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Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy

The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation should be given responsibility to establish a national strategy to make Sweden a world leader in resource effectiveness and circularity. This is one of the messages communicated in this final report from a project of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).

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Right now society is going through a serious crisis, but it is also showing a strong ability to adapt. Going forward we need to continue to invest in making society sustainable and competitive and we hope that our project can help with that.

Åke Svensson, Chair of IVA’s project Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy

Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy was a two-year project aimed at making Sweden more competitive in a future with finite resources in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Hundreds of stakeholders from the private sector, the research world, public agencies and organisations came together to discuss how Sweden can develop a circular strategy to enable all parts of society to act in a resource-effective and circular way.

“The vision for IVA’s Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy project is for Sweden to be the leading nation as a resource-effective and circular society. We are in a unique position to take the lead and create solutions that the world needs”, says Caroline Ankarcrona, Project Manager at IVA.

Another goal of the project was to improve Sweden’s competitiveness internationally. It has therefore proposed giving the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation an expanded responsibility to develop a national strategy to make Sweden a world leader in resource effectiveness and circularity. Public procurement should also be used to drive development of more resource-effective solutions and circularity in society, for example through procurement of functions.

Further measures proposed are collaboration between different market areas to achieve resource-effective flows. One proposal is to appoint brokers to match supply and demand. Companies – and in particular small businesses – need support to transition and increase their resource effectiveness, and the VAT on, for example, used goods should be changed.

The IVA report’s results are based on work carried out in five subprojects that produced action plans aimed at policy-makers, the private and public sectors and academia. Below are some of the conclusions presented by the subprojects for Food, Shared Space, Mobility, Plastics and Textiles:

  • A cohesive framework to measure and monitor the amount of food that is lost and goes to waste.
  • Proposed overhaul of tax rules, rental laws and the Building and Planning Act to promote space sharing.
  • Recommendation to promote data sharing for resource-effective mobility.
  • Proposed clarification of public agency responsibility with respect to plastics and a Swedish plastics strategy, closer examination of chemical plastics recycling and stimulating demand for recycled plastics.
  • The use of “material brokers” is proposed to find material flows for textile production and innovative business models based on, for example, scaling up reuse solutions.

Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy