Blog by Fred van Beuningen


Was the place to be in the week of June 3rd with Artic15, Cleantech days and the World Circular economy forum.  Sitra, Finland’s development fund, has been at the forefront of circular economy and presented an update of their circular economy strategy. Interesting to note that next to logical drivers as low carbon economy and resource scarcity they highlight competitiveness and economic growth: “targets set in the Paris agreement will require $90 trillion of investments by 2030”. At my former company we would say that “sustainability is business and business is sustainability”, encouraging to see that circular economy is getting there. This should not surprise us: economic drivers are converging:

  • Electricity from renewable sources becomes less expensive
  • Waste disposal becomes more expensive
  • Waste becomes more valuable
    • Waste to energy
    • Waste to feed
    • Lithium and cobalt recycling

Leading to real asset projects with supply and off take agreements, a developer, standardized contracts and proven technology. Many of these projects will be in the tens of millions instead of hundreds of millions and provide an opportunity for forward looking project developers and financiers. Real problems need solutions at scale.

Which brings me to Clean Tech. Some take a ways from the Clean Tech Group’s forum Stockholm were the strong growth of Clean Tech investments in the last 5 years (from $8B to $30B) , the proliferation of the “enabling technology portfolio (advanced analytics, blockchain, sensors, smart materials) and that circularity and waste to value are trending upwards.

Artic15 showcased the best of Nordic startups and through their ultra-efficient match making systems I was able to meet 25 or so. Not surprising energy storage was well represented with interesting development in industrial scale storage, alternatives to li ion batteries and battery monitoring systems. Waste heat upgrading and biofuels, but also EV mobility solutions provides some interesting ideas too. Industry 4.0 well represented with condition monitoring, edge solutions and (indoor) augmented intelligence.
It illustrated that in many cases we do not have to invent the wheel (no pun intended) but can learn from others and implement fast. We need to move beyond vision and strategy to execution at scale. My wish for this summer is therefore that in our region we will be able to articulate one vision (and study Sitra) and develop an integral program based on this shared vision where multiple stakeholders will start to pull at the same end of the rope based on their specific possibilities and competencies.

Enjoy your summer holidays!

Fred van Beuningen