The Conference & Updates

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To do more with less for many – with many. Reflections on the Swedish Wool Initiative with support from the Sustainable Development Goals

Helena Hansson, is Frugal Innovator and Doctoral Student in Design at the University of Gothenburg.With experiences from international research she discusses innovations for sustainable development in situations characterized by institutional voids and complexities, resource scarcity and lack of affordances. 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a global agenda established by the United Nations. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Wool issues can be a part of several SDGs but in her reflections Helena focused on SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure and 17: Partnerships for the goals. 

Helena has not worked in the wool business but will try to give another perspective. She thinks that the Swedish Wool Initiative is a good example of building resilient infrastructure, in a long-term way, both local, regional and global, where also welfare of both people and animals are concidered. To achieve sustainable industrialization – SDG 9 – new infrastructure and platforms like the SWI are needed. Building infrastructure involves many different actors and cooperation between business, academy, civil organisations and society. It is important to discover the voids and try to fill them. It is also important to see that innovation is not just products and business, it is also knowledge and there must be platforms for this. 

Wool is a global movement and gives the north connection to the south. We can learn from other parts of the world, as well as from the global industry. Therefore Helena wanted us to put the theme of the congress in a global perspective. The SDG 17 urges us to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development to support the achievement of the SDGs in all countries – in particular development countries. This can be done by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertice, technology and financial resources. 

Helena also encouraged us to scale up the wool issues socially. From earlier experiences she has learnt to work in small but scale up through cooperative work. She also pointed out the importance of bringing in a variety of voices and perspectives in complex issues. Working with local innovation in a global scale with long-term projects, trust-building systems, building relations, interconnecting elements like wool is good to start with for sustainable development. Also try to work with projects that continues after ending of the actual project. Perhaps the most interesting things happens after the project ends!

Baltic Wool Conference

7-9 October 2021

The Gotland Region believes that there is a great deal of knowledge and a great potential for development around the wool business in Gotland. Partly in entrepreneurship, but also locally in the micro industries. We would like to contribute to the development of the wool industry. We strongly believe this conference in the long term will contribute to many of our strategic focus areas. It will be a visitor occasion in October, it will lead to development of the wool industry and it will strengthen craftsmanship and a living cultural heritage.

Nils-Erik Selin, Head of growth and development, Region Gotland

The National Swedish Handicraft Council (NFH) is a government agency under the Ministry of Culture with the task of promoting handicrafts. Important partners for the Authority’s work are the country’s regions, civil society organizations and other cultural authorities. Priority areas include sustainability, cultural and creative industries as well as working with the intangible cultural heritage.

Since the autumn of 2018, a national developer has been focusing on sustainability and wool issues at NFH. The goal is an agenda for how the wool issues, like classification and infrastructure, should be solved at national level together with various actors and authorities. This is done in the form of seminars, conferences and networking, both within Sweden and abroad. The initiative “Baltic Wool Conference” is part of the work to promote the Swedish wool industry, create new contacts and opportunities for further development together with the countries around the Baltic Sea.

Annkristin Hult, National Developer

The Rural Economy and Agricultural Society Gotland, which hosts the Baltic Wool Conference, works for developing business in the countryside. Lamb production is an important industry in Gotland that provides both tasty lamb meat, shimmering lambskin and wool for many uses. Grazing animals keep the landscape open and provide biodiversity. We believe in the development of the Swedish wool industry in collaboration with our neighbors around the Baltic Sea.

Mats Pettersson, CEO of Hushållningssällskapet Gotland