10 RULES FOR SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIPS!

Collaboration and partnerships play a critical role when companies, governments and cities wish to drive sustainable growth. But establishing and running partnerships is a new leadership dicipline. Leaderlab Founder & Managing Partner Sofus Midtgaard was in Istanbul this week to give a keynote on the topic.

In a 2015 survey by MIT Sloan Management Review, The Boston Consulting Group and the United Nations Global Compact, 90% of executives state that collaboration is important to address sustainability challenges while only 47% are actively engaged in sustainability collaboration and partnerships.

Over the last five years partnerships to drive sustainable growth have become increasingly important. Systemic challenges – i.e. unaware investors, disengaged citizens, lack of enabling policy or introduction of new standards throughout a supply chain – are all issues that no-one company can address on its own.

With the Sustainable Development Goals it was outlined that multi-stakeholder partnerships are fundamentally necessary and should encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships.

Paul Polman

“When you look at any issue, such as food or water scarcity, it is very clear that no individual institution, government or company can provide the solution”

Poul Polman, CEO, UNILEVER

Collaboration and partnerships play a critical role in addressing systemic barriers, driving collaborative innovation and sharing risk. But like most complex projects, partnerships have a failure rate of about 50 % (Harvard Business Review, 2004). Here are 10 rules for successful sustainability partnerships that will help you avoid the most common pitfalls and help you build partnerships that last and will drive change.

Cyrus Wadia opening Summit Nike HQ

Cyrus Wadia opening Summit Nike HQ

”These are massive problems of scale. they are going to require an ecosystem of thinkers and solvers and creative minds.”

Cyrus Wadia, VP, Nike

 

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

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation IKEA Group.

“Collaboration can bring great results, for example we work closely with Nike to pioneer new techniques for textile dyeing that dramatically reduce the use of water, energy and chemicals”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

 

Here are the slides from the presentation:

 

 

10 Rules for Sustainability Partnerships

 

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 1. PARTNER WITH PURPOSE

Partnerships should make you able to achieve something you can not achieve on your own. Partnerships should never be the parking lot for difficult CSR-agendas better solved alone
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sweet-spot2. FIND THE SWEET SPOT

Senior leadership support might give you a head start – but unless you find a sweet spot for the participating managers you will fail. Make sure to find a sweet spot/overlap between core strategic priorities of the partners.

 

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3. SET FEW BUT AMBITOUS GOALS

Many stakeholders often result in cluttered goals and reporting. Agree on a moonshot, or at least set a few but ambitious goals, that will aspire people for change.

 

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4. CONTRIBUTE WITH MORE THAN MONEY

No partnership can run on money alone. Only by leaning in you will harvest the real benefits of a partnership.

 

 

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5. PASSION IS KEY

You can prepare, make strategies and plans – but in the end it always comes down to people. A partnership needs champions who would die in a ditch for what the partnership is trying to achieve.

 

 

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6. DEDICATE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

If a partnership is strategic, staff it like it is strategic! Include people from relevant business units – not just the CSR department.

 

 

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7. GET BEYOND THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Unconventional partners will bring new perspectives and spur innovation. Watch out for the usual suspects when forming partnerships.

 

 

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8. BE A CATALYST

Some of the most effective partnerships are the ones that map, connect and embrace existing initiatives – rather than conquer them. This is especially true when it comes to systemic challenges.

 

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9. BE OPEN FOR SURPRISES

Even a focused partnership with few and clear goals will produce unexpected value for partners. Be open for surprises and calibrate your measures of success.

 

 

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10. SHARE THE LOVE

You can achieve amazing things if you are able to step back and let other people step into the limelight.

 

Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA ad Cyrus Wadia, Nike

Haakan Nordkvist, IKEA and Cyrus Wadia, Nike on stage at LAUNCH CIRCULAR INNOVATION SUMMIT, March 2017.

Up to 50% of all partnerships fail to deliver value and are terminated before time (HBR, 2004). Try to think about these 10 rules in relation to your existing partnerships or next time you consider entering a new partnership.

If you have reflections or suggestions to this list please feel free to contact us.  If you need help shaping a new partnership, mapping potential partners or focusing and energizing an existing partnership, do not hesitate on contact us:

Sofus Midtgaard, Managing Partner & Toke Sabroe, Partner, Leaderlab.

Bioamber: Using Sugars To Produce Building Block Chemicals More Responsibly

Anne Waddell of Bioamber spoke with David Constable of the American Chemistry Society and former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman at the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit on March 2-3 at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, about producing building-block chemicals more responsibly and economically. Bioamber makes renewable chemicals from sugars rather than fossil fuels to create plastics, food, textiles, and personal care items.
At BioAmber they have developed technology to convert renewable sugars to bio-based succinic acid a chemical building-block, that replaces petroleum-based chemicals to offer both performance and sustainability in a broad range of products from industrial applications such as polyurethanes, paints and coatings, to specialty applications, such as flavours and food, and personal care ingredients. At @BioAmber you can follow the latest updates. Read more about the innovation here.

