The project „CIRCLE“ was launched on March 2020, as part of the EU’s LEADER funding programme. The Natur- & Georpark Mëllerdall is responsible for implementing and coordinating the project. The aim of the “CIRCLE” project is to convey knowledge about circular economy and to bring implementation examples closer to companies in the region. As this is a transnational cooperation project, 3 other LEADER regions are, in addition to our region, involved in the project:

  • LEADER Kantri (Finland)
  • LEADER Skanes Ess (Sweden)
  • LEADER Sydöstra Skåne (Sweden)
Map of the cooperation partners of the LEADER project CIRCLE: LEADER Regioun Mëllerdall, LEADER Skanes Ess and LEADER Sydöstra Skåne (Sweden) and LEADER Kantri (Finland)

Planned measures and activities

A)      Regional awareness raising actions

B)      Knowledge building and implementation examples

C)     Consulting and implementation of measures

D)      Conferences and study trips

E)      Best-practice Brochure

Regional measures

A) In a first phase, companies and consumers are to be sensitised to the “CIRCLE” project and the topic of circular economy. The aim is to attract the attention of these actors, as well as to bring to light the innovative character and potential that is available to SMEs in rural areas.

B) In order to meet future environmental challenges, an important element of the project is to build up knowledge in the companies. Regional SMEs are to be educated through conferences and workshops on circular economy. The central issues will be to understand:

  • What is circular economy?
  • What are the advantages and potentials of circular business models for companies (in rural areas)?
  • What are the disadvantages?
  • How can circular economy be implemented in practice?
  • Which financing options are available?

The circular solutions and implementation examples encountered during the project play an important role, as they facilitate implementation and strengthen networking among local SMEs.

C) A third action planned under the project is to provide individual and personalised advice to SMEs in order to encourage the implementation of circular solutions. Although the measures are highly dependent on the operational activity of businesses, they can be divided into the following areas:

  • Sustainable procurement,
  • Eco-conception,
  • Industrial and regional ecology,
  • Economic functionality and waste management.

Transnational measures

It is particularly useful to look beyond regional and national borders when dealing with a topic as young, innovative and current as circular economy. Moreover, it is an economic branch for which there is still little experience in the country. These elements make it more worthwhile to look at regions that have already gained initial experience in this field and that can cite best-practice examples. Therefore, transnational cooperation with the partner regions is another important focus of the project.

D) In order to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience, specialist conferences and three study trips to the 3 partner regions are planned.

E) Following the different conferences, it is planned to publish a common brochure with various best practice examples and/or initiatives from the different partner countries.

Project goals

  • Raise awareness for circular economy
    • Businesses: sustainable procurement, better use of resources, waste prevention, local self-sufficiency, financing opportunities
    • consumers: advantages of circular products and the impact of consumer behaviour
  • Know-how and knowledge transfer about circular economy and environmentally friendly solutions based on implementation examples (“best practice”)
  • Be a catalyst for implementation and pilot projects
  • Make SMEs in the region fit for future challenges and less dependent on international markets
  • Networking of SMEs in the region and networking with SMEs in the partner regions
  • Increase regional added value

Read more about 3 Swedish participants, and what circular economy projects the business owners plan to implement:

The following booklet includes some individuals and businesses that were met along the project and highlights their insights and solutions for an alternate path forward, where economic activities are guided by innovative and environmentally beneficial principles and a social responsibility, with positive repercussions for local and rural communities. Note: the brochure is only available in English.