Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions based on circular economy thinking

Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research

Research areas and keywords


  • Circular economy, circular business models, policies


REES – Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions based on circular economy thinking is a 4-year program run by a consortium of leading Swedish universities, large and small companies and societal actors. The program’s vision is to advance the transition of the Swedish manufacturing industry towards a circular and sustainable economy.In our resource-constrained world the urgency of accelerating transition from linear to circular economy is more pressing than ever. Continuing reliance on the shrinking resource base increases risks for price volatility and disruption of resource supply, which affect not only resource-intensive businesses, but the society as a whole. If linear ways of producing and consuming are substituted with circular material flows, substantial resource efficiency improvements can be achieved. Products and services need to be designed for resource efficiency taking a lifecycle perspective. New methods to reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling of products and their components need to be found, and in order to re-enter their next use phase. However, there are significant gaps in knowledge and practice with regard to developing resource efficient, effective and circular solutions. To address these gaps, the REES program sets the following objectives:O1. Create and consolidate contextual knowledge on REES in collaboration with academic, industrial and societalQ2. Develop principles, methods and guidelines for the design of REES (products and services); business models for REES; and policies and policy packages enabling and driving towards REES.O3. Understand the interrelations between product and service design, business models, and policies and policypackages and explore opportunities for effective interplay between them.O4. Facilitate mutual learning between academic, industrial and societal actors about the transition of Sweden’s to communicate them in channels customized to relevant audiences.The REES program comprises seven interrelated projects. The first project provides a knowledge foundation for the rest of the program by exploring under what conditions, and for what types of products and sectors, circular solutions are more resource efficient, as well as the market and policy drivers and barriers for REES. On this foundation stand three projects on product and service design, business models, and policies for REES. A synthesis project will then set out to understand the interrelations between product and service design, business models and policies, and explore opportunities for effective interplay between them. Finally, the last two projects concerns dissemination of knowledge produced in the program to targeted audiences and program management.The result of the REES program is advanced global sustainability leadership, improved competitiveness and reduced business risks in the Swedish manufacturing industry. The program will also further the research frontier on a circular economy by developing principles, methods and guidelines for product and service design, business models, and policy packages. The unique feature of the program is its focus on exploring opportunities for effective interplay between design, business models and policies. The REES program will also shape a new generation of Swedish interdisciplinary scientists and professionals, as nine Ph.D. and many master students will take part in the program. Finally, the program will reach out to a broad range of audiences and facilitate dialogue and mutual learning through e.g. workshops, newsletters, a textbook, policy briefs, and popular science articles.The REES consortium consists of three academic partners (Linköping University, Lund University and Chalmers University of Technology), five large companies (Attends Healthcare AB, Ericsson AB, Stena Recycling AB, Volvo Group, Volvo Car Group), seven SMEs (Godsinlösen, HTC Sweden AB, Inrego AB, Off2Off, Polyplank AB, Qlean Scandinavia AB, and Ståthöga MA Teknik AB), two non-profit organizations (Din Fabrik and Stpln), and two municipalities (Lund and Malmö). Together the REES partners will contribute towards the European target of a 30% reduction in domestic material use by 2020.
Effective start/end date2015/08/012019/07/31

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University
  • Linköping University (lead)
  • Chalmers University of Technology


Related research output

Katherine Whalen, 2020 Feb 10, Lund, Sweden: International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University. 200 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

Oksana Mont, Katherine Whalen & Julia L.K. Nußholz, 2019, Handbook of Sustainable Innovation. Boons, F. & McMeekin, A. (eds.). Routledge, p. 124–140 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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