular Initiative has been arranged as a digital event

 

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Photo 2: Robin Teigland, Professor of Strategy and Digitalization at the Department of Technology Economics and Organization at Chalmers in Gothenburg

 

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Photo 3: Fredrik Pettersson, Managing Director of Stena Recycling Sweden.

 

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Photo 4: Jens Leffler, Sustainability Lead Wellbeing, Electrolux AB, at a workshop on circular manufacturing with Stena Recycling.