Bioamber Showcase at LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit. Photo: Ben Mund

When it comes to sustainable chemicals, there is a need to bridge the demand across the different players at multiple levels of the supply chain – from chemical producers to brands and retailers and consumers. In 2014, with the Green Chemistry Challenge BioAmber joined LAUNCH as sustainable chemicals company that combines industrial biotechnology and chemical catalysis to convert renewable feedstock into chemicals for use in a variety of everyday products including plastics, paints, and polyurethanes.

 

Vigga.us: We Need a Shift From Ownership to Usership

Entrepreneur Vigga Svensson of Vigga.us and Håkan Nordqvist, Director of Sustainability at IKEA, talk about why it’s imperative to entice consumers to be part of a sustainable culture. Vigga is a kids’ wear brand and circular subscription service that reuses children’s clothing. It provides an innovative business model where consumers become an active part of the solution to problems of waste and overconsumption.

The Vigga.US business model has the potential to reduce the footprint up to 80%, compared to the traditional children’s fashion consumption. This circular model can accelerate a powerful movement, which can lead to a whole new and meaningful way of consumption. Follow @ViggaUS for updates.

Vigga.us Showcase LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit. Photo: Ben Mund

Vigga.us joined LAUNCH in 2014 for the Textiles Challenge with the innovative solution based a concept of a innovative business model that combines sustainability and fashion consumption, and makes them work together instead of against each other.

”In my work on sustainable business models, Vigga is without any doubt one of the absolute best examples I have seen of a new business model which is both environmentally and socially sustainable, and at the same time has huge potential for up-scaling and for creating substantial profits.”
– Lars Mortensen, Head of Sustainable Consumption and Production European Environment Agency

Kiverdi: Our Supply Chains Aren’t Inherently Sustainable

At the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit on March 2-3 at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Lisa Dyson of Kiverdi talked with Dan Wilson of Dow Chemicals and former astronaut Cady Coleman about a revolutionary bioprocess, inspired by NASA and developed by Kiverdi.

“Imagine a world where instead of filling up landfills, we are converting carbon-based resources into the raw materials used to produce consumer goods products, surfactants and even fuel for our airplanes. Kiverdi is commercializing a robust industrial bioprocess that can make this world a reality.” – Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi

Kiverdi innovation uses microbial crops to convert carbon dioxide into protein and oils, the process can provide a sustainable alternative to meet global consumer demand for animal protein.

Background:

In 2012 for the Beyond Waste Challenge Kiverdi joined LAUNCH with a innovation that solves the dual problem of waste management and price volatility of chemicals by utilizing waste biomass as feedstock. Through a proprietary syngas conversion process, the bioreactor upgrades syngas and CO2 into oil, enabling the production of drop-in and custom oil-based chemicals at a fraction of the cost of chemical catalysts. The feedstock, from forestry residue, landfills, stranded natural gas or agricultural effectively, recycles waste carbon reducing the carbon footprint of these untapped waste streams. Kiverdi’s technology also has the ability to use crude glycerol or industrial flue gases.

Kabadiwalla Connect: Inclusivity and Understanding the Local Context Is Crucial

Siddharth Hande of Kabadiwalla Connect and Amy Millington of eBay talked about the importance of inclusivity and understanding the local context especially in the developing world. They talked with former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman at the LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit, March 2-3 at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

Kabadiwalla Connect is a new business model for handling urban waste. The idea is to help people connect to and work with India’s existing system of kabadiwallas — small scrap-dealers who buy trash from consumers — to enable reuse of all recyclable waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. Follow @KabadiConnect and get the latest updates on the innovation.

Siddharth Hande, Kabadiwalla Connect at LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit. Photo: Ben Mund

Kabadiwalla Connect joined LAUNCH in 2016 for the Glosed Loop Solutions Challenge with RecyKle, an app that helps people get the information they need to manage their domestic waste responsibly: get simple tips to help sort waste, sign-up for composting events, and connect to the closest Kabadiwalla (small scrap-dealers that are ubiquitous in the city).  The technology, which consists of an app that Kabadiwallas can use, as well as an administrator dashboard, helps drive transparency in material pricing and smarter decision making while picking up recyclables. Furthermore, India’s first smart Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is part of the innovation and uses technology to integrate into the informal waste ecosystem.

Kabadiwalla Connect Showcase at LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit. Photo: Ben Mund

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