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 Mistra REES program sets the following objectives:

Close collaboration

Create and consolidate contextual knowledge on REES in collaboration with academic, industrial and societal partners. The program aims to seek knowledge about which manufacturing industry sectors and value chains possess high potential for REES, and knowledge about the drivers and obstacles needed for a transition towards REES.
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.

Understand the interrelations between product and service design, business models, and policies and policy packages and explore opportunities for effective interplay between them.

Facilitate mutual learning between academic, industrial and societal actors about the transition of Sweden’s manufacturing industry towards more REES. This includes work to evaluate, demonstrate, implement and improve the developed principles, methods and guidelines in manufacturing cases, to document the cases and to communicate them in channels customized to relevant audiences.

Seven interrelated projects

The Mistra 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. On this foundation stand three projects on product and service design, business models, and policies for resource efficient solutions. 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 Mistra 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.

Nine PhD students

The Mistra 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.