Growing sustainability in Gothenburg
As a city, Gothenburg has won awards for its sustainability. And there are businesses springing up across the city who live and breathe the subject. We met up with Corina, owner of one such business – a sustainable food lab – and asked her for some top tips on how to shop with a good conscience in Gothenburg!
We met Corina nearly two years ago, quite early in her mission to end food waste in Gothenburg. And one of the things that has stuck with me most, was when she said, “My mission is to be out of business one day.” Because, ideally, there would be a time when Corina’s brainchild, VÄRT, is no longer needed. Refreshingly, Corina and her team are not motivated by money. Instead, they seek to educate people. We met in her lovely new warehouse space in Gamlestaden, where she does just that. It’s an ideal place for VÄRT’s workshops which tackle environmental challenges, as well as an event and dining area which can accommodate up to 95 people.
While I helped myself to a homemade cinnamon biscotti (made from rescued food, as if I needed to tell you) Corina poured us some coffee from a local supplier, Rävens Rester, who came to one of her workshops. “The owner, Per Nordby, came to one of my workshops. And he was like, wow, could I do this? He works nearby, and we later sat down and found a way to use the bi-product from the original coffee bean roasting and make more coffee.”
As we’re chatting, Carina’s partner Elin wheels past a stack of fresh ingredients and I ask Carina where she gets all her food from. “I’m lucky to have a number of food wholesalers nearby. They are very supportive and happy to donate food.” And so who turns the raw materials into tasty food? “I work with chefs and culinary experts. Together we get creative and make tasty food for our customers, from the ingredients we have available. Other times, at workshops, we ask people to bring soon-to-be-wasted food from home. We then work with them to see what we can make from it.” Having people involved in the process and feeling that sense of pride, Carina explains, is key to them changing their habits.
We speak about the national food retailer Matsmart where you can buy groceries with a discount of between 20-90% off the retail price. Last year, the company sold 256 tons of food that would have ended up in the bin! I guess saving money and the environment is a winning formula. And, on a local level, Corina tells me about REKO Göteborg, “It’s a platform where you have the opportunity to buy food from local producers. Cutting out intermediaries minimizes waste.” The prices at REKO are about the same as in the store, but they offer customers higher quality, fresher food and also ensure fairer pay for the farmer. Anyone interested, can make advanced orders of food via Facebook group (linked above) and pick it up from Pusterviksplatsen in the city centre on scheduled dates.
A little way down the road from there, at Södra Allégatan 11, Carina mentions a clothes shop Thrive – Conscious Fashion. Opened in 2015, this PETA-approved store claims to be Scandinavia's leading concept store in organic, eco-friendly, fair and vegan fashion. Here you can buy clothes, shoes and product for the home both in store and online. And they are not alone in the sustainable fashion space, as Corina explains, “Their clothes are not really my style, but Klädoteket are doing some great work.” Klädoteket approach is to have an online store which allows customers to rent their clothes, delivered and returned by mail, for varying lengths of time. You can also buy items if you love them too much to return!
So for anyone out there who (a) eats food or (b) wears clothes, you now have some tips for where you can shop sustainably in Gothenburg! Support the movement: end waste.
This Is Gothenburg 
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