Climate-neutral and circular production translates into the adjustment of material and energy flows. This could be enabled e g by the use of renewable technologies for as well materials as energy, in addition to the employment of automation and digitalisation. Further could be employed the design of recyclable products of a longer lifespan, also denoted ‘sustainable design’ or ‘eco-design’.
Restructuring requires new technology and innovation, and also changes in legislation, infrastructure and financial incentives.
Laws and regulations today are adapted to linear flows with need to be developed to better reward resource efficiency and circularity. An example for improvement is the today’s waste legislation that currently makes it cheaper to waste resources which could better be recycled. Another case for improvement, now in standardization, is the lack of a common standard for materials regardless of origin.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has pointed out that the current political governance does not provide sufficient incentives to steer the adjustment needed to achieve fossil-free and climate neutrality.
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency report “In-depth analysis of the Swedish climate change” with industry in focus” (in Swedish)
To succeed in the circular industry, a clearer cycle governance is required. Products need to be designed and manufactured for longer service life and recycling. Systems should track and declare climate impact of materials and products all throughout the value chain. New solutions are required for a better sorting of waste where recycled materials can retain their original quality, or even to be improved and rid of toxins.
Future reduction requires innovation
Emissions in Sweden have been decreased, still the rate of reduction is not sufficient for Sweden to reach its commitments to the Paris Agreement. Since 1990, emissions have decreased by 19 percent, however this reduction has taken place predominantly through the transition to incineration of waste and biofuels in electricity and district heating. As well, the paper industry has reduced its emissions for heat. Further reduction of emissions will be more difficult and will require other, yet unknown, measures.
The way to fossil-free industry
Fossilfritt Sverige is a collaboration of companies, industries, municipalities and regions to increase the pace innovation to reduce impacts which lead to climate change. Within the framework of Fossilfritt Sverige, 22 different industries have developed roadmaps to show how they can strengthen their competitiveness. This to become fossil-free and/or climate-neutral. Their respective roadmaps tells about as well obstacles as opportunities.
Industry roadmaps within Fossilfritt Sverige