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
.

 

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.

Circular Economy is taking off – meet the innovators & pioneers paving the way…

The shift to a circular economy requires new levels of innovation, collaboration and collective action. To accelerate the shift we teamed up 10 Circular Economy innovators with industry pioneers including LAUNCH partners Nike Inc., IKEA Group, eBay, Novozymes, Kvadrat and several Nordic government institutions at this years LAUNCH Circular Inovation Summit March 2-3 at Nike HQ in Portland.

Here is a sneak-peek into the Summit and the collaboration and conversations between 10 LAUNCH Circular Economy Innovators, partners and industry pioneers:

At LAUNCH we believe the shift towards a circular economy requires new innovations, collaborations and not least action. As the world develop we need to meet new and growing demands in the future – this will require products designed for disassembly and reuse, efficient take back processes and business models that keep materials in play longer and more effectively.

Cyrus Wadia, VP for Sustainable Business Innovation at Nike underlined the importance of collaboration when he stated “We can’t do this alone“. We need innovations that support the circular economy and partners gathering around the innovations to reach a more circular future.

Such innovations are represented in the solutions provided by LAUNCH innovators. At the Summit entrepreneur Vigga Svensson of Vigga.us and Håkan Nordqvist, Director of Sustainability at IKEA, talked about why it’s imperative to entice consumers to be part of a sustainable culture.

Siddharth Hande of Kabadiwalla Connect and Amy Millington of eBay brought another important perspective to understanding circular economy as they talked about the importance of inclusivity and understanding the local context especially in the developing world.

Vigga Svensson of Vigga.Us and Siddharth Hande of Kabadiwalla Connect both represent new business models and solutions in a circular economy – at the LAUNCH website you can find more videos of LAUNCH Innovators describing their circular solutions within; recycling of cotton, green chemistry, platforms, technologies, waste to resource, supply chains, ecosystems and much more.

LAUNCH Innovators at LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit. Photo: Ben Mund

ABOUT LAUNCH

Established in 2009, LAUNCH is a network-centred innovation platform founded on the belief that the problems of today are too big to be solved by any one organization alone. Our unique approach is to convene and curate networks of individuals and organizations to forge pathways for change together.

LAUNCH was founded by NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State and NIKE, Inc., who joined together to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to sustainability challenges.

 

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

  

About LAUNCH:

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

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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

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.

claus-stig-pedersen-novozymes

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, 
IKEA
  • 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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