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SFI Circular – Value creation in a green economy

SFI Circular – Value creation in a green economy

Norway and the EU are prioritising a Circular Economy agenda to deliver the next generation of jobs, growth and investment. Research funds, innovation support, consumer demands and legislative requirements will provide opportunities for those businesses using resources more productively.


SFI Circular is currently seeking industrial partners and ideas that will deliver results for industry and society. What opportunities do you see around the circular economy in the next decade? Where can research complement the needs of industry in providing strategic, long-term results? What can we do to deliver cutting edge research for your organisation?

Tell us your interest in the topic, your ideas, and your projects and let's discuss collaboration.

SFI Circular

SFI Circular aims to realise a circular economy by creating new business opportunities that increase value creation and competitiveness of the Norwegian industry with a lower environmental burden. We will do this through a value chain perspective, designing innovations and new business models based on circular resource and energy flows.

At SFI Circular's core are the academic partners SINTEF, NTNU and Nord University together with industrial enterprises in Norway committed to making a transition to a circular economy. In addition, we invite network partners covering a broad range of Norwegian businesses, industries and the public sector to work with us.



SFI Circular – the leading research and knowledge community on value-creation and competitiveness within the circular economy.

Business idea

SFI Circular provide applicable knowledge and research for private and public actors wanting to improve their competitiveness by adopting circular economy principles.

Research content

SFI Circular will focus on identifying, evaluating and implementing innovative opportunities for value-creation from adapting circular economy principles within and across different sectors. We rely on a multidisciplinary approach integrating leading competence on process technology, innovation and new business development, economic, environmental and technology analysis.

The figure illustrates the three core activities of our research in SFI Circular and how they combine to support our work with industry - economic analysis, environmental analysis and technology development. We will build on state-of-the-art research within these areas and the connection between them. Linked with research on innovation systems and new business models, our work highlights potential for increased value-creation by open innovation, new design and new business models within the CE framework for Norwegian industry.


Figure: Illustration of the research contents in SFI Circular

SFI Circular partner benefits

SFI Circular takes a research-based but practical approach to the green shift. Our activities aim to provide real and substantial changes in the industry and public sector finding innovations to create better products and services, long term international competitiveness, better profitability and efficiency.

SFI Circular offers many benefits for industrial and public partners :

  • Access to leading researchers and knowledge networks of motivated partners facing similar challenges with a shift to a circular economy
  • Increased knowledge about environmental impacts of activities and products over their life cycles
  • Increased knowledge about economically beneficial ways to mitigate environmental impacts and respond to regulations– we help you create business out of your waste and bi-products!
  • Potential access to public funding of relevant research and development activities
  • Opportunity for shaping the research agenda related to circular economy value creation

Cross sectorial benefits

New business models within the circular economy framework requires increased information sharing, cooperation and interaction between different industries and value-chains. SFI Circular invite large Norwegian industries across sectors to come together to identify synergies and joint possibilities within the circular economy.

SFI Circular creates value by pooling resources from many industries and sectors:

  • Learning and sharing of circular economy approaches and innovations across sectors
  • Creating new circular economy business opportunities across different sectors
  • Building competence in the commercialization of circular economy opportunities through spin-off innovation projects and new venture creation
  • Higher visibility of circular economy actions that is attractive to employees and customers
  • Network of partners to initiate new research and innovation projects

Circular economy examples

Many companies are already using circular business models to create value:

Offering service-based business models instead of products, such as kilometers instead of tyres (Michelin), lightning instead of lights (Philips), printing instead of printers (HP) and services such as rent-a-jeans (Mudjeans). Customers become long-term partners and facilitate optimal usage and recycling of components and material.

Identifying growing business opportunities, such as sensor-based sorting solutions (Tomra), reclaiming raw materials through urban mining (Boliden) and using by-products in other sectors, such as the use of micro-silica from the silicon industry in concrete (Elkem).

Re-using waste resources in internal production processes or distributing to other firms in clusters (Mo Industripark).

Use of biomaterials in packaging (Tine) and better utilization of biomass (Borregaard).

Read more about Circular Economy Research in SINTEF

Published 23 January 2018
Vice President Research

Project start




Circular Economy Conference in Trondheim May 30 - 31 2018

Find program, speakers and presentations for the Circular Economy Conference in Mo i Rana May 10-11 2017


Drivers for the circular economy

Sustainable development over the next 30 years will require a systematic, multi-stakeholder change in the way our economies are organised. For instance, the decarbonisation of energy supply in-line with the Paris Pledges is expected to cause a massive transformation of many industries. The circular economy has a leading role to play in making such transformation viable. Creating value and firm competitiveness whilst reducing resource use and emissions is at the heart of circular economy thinking. Green growth, corporate responsibility, smart specialisation are all intertwined in this vision of the circular economy. The objective is to develop symbiotic partnerships that deliver efficient products and services that are in line with sustainable development goals.

Circular economy

A circular economy is an economic system that optimizes the use of limited resources and minimizes emissions to the environment through product, processes, and system innovation. Materials are kept in closed 'cycles' or 'loops', retaining as much value as possible of products, parts and materials, dramatically increasing efficiency of resource utilization. The principles of circular economy is illustrated in the figure above.

Circular economy can improve the competitiveness of Norwegian businesses and create growth through new business opportunities based on efficient resource usage, selling services instead of products, product design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling.

A Circular Economy will circumvent future resource scarcity, help reduce our climate impact, provide opportunities for innovative services and deliver new levels of economic efficiency and resource productivity.

Figure: Illustration of the circular economy concept (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation)