🇸🇪 How to make climate-smart food production profitable

April 4, 2023

Press release from LuleĂĄ University of Technology

Entrepreneur trio
Vinit Parida, Nerine Mary George and Thomas Ejdemo. Photo: Staffan Westerlund

A new research project aims to develop ecological smart practices and raising awareness in food value ecosystems by promoting sustainability (or to improve the conditions for climate-smart food production) within small and medium-sized enterprises in northern Sweden and Finland.

“Research in food industry growth and resilience is vital for our future food safety. Thus, understanding the needs of local small farmers and producers in the region will allow us to support their business”, says Vinit Parida, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The growth potential for climate-smart food production in northern Sweden and Finland is good, but the conditions within the region are variable, especially when compared with Central and Southern Europe.

“This project is important because climate change is a pressing global issue, and agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions”, says Vinit Parida

Project name: ClimateFood: Climate-Smart Food via Cross-Border Cooperation – With Businesses, for the Businesses!

The three-year project has a total budget of 10 million, which is financed by EU program Interreg-Aurora and Region Norrbotten. The project includes 40 SMEs from various food companies based in both Sweden and Finland.

The aim of the project is to identify opportunities for climate smart food industry and food value chain to form new business models. Further, the project advances the transfer of knowledge and adoption of new climate smart practices in food businesses through establishing a cross-border network

ProAgria Oulu/Oulu rural women advisory organization (Finland), Hushållningssällskapet Norrbotten-Västerbotten (Sweden),University of Oulu Kerttu Saalsti Institute, Lapland University of Applied Sciences(Future bioeconomy expertise group) and Luleå university of Technology.

Associated Industry partners:

Yrttiaitta Saarento, Yrttiaika, Puhoksen kala, Calsta, Mäläskän peruna, Paahka, Mutkala Oy, Kujalan Tila, Arvidsjaur renslakt, Tornedalens Renprodukter, Avans Gårdbutik, Pesula Lantburk, Renbergsvattnets  Lantbruk, Burträsk Slakteri, Nyhlens Hugosons, Böle Potatis, Jokkmokksbär, Bocköns Fisk, BD Fisk.

Good for the economy and the environment

Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt climate-smart practices can have a significant impact on both the environment and the local economy, and the project’s focus on the northern regions of Sweden and Finland highlights the need for tailored solutions to address the unique challenges facing different regions.

Within the framework of the project, the researchers will identify opportunities for climate-smart production and climate-smart value chains within the food industry in the region. Furthermore, they want to find examples of “best practice” in climate-smart food production and establish a cross-border cooperation network to increase knowledge transfer, develop activities for cross-border regional cooperation and increased use of climate-smart practices in the industry. Additionally, the project help to promote sustainable and prosperous rural economies while contributing to the fight against climate change.

The empirical material will consist of quantitative data, case studies in the form of interviews with 20 Finnish and 20 Swedish SMEs, workshops with SMEs and other actors in relevant value chains.

“So far, 19 companies have registered their interest in participating in the activities within the project areas food ecosystems which are sea, farm and forest”, says Vinit Parida

An interactive tool

Among other things, the result will be presented in the form of an interactive tool containing statistics and graphics through which actors in the industry can exchange experiences, be inspired by each other, and strengthen the regional network. The conclusions will also be disseminated through seminars and workshops – physically and remotely – with the target groups.

The participating food companies work with the production of, among other things, food from the forest, rapeseed, barley, potatoes, beef, lamb, reindeer, fish, algae and milk. The researchers will also collaborate with larger companies in the food industry, business and development promotion organizations, organizations active in research and development and various educational actors. Currently, the project has received letters of support from seven such organizations: Oulun kultturisäätiö (Oulu2026), The Council of Oulu Region; Paliskuntain yhdistis; Suomen Metsäskeskus; MTK Pohjois-Suomi, Arctic Business Incubator, and LTU Business.

The project has been granted funding by the EU program Interreg-Aurora of SEK 10 million for a period of 3 years starting in January 2023. The research part of the project itself is carried out by researchers at Lulea University of Technology and Oulu University. From Lulea University of Technology, Professor Vinit Parida, Nerine Mary George and Thomas Ejdemo are participating, all linked to the subject of entrepreneurship and innovation. Parts of the project will be carried out in collaboration with Hushållningssällskapet.

The part of the project that will result in an interactive tool will include the entire Interreg Aurora area, i.e. Northern Norway down to Tröndelag, Northern Sweden down to Dalarna as well as Finnish Lapland and Ostrobothnia. Other activities are limited to northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland in Finland and Northern and Västerbotten in Sweden.


Nerine Mary George

Nerine Mary George, Postdoctoral position

Phone: +46 (0)920 492266
Organisation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts
Thomas Ejdemo

Thomas Ejdemo, Researcher

Phone: +46 (0)920 493159
Organisation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts
Vinit Parida

Vinit Parida, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 492469
Organisation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts

Originally published on 3 April.

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