Oslo is joining the circular movement – recap from circular society arena

Oslo is carrying the torch in sustainable city development as European Green Capital 2019. We are convinced that putting circular economy on the agenda for smart cities is the way to go. So this spring, Oslo Business Region contributed with our knowledge about Oslo and the startup ecosystem to the gathering Sirkulær Samfunnsarena (Circular Society Arena). The workshop was facilitated as a collaboration between Polyteknisk Forening, Samfunnsviterne and Tekna, as a part of a larger project on circular societies.

Well represented by sustainability-oriented actors with great love for Oslo, the gathering sought to develop ideas for solutions to a concrete societal challenge: more circular processes connected to electrical consumer and household products. In smaller groups, we worked on developing solutions from different persepctives in the value cycle (yes, that’s what it’s called when we’re talking circular!). Present at the event was over fifty different stakeholders, including Oslo kommunes secretary to the Deputy Mayor of City Development, Civita, Cicero, Telia, SINTEF, Schneider, Miljøagentene, BI Norwegian Business School, University of Oslo, OsloMet, Norsk Metallteknisk Forening and many more.

The challenge to be solved

High standard of living, rapid technological development and shorter life time cycles for products are pushing the electric and electronic waste (EE- waste) forward as one of the fastest growing waste streams in Norway. In the EU, it’s expected that there will be more than 12 million tonn EE-waste by 2020, and we can only assume that Norway will follow the same developent as the EU. Circular Societies Arena has created an alliance and cooperation with RENAAS, Circular Norway and EFO to solve challenges connected to electrical  and electronic devices and products in peoples homes.

There are many challenges to solve, including, but not limited to: trust, technology, and new business opportunities. A large chunk of the electronics we surround ourselves with contain private data, such as: pictures, passwords, and usernames. What if this information could be reached and subsequently used by strangers? And do people know that ourphones and tablets are made with rare metals that might not me the sexiest commodity in the world, yet critical in securing our digital future?

Prepping the group to think about startups & scaleups, Oslo Business Region took part in the session on entrepreneurship. Our challenge was:

“How do we stimulate new business development in the Oslo region (startups, scaleups, entrepreneurs) to contribute more in the transition to the circular economy?”


Snapshot from the circular societies arena. Photo credit: Polyteknisk Forening.

How do we incentivise the startup community to contribute to the transition to the circular economy?

Lively discussion & different perspectives brought up several suggestions, here are some of our proposed actions:

  • Gather Oslo-based startups to kick off an “elektro dugnad” where the startups initiate a campaign for motivating citizens to gather & deliver electronic waste, and further set up a service together with electronic production companies and vendors to find new life for the waste
  • Make a project on circular procurement in the Municipality of Oslo over the same model as the “Smart Oslo Accelerator” created by Oslo Business Region. This programme on circular procurement could be launched in 2019 as an initiative for Oslo European Green Capital.
  • Create an innovation award and event, “Oslo Circular Award” with first event to be planned in 2019, where Oslo would appoint the prize to the most innovative circular business solutions.

Other challenges covered during the circular societies arena session:

  • How to increase the amount of products in circular economy and increase quality in the product in first hand-over
  • How to make it simpler and more attractive for consumers to act more responsible in terms of circular behaviour
  • How can we influence incentives for the consumer and for businesses
  • How can the award in circular resource solutions benefit those to have the opportunity to implement the solutions

Want to learn about the suggested solutions to these circular challenges? You can find them here.
Click here to watch a video explaining what the action tank Circular Cities Arena is all about.
Just want to know whats the deal with circular economy and understand the basics? Read more on the site of newly launched Circular Norway. 

We here at Oslo Business Region will follow up on how we can set these solutions into life in further meetings with RENAS, Circular Norway, Polyteknisk Forening and other partners that contributed and participated in this session. Why? Because Oslo is going circular. 💚

Circular Entrepreneurship- Photo: Cathrine Barth




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Posted on: May 22. 2018
News, Reports, Smart City