Norway is 2.4% circular

With the right interventions, Norway has the potential to increase its circularity up twenty times and become a pioneer in the circular economy.
Download the reportRead the FAQ
Circularity metric


At 2.4%, Norway's circularity rate is below the global average (8.6%).

Norway consumes 235 million tonnes of materials—metals, fossil fuels, biomass and minerals—to fuel its societal needs each year. 97.6% of these materials are never cycled back into the economy. But Norway has enormous potential: Our report reveals how the country could see a 20-fold increase in its circularity by restructuring Norwegian business and industry.


In our ‘what if’ scenarios, we explore how adopting the following interventions in six key sectors could create a more sustainable, circular economy.

When combined, these six scenarios bolster the Circularity Metric from 2.4% to 45.8%, reduce consumption by over half and slash the country’s carbon footprint by an important 63%.

Circular construction industry
Extract no virgin construction materials and maximise the cycling of construction and demolition waste in new buildings.
Circular food systems
Eliminate all food waste from farm-to-fork and reduce the material intensity of fishing and aquaculture through responsible sourcing. Stop importing selected food products and instead, consume only domestically produced meat, dairy and cereals for food and feed. Source all biomass related to food systems sustainably and responsibly.
Transition to clean energy
Transition away from fossil fuel extraction for domestic energy purposes. Replace heavy duty fuels for industrial heat generation with hydrogen from electrolysis and renewably produced electricity. 
Strong repair, reuse and recycling economy
Increase the average lifetime of electrical products/machinery and household goods by applying rental, sharing and repair models. Strive for zero material for landfill or incineration and substitute primary material with recycled material.
Green transport systems
Apply car-sharing and rental in all passenger vehicles, reuse motor vehicles components and expand the average lifetime of motor vehicles by reusing mechanical equipment. Electrify passenger vehicles and ferries and apply design improvements in car and other transport manufacturing. 
Circular forestry and wood products
Source all flows in the timber and paper sector sustainably and responsibly, and safely return them to the biosphere.

Jobs and skills in a
Norwegian circular economy

A labour market that anticipates and prepares for the transition towards a circular economy can accelerate it and maximise its potential. Norway has relevant prerequisites but needs to consider and safeguard the workers who drive the transition.

The country's tripartite model between employers, government and unions ensures close cooperation and labour force participation and is key to facilitating the circular transition.

Many of the skills needed in the circular economy already exist in Norway's highly-educated and digitally competent population. 

To ensure a just transition, upskilling and training efforts need to be based on up-to-date information of the Norwegian context; on country, regional and sectoral levels.

Enabling circular lifestyles

Consumption patterns in Norway need urgent amendment. 

At 44.3 tonnes per person, Norway has one of the highest per capita consumption rates in the world. If everyone were to live like Norwegians, we would need the equivalent of three and half globes worth of resources.

Today, few Norwegian consumers choose products made from recycled materials or services and products from sharing platforms that are circular. They buy new products rather than repair them. 

Government and business have the chance to facilitate circular consumption among Norwegian consumers by designing products and services with the end-user in mind.

Norwegians need to embrace circular trends and technological solutions to accelerate the circular transition. 


In this analysis, we take a consumption perspective to provide insights into the material use of different economic activities. Borrowing and building on existing studies on similar measurements, our Circularity Metric measures the share of cycled materials as part of the total material consumption of a national economy every year.

The value of this approach is that it allows us to track changes over time, measure progress and engage in uniform goal-setting, as well as benchmark countries’ circularity against the global rate.
Read the methodology


Choose from the list
You can unsubscribe from these communications whenever you desire. For detailed information, kindly review our Privacy Policy.
Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We collect the following information to monitor and evaluate the impact of our work.


Kristin Halvorsen
Director at CICERO
To halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Norway requires major changes in resources use. This report provides valuable insight into how far Norway has come in its circular transition and concrete measures to increase the pace. Not least, it shows how sectors with low direct emissions can also help the world keep global warming below 2 degrees.
Raymond Johansen
Governing Mayor, City of Oslo
A circular economy can boost economic and social prosperity within planetary boundaries. Oslo wants to be a frontrunner in reducing climate impact and material footprint, scaling up circular innovation and making it easier for consumers to make circular choices. This report provides an important measurement of circularity in Norway and shows us how to close the Circularity Gap through close collaboration between national and local governments, businesses and citizens.
Karoline Andaur
Secretary General, WWF Norway
This report shows how seriously the linear economy contrasts planetary boundaries. Transitioning to circularity will require wide-spread holistic and systemic change.Norway currently has no plan for this transition, yet the Government wants "Norway to pioneer in the development of a green, circular economy that utilizes resources better". With the report’s recommendations, Norway can halve its material footprint. I hope the Government strategy is at least as ambitious.

Project Partners & Advisory board

Request a country scan

Get in touch