copy the linklink copied!Annex A. Circular economy in Umeå, Sweden

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Name of the project and institution




Bioendev – Biocoal through torrefaction

Developer and supplier of high-tech systems for cost-efficient pre-treatment of biomass for use in heat and power generation, conversion to liquid fuels and production of green chemicals.



BioHub is a business centre that accelerates innovative business models in the biorefining industry to foster the transition to bio-economy in the Botnia-Atlantica area. Botnia-Atlantica is a cross-border Interreg programme financing projects between Sweden (Gävleborg County, Västerbotten County, and Västernorrland County), Finland (Central Ostrobothnia, Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia) and Norway (Nordland).


Bio4Energy – Biorefinery Research Environment

The project aims to create highly efficient and environmentally sound biorefinery processes – including methods and tools for making products such as biofuels, “green” chemicals and new bio-based materials – which draw on biomass sourced from forests or organic waste as a raw material.


Sweden’s regional communication platform for bioeconomic development

The platform led by Västerbotten Region encourages co-operation between regions to promote the development of the bio-economy. It supports local firms and developa common position regarding potential regulation changes at the national and European levels.


Capacity Building

SEE – Sustainability week

The Social, Economic, Ecological (SEE) week is a platform to share sustainability projects organised by Västerbotten County, the Regional Council of Västerbotten, Umeå University and the municipalities of Skellefteå and Umeå. In 2018, 134 activities were carried out in Västerbotten with an important focus on sustainable production and consumption, and the circular economy in particular (e.g. Cradle to Cradle initiatives).


Seeing is Believing – Local study visits on the circular economy in Umeå

Promoted by the Municipality of Umeå and the consultancy firm Esam AB, this knowledge-building initiative consists of the organisation of study visits of ongoing examples of circular and sustainable practices. A group of business leaders, developers and decision-makers have participated in two field trips (to GE Healthcare facilities and IKEA’s branch in Umeå).

2017- Ongoing

+Project Umeå School of Business

The business school collaborated within +Project to advance an innovation development programme for small- and medium-sized companies in northern Sweden. It targeted small businesses in the construction industry with a focus on sustainability, new business models and digital manufacturing technology. The programme included five half-day meetings on different topics (e.g. digitalisation, circular economy and sustainable building).


Climate smart solution

RUGGEDISED Project – Umeå Smart City

Project on the smart city that runs in co-operation with the cities of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Glasgow (United Kingdom). The university district will be transformed into an innovation district where different climate-smart solutions will be implemented in the next 5 years (e.g. smart control of energy use in apartments or 100 renewable energy buildings throughout the university town).

2018- ongoing

Solar cells renting programme

Umeå Energi offers households within the municipality of Umeå to rent solar cells instead of buying them. The business model change into a service-renting scheme generated great interest.

2018- ongoing


+Project – 3D printing with wood-based material

Researchers from a number of different institutions are developing techniques to address sustainability in future residential buildings, with the aim of using advanced, additive manufacturing technology combined with cellulose-based materials.



Car-sharing system (Björkstadens bilpool)

Björkstadens bilpool is a car-sharing initiative created in 2009 by a group of local entrepreneurs that operates in the Ålidhem and Carlshem districts of Umeå.


Sunfleet car-sharing Umeå

Sunfleet is Umeå’s car-sharing system. Municipal authorities use Sunfleet as a way to make more efficient use of mobility options, thus reducing CO2 emissions. The system is available to all residents of the municipality of Umeå.



This rental system offers residents the opportunity to borrow electric cargo bikes at low cost. The municipality of Umeå has initiated and runs the project, which is in its first phase and is expected to last for three years.


Research and development (R&D)

Algae cultivation Pilot Project (Algae Pilot – VAKIN and RISE Processum)

The project shows that algae cultivation will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and minimise over-fertilisation of waters. It will also produce energy-rich algae mass, as raw material for biodiesel (algae with high fatty acid content) and animal feed (protein-rich algae).


Green North

Green North aims to generate smart growth and collaboration by bringing together regional assets through common environmental technology innovation and a resource platform that creates knowledge bridges between companies, academia and society.


Resource efficiency

Green Technology and Environmental Economics

Green Technology and Environmental Economics is a research and collaboration platform integrating different disciplines at Umeå University and stakeholders from the water-waste and energy utility companies owned by the municipality. The general objective of this initiative is to build knowledge to improve resource efficiency and urban sustainability in the circular economy.



Miljötekniskt Center, MTC (Environmental Technology Centre)

MTC owns and manages a large testbed facility for demonstration of new and innovative environmental technology to develop new treatment technologies and find new uses for waste materials.


Returbutiken (second-hand shop)

Internet of Things (IoT) recognition in repairing and reselling used merchandise from recycling centres.


Reuse houses for second-hand products at recycling centres

Vakin has built reuse “houses” that enable the collection of clothes, products, furniture and more for reuse, repair and upcycling. Reuse houses are placed at the entrance of normal recycling centres to encourage citizens to leave useful things there first, instead of at the material-recycling station. The staff employed in these houses are part of VIVA Resurs.


VIVA Resurs

A labour market programme which strengthens individuals’ opportunities by employing vulnerable people in rehabilitation programmes. It contributes to a greener city through reuse/recycling by repairing a number of products and goods.


Note: ..: not available

Source: Own elaboration based on OECD (2019[1]) OECD Survey on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions and the interviews held during the two OECD missions to Umeå, Sweden (18 - 21 March 2019 and 23 October 2019).

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