SusValueWaste had its end conference on the 13th of June with 50 experts from research, industry and policy. The project has resulted in a large number of research publications, reports, conference papers and policy briefs. Another output of the project is increased interdisciplinary collaboration which has led to the development of several spin-off projects among the partners. As SusValueWaste is one of the larger projects granted by the BIONÆR-programme, there has also been room to fund communication activities which have contributed positively to the visibility and impact of the project.
At the conference we launched officially our book “From Waste to Value”, published at Routledge under an open access license. Six key insights from our project are:
Value creation based on side streams and residues means very different things for different types of actors, such as sustainable development but also profit or job growth.
There are many side streams and residues which have a high potential for value creation, but this potential is not fully exploited.
Companies need to develop other types of competencies to exploit side streams and residues, since those require other technologies and logistics than their main products.
Local solutions are necessary because the material characteristics of the side streams and residues, such as humidity and volume, demand fast processing and short transport distances. This can be achieved by local/regional industrial symbiosis.
Policymakers need work along three axes: securing sustainability, cost efficiency and increasing amounts of residues.
Political priorities often come in conflict with each other. Here coordination and directionality towards joint goals are required.
The third policy brief – about sustainable value creation based on side streams in the food and beverage industry – was presented and discussed (see separate news).
At the conference we also had presentations about the industry cases we have studied and bioeconomy policy. Simon Bolwig (DTU) presented a comparative perspective on incumbents’ innovation in the food and beverage industry. Then, Markus Bugge (University of Oslo, NIFU), Lisa Scordato (NIFU) and Julia Szulecka (University of Oslo) analysed coordination challenges in the policies for the bioeconomy.
Beside the presentations we organised two panel debates: First, about industry’s opportunities and challenges for sustainable value creation based on side streams and residues, moderated by Simon Bolwig. The second debate addressed what kind of policy we need to realise the bioeconomy, and was moderated by Per Koch (Forskningspolitikk, NIFU). Both panel debates included actors from industry, policy and academia and, we opened up for questions and comments from the other conference participants.
The project will be officially finished at the end of August.
Waste and other residual materials from industries and households are of increasing value in today’s economy. Substances that have long represented a cost to the economy are now becoming a valuable resource. Exploiting the full potential of these resources requires increased innovation, systemic change as well as better regulation and governance.