Join the design revolution to enable Circular Economy

Imagine a world where every product was a service. A future of zero ownership. A future where all products were designed to last, to be reused, repaired and recycled keeping products and materials in the loop. It sounds amazing, right? This year LAUNCH invites up to 10 innovators to join a design revolution to help make Circular Economy a reality.

Cady Coleman

At the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki June 5th 2017, LAUNCH  partners will be announcing this year’s Innovation Challenge: Design & Manufacturing for a Circular Economy. We seek innovators globally with the potential to create a shift in the way we design and manufacture for a circular and inclusive society. We urge individuals, teams, start-ups and established companies and organisations to apply, and help us find the answers to this year’s challenge.

Joining us for the announcement of this years LAUNCH Innovation Challenge will be WCEF 2017 Keynote Speaker Dr. Cady Coleman, former NASA Astronaut and polymer chemist.

“Never before has international collaboration been more important to accelerate our transition to a more sustainable way of life on earth. I look forward to joining the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki to help connect businesses, governments, cities and innovators who are working to enable this transition”, says Dr. Cady Coleman, former NASA Astronaut.

This year LAUNCH offers up to 10 innovators the unique opportunity to join and get access to the LAUNCH network of industry pioneers, government, investors and previous innovators to collectively work to build and accelerate the innovations. This will include receiving personal mentoring and help to test, pilot and scale the innovations.

The LAUNCH partners look forward to this year’s innovators and their solutions and how they can help create new joint ventures and accelerate the circular economy even further:

Håkan Nordkvist IKEA opening

“At IKEA Group we want to play an active role in the transition to a circular economy. This year we are looking for innovators, disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can inspire the whole industry to design products and services for a circular economy”, says Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group.

One critical component in enabling a Circular Economy is that we start designing and manufacturing products in new ways. If products are to last, reused, repaired and recycled we need to empower designers and manufacturers to make better choices regarding materials, binders, coating and manufacturing technologies:

“New design and manufacturing processes are critical to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy. At Novozymes we look forward to work with and help innovators from around the world, who can help inspire and lead this transition”, says Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes.

Vigga Svensson is a 2014 LAUNCH Nordic Innovator, who recently won the Design Design Award 2017 on best customer experience. Design is at the heart of her success and to this she says:

vigga svensson launch nordic

“To go from selling products to delivering a circular subscription service, you need to rethink how you design both the products, the customer journey and your service. I believe that rethinking design is at the heart of enabling Circular Economy and I hope that we see a lot of great innovators joining LAUNCH this year”, says Vigga Svensson, Founder, – LAUNCH Nordic Innovator 2014

Deadline for applications will be September 1, 2017. In October 2017 the top 10 innovations will be selected and participants will take part in a unique acceleration program that provides support, networking, and mentoring from influential businesses and government leaders.

“Circular Economy is on everybody’s lips these years. But action rather than talk and reports will drive the transition. That’s why I love working with pioneering partners and innovators through LAUNCH. I look forward to hosting this years LAUNCH Forum at Kvadrat in November where we will meet with the selected innovators and help them go to scale”, says Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

This year’s LAUNCH Innovation Challenge on Design & Manufacturing for Circular Economy will be announced June 5th at 15.00 (CET) at the WCEF in Helsinki (Finlandia Hall) and online at

Contact information

Download this press release as PDF – Press release LAUNCH Innovation Challenge 2017 For more information about LAUNCH or this year’s Innovation Challenges please contact Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH Nordic: +45 30220111 – or

For more about the participating LAUNCH partners and innovators please contact:
IKEA Group: Corporate Communications – +46 (0)72 886 57 81 or
Novozymes: Rene Tronborg:
Kvadrat: Alice Rasmussen: +45 8953 1862 or Peter R. Svensson:+45 22665595 or

LAUNCH was founded in 2009 as a strategic partnership between NASA, NIKE, Inc., the US Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development. LAUNCH identifies and supports visionaries whose ideas, technologies, or programs have the potential to create a better world. Through a series of meetings, events, and an annual forum, LAUNCH has successfully introduced innovations that are solving urgent challenges facing our society today.

Since its founding, LAUNCH has attracted numerous additional strategic partners and supporters. In 2016, LAUNCH ran multiple challenges focusing on Food, Smarter Chemistry and on Closing the Loop.

