Sustainable development and local production at Stockholm Design Week

Design was once again comprehensively showcased at this year’s annual Stockholm Design Week. Design Forum Finland participated in the Design Week programme together with other Nordic design organisations, the contribution of which included the publication of The Nordic Report 02, the second such report published by the SustaiNordic network.

The Nordic Report is an annual report that showcases Nordic examples of sustainable production and consumption. The report approaches the subject matter from industrial, research-oriented and political perspectives and covers themes such as bio- and circular economy, social responsibility in public procurement and multidisciplinary cooperation. The aim is to show how change towards a more sustainable lifestyle is possible and already taking place in many countries, municipalities, cities and companies. Nordic values – democracy, transparency, diversity, participation and equality – are a good platform for driving development that has a future.

SustaiNordic is a cooperation network and platform, the members of which include ArkDes and Form/Design Center from Sweden, Design Forum Finland from Finland, Design og arkitektur Norge from Norway, Dansk Design Center from Denmark and Hönnunarmiðstöð Íslands from Iceland. The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Nordic Report is an annual report that showcases Nordic examples of sustainable production and consumption.

The publication event of the annual report was opened by the Director of ArkDes Kieran Long. In addition to the new publication, the event also featured case examples from Norway and Sweden. The highlighted companies have adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are also what the content of The Nordic Report 02 is based on, as key operating guidelines. In their presentations, the companies demonstrated that combining economically profitable business operations with sustainable development is perfectly viable.

Henrik Edlund, the CEO of Swedish furniture manufacturer Nola, stated that circular design serves as the foundation of all of the company’s operations. According to Edlund, sustainable development at Nola can be summed up in three main points: 1) High-quality and innovative materials, 2) the maintenance and re-use of products and 3) high-quality design work, which does not age with time. Nola is one of the companies that have utilised the EcoDesign Sprint tool developed by Design Forum Finland in their operations. EcoDesign Sprint is a training programme that supports companies in developing their business operations based on the principles of circular economy through design.


The Norwegian NCP Furniture showcased their new S-1500 range of outdoor furniture, the primary raw material of which is recycled plastic from fishing nets collected from local water bodies. NCP Furniture’s production is based exclusively on the re-use of plastic and steel waste generated by local industries. By applying a local value chain approach, the company is able to make its products more meaningful for consumers by allowing the consumer to become a part of the value chain and contribute to the building of their local area’s future. What’s particularly interesting about the aforementioned examples is that both companies are long-standing family-owned businesses that have managed to reinvent themselves in response to emerging environmental challenges while also keeping their operations profitable for several decades.

During the week, the SustaiNordic working group also visited an event organised by the member organisations of SPOK (, which has a very similar approach to sustainable development as NCP Furniture. SPOK is a production platform that aims to gather and share knowledge about local manufacturing opportunities, from craft to industry. SPOK has Skåne as its starting point and aims to promote the development of local production and in the long term also more local consumption. The importance of craft and the reduction of low-cost production by supporting local production have been rising trends in the Swedish design field for several years now.

The Nordic countries have the capacity to serve as paragons of sustainable development for the rest of the world.

The Finnish Institute in Stockholm also organised a Design Talk event entitled Design & Social Impact, which consisted of an active panel discussion followed by comments from the audience. The latter part of the event included discussion on how different countries could facilitate sustainable production. One designer based outside of Europe summarised that the adoption of Nordic sustainable development models is facilitated by strong design traditions and history and understanding of the possibilities of design. Nordic core values also create opportunities for sustainable production.

The Nordic countries have the capacity to serve as paragons of sustainable development for the rest of the world. As the company slogan of Vestre (, one of the companies featured in The Nordic Report 02, puts it: “Make the Nordic Way the Global Way.”


The new Nordic Report 02 can be ordered from

More information about the sustainable development projects of Design Forum Finland:

Päivi Kaira
Brand Manager, Design Forum Finland

Aino Vepsäläinen
Project Manager, Design Forum Finland 

Image 1: SustaiNordic, The Nordic Report 02
Image 2: NCP Furniture at the launch event of The Nordic Report 02