#NordicTalks 2020

From waste to resource

All speakers from left to right: Sarah Nelen, Pär Larshans, Jon Christopher Knudsen, Morten Kramer Nielsen, Virpi Amoedo, Freek van Eijk, Harald Friedl, Marthe Haugland, Cathrine Barth and Andrea Orsag

3rd of feb 2020, the first day of the circular economy week. Today Frans Timmermans talked in Den Haag about the circular economy and at #nordictalks we took the talks to another level from several speakers from Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands about the latest developments within the circular economy.

We kicked off with Andrea Orsag who gave a chilling opening speech about how we, not just the nordic countries, need to work together on creating a circular economy. After the opening she sat down with Harald Friedl to talk about the circularity gap report. The biggest take-aways and the most shocking for me that we went from 9% circularity to 8.6%, which is the wrong direction. In the report it also details on which countries are shifting, building and growing. The most interesting take away from this overview is that Uruguay, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Romania are doing pretty good, with smaller impact per person and either building or shifting towards a more sustainable society. It is a very satisfying looking report and I would recommend going to https://www.circularity-gap.world/2020

Harald also told us about that he was working on creating a platform where you can easily find sustainable and circular fashion.

Next up on stage was Sarah Nelen Deputy Head of Cabinet of Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans at European Commission. She came to talk about the EU Green Deal, a goal that aims towards being emission neutral by 2050. “It is a growing strategy, and it’s not all roses. We have winners and losers, take for instance the coalminers, they will lose business.” The way that the EU will try and reach this goal is very interesting, they don’t have a clear path yet and she gave different scenarios as possibilities.

EU Green Deal Emissions prognosis

The first scenario in this prognosis is where the emissions will slowly go lower and lower, where there is a nice and easy transition into zero emission, and the other is where there will be a build up first, where new technologies and emission friendly powerplants, factories and cities will be developed before there will be a big dip in emissions where it will end in zero.

“Textiles are the new plastics” – Sarah Nelen

Sarah makes the comparison between plastics and textiles because of the ban on single use plastics and the way that plastics are being recycled more and more, the next big step will be textiles and the tons of waste it creates every year.

This plan is a Northstar to keep in mind, actually achieving this will be a huge achievement where governments, private sector and citizens need to work together towards a zero emission EU.

During a panel discussion with companies Ragn-Sells, ARC, Neste and Aker Solutions, they showed us the most recent projects and achievements. The CO2 neutral incineration power plant with a ski slope on the roof and collection of oil from food that can be turned into fuel were the biggest highlights of the conversation.

Pär Larshans called upon the audience for “collaboration between countries is needed, not just between governments but also with and between the public sector”

To keep it short and sweet there was a nice back and forth between the public and the speakers on stage. The Club of Rome called upon everybody to use one of two resources that are limitless: “There are two resources in the world that are limitless: imagination and stupidity, which resource are you going to use in the fight towards a circular economy?”

There was also someone who mentioned “Hedonistic Sustainability”. So where it becomes pleasurable to become or be sustainable instead of it being a fight for your life and a hassle to become sustainable. But more about that later.

What do you think? Is the EU gonna make it to become a zero emissions society by 2050? Is Trump finally gonna realize that climate change is real? And are we going to see more and more solutions that use “waste” from consumers to create durable fuels and products?

Check out Jeroen van Kooten on Instagram to see the #nordictalks event highlights and like and follow!

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