LAUNCH Nordic is a partnership between IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Vinnova, The Capital Region of Denmark, Region Skåne, The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Danish Ministry of the Environment, and Malmö Stad.
Read more about LAUNCH Nordic at


LAUNCH unites big brands at Nike HQ to accelerate Circular Economy

The shift to a circular economy requires new levels of innovation and collaboration. Everybody’s talking about the tremendous potential of the Circular Economy. Constraints on the planet are driving demand for resource-efficient and closed-loop products, services, and corporate models. But how do we create circular systems, material streams, and new business models to support the transition?

March 2 and 3, LAUNCH and its partners — including Nike Inc., IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat and several Nordic government institutions, with support from the eBay Foundation — hosted a summit at Nike’s world headquaters in Portland for fifteen Circular Economy startups and innovators to collaborate with partners and external organizations on ways to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy.

Cyrus Wadia Nike

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ – Photo: Ben Mund

“At Nike, we believe that our future growth will depend on a healthy planet for athletes everywhere. This means not just reducing our use of finite resources, but using new resources born out of tomorrow’s innovative technologies. To get there, we will need breakthrough innovation from diverse and unexpected communities working together. That’s what makes LAUNCH and its mission so important. Today’s ideas can grow into tomorrow’s solutions.”

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike Inc.

Discussing some of the key systems changes that are needed to drive circular solutions, Hakan Nordkvist, head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA Group, pointed out that one of the urgencies is to change consumer behavior. Innovations are needed to create convenience in order to engage more people in the system.

Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ

Håkan Nordkvist, IKEA opening the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike HQ – Photo: Ben Mund

”We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet and that includes playing an active role in moving toward a circular economy. We are thrilled to see so many leading companies and pioneering innovators gather at the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit to collaborate for a better future.

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

Fifteen past and present LAUNCH innovators were selected to participate in the Summit:

LAUNCH Circular Innovators

One of the participating innovators was May Al-Karooni Founder of Globechain – a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items:

The LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit at Nike’s global headquarters in Portland brought together over 100 industry pioneers, innovators, leading researchers, and investors who can help identify and deliver innovation for a circular economy.

Claus Stig Pedersen Novozymes and Cyrus Wadia Nike

Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability @ Novozymes and Cyrus Wadia, VP @ Nike – Photo by Ben Mund

The head of Corporate Sustainability at the Danish company Novozymes, Claus Stig Pedersen, kicked off the second day of the summit.

“We look forward to collaborating with leading companies, government institutions, and innovators on finding new sustainable solutions and building a roadmap to the circular economy. Public-private partnerships are exactly what we need to help sustainable innovations get to scale.”

Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes

Astronaut Cady Coleman shared her perspective from the ultimate circular habitat — the International Space Station.

Cady Coleman former NASA Astronaut

Cady Coleman former NASA Astronaut gives her unique perspective on circularity and closed loop systems – Photo: Ben Mund.

“To look beyond borders and co-innovate with unconventional partners is key, if we want to achieve great things. I look forward to meeting with amazing people and innovators from all over the world to discuss how we take circularity and closed loop solutions to a whole new level. “

Dr. Catherine Coleman, former NASA Astronaut & PhD in Chemistry

The Summit brought together unlikely partnerships across industry and government including IKEA Group, eBay, and several Nordic government organizations and companies including Novozymes, Kvadrat. A new LAUNCH partner and supporter of this years LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit was eBay.

Chris Librie eBay opening LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit

Chris Librie, Head of Global Impact, eBay – Photo by Ben Mund

“eBay was founded on the belief that our platform can help create an enduring and better kind of commerce. Through eBay, we make it as easy as possible for consumers to sell and participate in the power of the circular economy. By helping to extend the useful life of products, we’re giving them the chance to have many lives and serve many people. We are excited to join this extraordinary network that nurtures innovation and drives towards systems change.”

Chris Librie, Senior Director, Global Impact, eBay           

Part of the summit was dedicated to envision a shared Circular Economy Future and co-create a Circular Economy Roadmap.

Jeff Hamoui, LAUNCH – Photo by Ben Mund

“You can’t change a system until you know where you want to go. We think the future is a fascinating place from which to begin designing.”

Jeff Hamaoui, co-founder and global lead, LAUNCH

Most of the second day of the Summit was dedicated to identify collective action, pilots and areas of collaborative innovation to accelerate a more circular future.

Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH – Photo by Ben Mund

“It’s been amazing working with so many different companies and having one of our founding partners Nike hosting this event. Our 2017 innovation challenge on Design & Manufacturing for the Circular Economy will be launched on June 5th at the World Circular Forum in Helsinki. Insights and feedback from this week’s forum will be incorporated in this global challenge.”

Sofus Midtgaard, co-founder of LAUNCH Nordic & Circular lead



Founded in 2009 as a strategic partnership between NASA, NIKE, Inc., the US Department of State, and the US Agency for International Development, LAUNCH identifies and supports visionaries whose ideas, technologies, or programs have the potential to create a better world.  Through a series of meetings, events, and an annual forum, LAUNCH has successfully introduced innovations that are solving urgent challenges facing our society today.
Since its founding, LAUNCH has attracted numerous additional strategic partners and supporters. In 2016, LAUNCH ran multiple challenges focusing on Food, Smarter Chemistry and on Closing the Loop.           

LAUNCH global innovator reach


Sustainable Build samler byggebranchen om bæredygtige innovationer og Cirkulær Økonomi

Kina har på tre år brugt mere beton end USA gjorde i hele forrige århundrede og frem mod 2050 vil antallet af folk der bor i byer stige med over 2,5 mia. Herhjemme udgør affald fra byggeri og anlæg f.eks. 45% af affaldet i Københavns Kommune. Det kræver radikal nytænkning i den måde vi designer, bygger, bruger og genanvender bygninger på.

Cirkulær økonomi er for alvor er kommet på den politiske dagsorden, og d. 26. januar tager 140 af byggebranchens centrale aktører det næsten skridt mod at accelerere den cirkulære udvikling i byggeriet. Det sker til Sustainable Build Summit, hvor deltagerne skal arbejde med konkrete cases og blive klogere på genanvendelse og genbrug af materialer i byggeriet. Samtidig lanceres årets innovationsudfordring, der kalder på alle danske og internationale innovatører med en god idé inden for årets emne, upcycling og recycling.

Innovationsprojektet Sustainanable Build samler hele den brede danske byggebranche for at udvikle nye konkrete løsninger, der kan løfte branchen i en mere bæredygtig retning. Projektet er godt i gang med sit andet år og til Summit d. 26. januar tager deltagerne næste skridt mod sammen at finde nye løsninger og hjælpe mindre virksomheder og iværksættere med at komme ind på markedet. Årets tema er upcycling og recycling i en cirkulær økonomi – et tema, der har mange øjne rettet mod sig for tiden fra både regeringen, EU og FN, der ser det som en vigtig del af den bæredygtige udvikling:

“Som investor vil vi gerne skabe byggeri, der giver værdi på lang sigt, som har fokus på energi og sundhed. Byggebranchen er den branche med størst belastning af miljøet, men vi kan ikke drive den bæredygtige udvikling alene. Derfor er samspil og mødet med branchen gennem initiativer som Sustainable Build meget værdifulde for at blive bedre på området. Her lærer vi både virksomheder og samarbejdspartnere at kende og får nogle meget konkrete ideer og input, som vi kan bruge direkte i vores egne udviklingsprojekter,” Marius Møller, ejendomsdirektør hos Pension Danmark og Founding Partner i Sustainable Build.

Sustainable Build Innovationsudfordring kridter banen for nye innovatører

SB DAY1 (27 Of 47) (1)

Potentialerne for Sustainable Build er store og bygger videre på stærke resultater fra sidste år. Her kom branchen frem til nye løsninger og hjalp 10 nye innovationer på vej. Flere af dem har lovende samarbejdsaftaler med projektets partnere og er godt på vej ud i branchen. Til Summit lanceres dette års innovationsudfordring, der igen indbyder danske og internationale innovatører til at deltage med deres gode idé og få mulighed for at skalere den og komme bredt ud i markedet.

>> Læs mere om Sustainable Builds innovatører fra 2016

Tiltag som Sustainable Build skaber bæredygtig udvikling


Sustainable Build samler en bred vifte af byggeriets parter. Både arkitekter, bygherrer, producenter og entreprenører, store som små, samles og skaber gennem dialog og intensivt arbejde konkrete, bæredygtige resultater, som branchen kan bruge med det samme.

