June 2016 Tour in Sweden

Between the 27th of May and 6th of June, a Sustainable Sweden Tour was organized in Stockholm and Umeå. The participants were officials of the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the region of Tigray in Ethiopia. Their mission was to study Sweden’s examples of implementation of sustainable development, and the criteria that made it successful. The website Cleantech Kvarken that supports cross-border cooperation for energetic and development projects has also written a short summary of this Tour which you can read here.

At the end of the article you will also find a list of all the companies, associations and places that participated or have been visited during the Tour.

Friday May 27th

The participants arrived at Arlanda Airport early in the morning and were welcomed by Adane Nagash.

After settling in an hotel, we took a bus to the city centre, to the district of Östermalm where we got to visit the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket).
There we met Björn Svensby and Hans Wrådhe, senior advisor at Naturvårdsverket, who explained us during a seminar how the agency works to tackle environmental issues, and which environmental management tools it uses.

Saturday May 28th and Sunday May 29th


Sightseeing in Stockholm

This day was dedicated to sightseeing in Stockholm. We took the opportunity to show our guests around Stockholm so that they could become familiar with the city and oversee some of the most relevant sustainable projects that have been carried by the biggest Eco-municipality in Sweden.

On Sunday, we visited the most important parks and green places in the capital’s City Center. We went to the Eco Park of Stockholm, a 26 km square bio-diversity reserve that is home to many rare species, some of which are only found there. You can see the extent of the park by clicking here

We also got to visit the famous eco-district of Hammarby Sjöstad. There we showed the participants the district´s waste system and their information center.

Monday May 30th


Meeting with Jessica Dymén and Michiel Van Noord at Esam´s office in Stockholm

On Monday the participants started their working day with a visit to Esam AB´s regional office in Stockholm. Esam is an Environmental Consulting company that works with Swedish companies and municipalities. Jessica Dymén, consultant in sustainable development specialized in social development and communication as well as Michiel van Noord, consultant in sustainable development, renewable energies and product development both welcomed us and gave us a presentation on Environmental Consulting, Circular Economy and Project Management.

Gunnar Brundin, co-founder of Esam later joined us, and held a workshop with the participants.

During this hectic day, the group then flew to Umeå in the evening to continue the study tour. They stayed at the Hotel Björken as in previous tours.

Tuesday May 31st

Presentation of the EPA in Tigray

Presentation of Tigray’s Environmental Protection Agency at Esam’s office

Continuing with what had been done in the previous days, the participants first visited Esam AB´s headquarters in Umeå. The theme of the day was Waste Management, reuse and recycle.

Torbjörn Lahti proceeded then to present the Pilot Project for Eco-municipalities in Ethiopia, which was followed by Maria Klintenäs´s presentation on Waste Management in Sweden.

Berhane Berhe Weldesellassie and Berhanu Hailu Genremedhin presented the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its missions.

After a well-earned lunch, the group went to the district of Gimonäs, south-east of Umeå. There they visited Viva Resurs, a center of Umeå´s municipality that is specialized in reuse, environmental and social sustainability.

Not far from there was Torbjörn Lahti´s home which the group visited to attend a workshop in recycling.

Wednesday June 1st

Along with Waste Management, this day was dedicated to studying landfill, leachate purification and Urban Greening. Therefore, we brought the participants to the MTC, (Environmental Technology Centre AB). Magnus Bergknut CEO of MTC, aswell as Per-Erik Olsson and Per Ivarsson both professors at Örebro University got to meet the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency. They got to exchange on MTC’s ongoing project to clean the Akaki River in Ethiopia. You can read more about their meeting on Cleantech Kvarten’s website by clicking here.

Later during the morning, we visited Dåva Deponi and Waste Central (in swedish) a recycling plant located north of Umeå. There, we met Jörgen Aronsson, VD of Dåva Deponi and Gustav Sjölund, marketing director of Dåva and former environmental consultant.

During the afternoon the participants got to take a break from their hectic journey as we took a walk through Umeå´s city centre, the parks and the City Plantations with Tichaona Maphosa.

Thursday June 2nd

On Thursday we visited Umeå Municipality’s administration. There, Albert Edman, Head of Urban Development and Sustainability in Umeå gave a conference among other things about :

  • Conservation Planning
  • Sustainable development in Umeå
  • Be Green Project (Public participation)

Conference at Västerbotten County’s Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen Västerbotten) with Eva Mikaelsson

During the afternoon, we continued our official visit by going to the County´s Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) which is responsible for environmental protection in the region. There, we were welcomed by Eva Mikaelsson, Departmental Manager for Länsstyrelsen. She told the participants about :

  • Environmental Objectives and strategies in Umeå
  • Environmental management tools
  • Organizational structure
  • Nature Reserves

Friday June 3rd

On this day, the group went once again to Esam´s headquarters in Umeå to attend a training on Strategical aspect of environmental work and development and Environmental and social impact assessment.

Later, we visited Bostaden AB, the governmental real-estate agency in charge of distributing social and student accommodation. Hence we visited one of their most visible achievements : Sustainable Ålidhem (Hållbara Ålidhem), which is the student district of Umeå. The visit was conducted by Royne Söderström, Sustainable Strategist for Bostaden.

Umeå Green Zone (Image from http://www.greenzone.nu/)

In the afternoon, Laura Vidje, Consultant in Sustainable Development for Esam brought the group to Umeå´s Green Zone, an industrial park made of three companies : a car dealership, a fast-food restaurant and a gas station that share their resources and waste management in a very efficient and sustainable way. While we were there, Laura gave the participants a speech about:

  • Community Planning
  • Good examples of private initiatives that led to a sustainable project
  • Urban infrastructure development and cluster building.

Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th

On Saturday the participants got to visit the candidate Biosphere Reserve Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka  in Vindelälven´s Municipality.

Sunday was the departure for the group. Before the group ended its journey through Eco-municipalities, and left for Ethiopia, they got to do some sight-seeing in Umeå.

List of companies, facilities, parks/reserves and organizations that we visited or which took part in the Tour and links to their websites (click directly on their names to be directed to their homepage)

Biosphere Reserve Vindelälven-Juhtatdahka (in swedish)

Dåva Deponi and Waste Central (in swedish)

Eco-park in Stockholm

Esam AB (in swedish)

Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency – EPA

Hammarby Sjöstad eco-district in Stockholm

MTC, (Environmental Technology Centre)

Sustainable Ålidhem – Hållbara Ålidhem

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency – Naturvårdsverket

Umeå´s Green Zone

Umeå Municipality

Västerbotten County’s Administrative Board – Länsstyrelsen