13 November 2014

New initiative for resource-efficient business

Many companies apply new models for smarter use of raw materials and energy. To strengthen these efforts and disseminate best practice, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences is starting a new project in efficient resource management, with support from funders including Mistra.

One of the big global challenges is to disengage growth from increased use of resources. Already, we are consuming several times more than Earth produces. The business sector has a key role in this adjustment, which is also a long-term requirement if companies and countries alike are to be capable of remaining competitive.

This is the background to ‘Resource-Efficient Business Models — Strengthened Competitiveness’, a new project started by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien, IVA). The steering group comprises experienced leaders from business, public agencies, politics and academia, including Mistra’s Chief Executive Åke Iverfelt.

‘Resource efficiency is a highly interesting area for Mistra. We’re investing in this IVA project as part of a broader initiative in the area that we consider very important for Sweden’s future competitiveness,’ Iverfelt says.

Great potential for the business sector

Swedish business has good chances of devising solutions that will help to bring about a sustainable economy. This kind of economy involves seeing waste as a source of raw materials that can be put to use in new production processes, and also finding new business models that encourage us to borrow or hire products instead of buying them.

‘Mistra is currently engaged in a major call for research proposals for a programme in product design and resource efficiency to help bring about a circular economy. The plan is for this initiative to be the focal point in Mistra’s commitment in this area,’ Åke Iverfelt explains.

The potential is enormous. Increased resource efficiency is one of the EU’s overall objectives between now and 2020, and there are calculations showing that European companies can save €600 billion while reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions. A key element in doing so is to increase the proportion of waste that is reused, recycled or otherwise reintroduced into the production process.

Text: Andreas Nilsson, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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