“Der er flere barrierer på vej mod en mere bæredygtig og cirkulær byggebranche. Arkitekternes design dør ofte hos entreprenøren, der er presset af tid og mangler viden og tests til at løse usikkerheden omkring, hvorvidt nye produkter kan holde. Vi mangler en løsning på, hvordan vi hurtigst sikrer, at nye bæredygtige produkter får et løft, ligesom der mangler et overblik. Men det kræver, at branchen har mulighed for arbejde sammen om konkrete opgaver, og det tager Sustainable Build på sig”, Hanne Juel, strategisk udvikler i Region Midt og Founding Partner i Sustainable Build.

Om Sustainable Build
Sustainable Builder et samarbejde mellem Industriens Fond, Dansk Arkitektur Center og Grøn Omstillingsfond og er udviklet i samarbejde med Leaderlab. Sustainable Build realiseres i partnerskab med NCC, Region Midt, PensionDanmark, Henning Larsen Arkitekter, Tarkett, Flügger, Kebony, Outrup Vinduer, Frøslev Træ, Rheinzink, Junckers, Eurotag, Wienerberger, Xella, The Architecture Project, Lendager Arkitekter, GenieBelt, KALK, Connovate, Green Building Council, AY Arcgency, bips, Vugge til Vugge, Advanced Nonwoven, DAKOFA, Dansk Byggeri og Eksportrådet.

>> Læs mere om Sustainable Build her

Sustainable Build

Vi er i Leaderlab stolte over at have været med til etablere Sustainable Build. I stærkt samarbejde med Dansk Arkitektur Center og med støtte fra Industriens Fond og Fonden for Grøn Omstilling og en række fantastiske offentlige og private partnere er det lykkedes at skabe et stærkt partnerskab, der fremmer vækst i bæredygtigt byggeri.

I videoen ovenfor kan du høre en række partnere, branche aktører og innovatører fortælle om udbyttet ved at deltage i Sustainable Build efter det første års arbejde. Mød bl.a. Mads Lebech, Adm. Dir. Industriens Fond, Torben Møger, CEO Pension Danmark, Martin Manthorpe, Strategi Direktør, NCC og Signe Kongebro, Partner Henning Larsen Architects og  Michael Aastrup, Nordisk Direktør, Tarkett samt fire af årets 10 Sustainable Build Innovatører.

Fokus i 2015/2016 har været innovation og vækst i bæredygtige byggematerialer. Fra d. 26. Oktober 2016 sætter vi gang i en ny cyklus der over det næste år vil sætte fokus på innovation og vækst i genanvendelse af byggematerialer. Læs mere på

SUSTAINABLE BUILD er et samarbejde mellem Industriens Fond, Dansk Arkitektur Center og Grøn Omstillingsfond og er udviklet i samarbejde med Leaderlab.  SUSTAINABLE BUILD realiseres i tæt samspil med byggebranchens leverandører, bygherrer, virksomheder og organisationer.

“Markedet for bæredygtigt byggeri og bæredygtige byggematerialer er stort og voksende – og dermed interessant for danske virksomheder. Branchens aktører er imidlertid meget afhængige af hinanden, når der skal innoveres, eftersom nye materialer, produkter og løsninger skal kunne fungere sammen på tværs af branchen. De kan derfor have svært ved at skabe innovation alene. Målsætningen med SUSTAINABLE BUILD er derfor, at samle branchen og øge innovationen, videndelingen og væksten på tværs af byggebranchen,” siger Mads Lebech, adm. direktør i Industriens Fond.


”Da vi i Region Midtjylland blev spurgt, om vi ville være partnere i SUSTAINABLE BUILD, var vi ikke i tvivl. Byggeriet er et at de meget vigtige områder i den grønne omstilling – i Europa står byggeriet for 40 procent af det samlede forbrug af energi og materialer! I mange tilfælde kan vi som bygherre spare penge, hvis vi tænker os godt om og arbejder helhedsorienteret for at løse flere udfordringer på en gang. Og så skader det jo ikke at vi forhåbentligt samtidig kan styrke væksten blandt en række virksomheder med miljørigtige og sunde produkter,“ siger Bent Hansen, Regionformand, Region Midtjylland.

