Startup Iceland joins LOOP, the Nordic circular economy ecosystem. Loop was launched in 2018 by Avanto Ventures, Sitra and Nordic Innovation to take the circular economy from strategy to action. In 2020, to accelerate transition to circularity even more in the Nordics, The consortium partnered up with like-minded companies preferring to act instead of talking. The partnership today includes Antrop (SE), Avanto (FI), Agens (NO), Startup Norway (NO) and Startup Iceland (IS).
The theme for Startup Iceland 2021 will be Circular Economy. The Startup Iceland team will be working with an incredible group of people across the Nordic countries to move the concept of a circular economy into action. What is a circular economy you ask? There are a number of definitions but as I see it, it is almost entirely about sustainability. Doing more with less , keeping waste minimal, leaving smaller carbon footprints, innovative new ways of building things with new materials and methods than repeating the same old, leaving the planet significantly better than when we started building the new thing. I was inspired to meet with the team that is biased towards action and looking for ways to get the broad idea of circular economy into everything that we do in the Nordic countries. Nordic countries have been leaders in the areas of sustainability, design thinking and creative development, this initiative is another example of showing that leadership. The mission is to get more businesses in the Nordic countries to adopt Circular Economy thinking.
Startup Iceland was created to inspire and to bring big ideas to life by working at the grassroots. The world is in constant change and we have learnt a lot of things in the last couple of decades with the continuous march of technological progress and globalization. How we make things is terrible. What is acceptable practice in some parts of the world is causing catastrophic damage to the environment and is creating terrible consequences for everyone in this planet. I think we can do better, no, I think we can do 100x better. This “better thing” is not going to happen unless we are able to get every business to rethink how they operate. The pandemic has shown that rules of the game of business has changed and it has leveled the playing field for all companies irrespective where in the world they are located. I think the time is right to rethink how we make things and how we build.
Founders play a leading role in building the future but existing companies can also adopt some of the startup thinking to execute the circular economy principles. As stated by Marthe Haugland, Senior Innovation Adviser at Nordic Innovation
There are several industries that have a large potential to change and use circular business models in their operations. A circular business model will bring you closer to the customer (you solve the customer need) and you will use less (raw) materials, saving money, as well as finding new revenue streams. This can really be a competitive advantage for the early movers. Sectors with a large environmental footprint like the construction, food and textiles are important industries, where showcasing solutions that actually work both in an economical and environmental way is important and can help others to change as well, says Haugland.
The specific actions that we will be executing on is to bring more attention to the concept of Circular Economy. We will share stories through a number of platforms that we have established to bring examples of companies, startups and founders working on solutions to reduce waste and innovative technologies to bring solutions to the market with the Circular Economy as the foundation. The idea is to get more established companies to join the consortium and work on ideas to move their products, services and operations in line with concepts of Circular Economy. The good news is that there is a global transition going on and a number of initiatives have been in development to transition the global to a more sustainable future.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation‘s Mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The foundation has built some interesting partnerships and resources to inspire, educate and develop solutions with the circular economy in mind.
If you want to learn more about What is the Circular Economy, here is a great outline. If you want to dig deeper about the Circular Economy, here are more learning resources.