Det er en god idé at kigge på de små udviklingsvirksomheder i Danmark, når man skal finde de nye innovationer i byggeriet. Det er en stærk arbejdsdeling, at nytænkningen opspores hos græsrødderne og skaleringen kommer fra os, der har fået ansvaret af samfundet for at udvikle- og bygge bæredygtigt. Det er et ansvar vi tager på os, og samtidigt skal virkeliggøre i et marked, der er under store omvæltninger og presser os for blive mere produktive. Sustainable Build er derfor et udviklingspartnerskab der skærper og fremskynder branchens bæredygtige produktion og konkurrencekraft til fælles glæde, siger Martin Manthorpe, strategidirektør, NCC.

“Med støtte fra Industriens Fond og projektets partnere har vi samlet byggebranchen og sat fokus på innovation og vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri. Det er inspirerende at opleve engagementet fra projektets partnere, såvel som de over 200 involverede deltagere i projektets workshops og arbejdsgrupper. Ser vi alene på vores innovationsudfordring fik vi 57 innovationer fra 11 forskellige lande. Det viser, at vi er nået bredt ud i branchen og har fået engageret en lang række forskellige aktører”udtaler Mikkel Kragh, programchef for BUILD hos Dansk Arkitektur Center.

“Der ligger en kæmpe uudnyttet potentiale for vækst i bæredygtigt byggeri – både herhjemme og i udlandet. Men det kræver at vi samler aktører på tværs af værdikæden omkring at fjerne barrierer og skabe rammerne for mere bæredygtigt byggeri. Her spiller vores 10 innovatører en afgørende rolle. Jeg glæder mig til at se hvad de kan drive det til med vores hjælp. ”udtaler Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner, Leaderlab



  • SUSTAINABLE BUILD er et innovationspartnerskab, som fremmer vækst inden for bæredygtigt byggeri.
  • Processen er opdelt i tre faser, hvor første fase udvælger konkrete udfordringer, anden fase indsamler og udvikler løsninger, og tredje fase udvælger de 10 bedste løsninger, som skal skaleres, implementeres og accelereres.
  • Industriens Fond har bevilget en samlet ramme på 5,6 millioner kr. til SUSTAINABLE BUILD.
  • Grøn Omstillingsfond har støttet med 1,5 millioner kr. til SUSTAINABLE BUILD
  • SUSTAINABLE BUILD er udviklet sammen med Dansk Arkitektur Center og LeaderLab.

In Search of Sustainable Materials: Accelerating the Transition to Healthy Products

It’s been shown that the materials needed to create a product makes up about 70%, on average, of the environmental footprint in apparel, furniture, packaging and toys. Addressing resource scarcity and environmental issues in the supply chain is becoming increasingly crucial for every brand’s license to operate. As more and more brands are looking to source materials in sustainable ways, they are encountering a complex mix of successes and challenges.

At this years Sustainable Brands conference in Copenhagen Leaderlab’s Managing Partner Sofus Midtgaard headed a panel: In Search of Sustainable Materials: Accelerating the Transition to Healthy Products. Sustainable Materials pioneers from IKEA, LEGO, Carlsberg, Novozymes and Sustainability Consult presented new products, shared cases and discussed opportunities, challenges and the need for Partnerships.

Jonas Engberg Ikea

While the session underlined the importance of new products based on sustainable materials from the IKEA, LEGO and Carlsberg it also articulated the need for collaboration and partnerships to disrupt value chains and take new sustainable materials to scale.

Claus Stig Pedersen Senior Director of Corporate Sustainability from Novozymes and Kathryn Sheridan Founder of Sustainability Consult invited the panel participants to think of their sustainable materials in new contexts.


Moderator Sofus Midtgaard then took the lead and invited Jonas Engberg (IKEA), Tim Brooks (LEGO) and Simon Hoffmeyer Boas (Carlsberg) to switch seats/change jobs and advice from the position of their new job-position.

The new ‘leaders’ of sustainability in IKEA, LEGO and Carlsberg gave their contention on the complexity of opportunities and difficulties in developing with sustainable materials.

Afterwards, the floor was open for questions. The debate on if recycling is always the right choice, recyling vs. biodegradable materials, bioplastic, secutiry, scale and how to keep the cost down for customers constituted the many challenges connected to the transition to more sustainable materials.

Introduction slides from the sessions are available here:

We wish to thank:

  • Jonas Engberg, Sustainability Manager, 
  • Tim Brooks
 Vice President for Environmental Responsibility, LEGO
  • Simon Hoffmeyer Boas, Director, Corporate Communications & CSR
  • Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes
  • Kathryn Sheridan CEO & Founder, 
Sustainability Consult

Please see the event description here


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