Making Circularity Great Again

Tim Brooks LEGOHow do we accelerate the transition to a Circular Society?  And what role will customers, corporations, cities and governments play in realizing this vision?

This week, eBay hosted the LAUNCH Big Think on Customer Engagement and New Business Models, an opportunity for brands such as IKEA, LEGO, Apple, eBay, Interface, Dell, VF Corporation, Novozymes, Kvadrat and organisations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and GreenBiz to come together to understand how we can collectively build a circular society. During the Big Think, Sofus Midtgaard, the Director of Circular at LAUNCH, caught up with a number of the Big Think attendees to gather their thoughts on this vital circular economy dialogue and on what it takes to achieve a truly Circular Society by 2030.

“If this group can come up with something that really sparks interest and gets people excited, that would be the biggest thing for me.” Barruch Ben-Zekry, Director of Sustainable Business Value at VF Corporation.

“If we can really answer a need or answer an innovation challenge for consumers, we’re onto a winner.” Tim Brooks, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at LEGO Group.

“I think there are new conversations that are going to emerge, but ultimately this is just about something that’s better than a broken system that we’ve created.” Del Hudson, Head of US Operations at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“I hope that we can get a variety of innovations ranging from technology to more social and legislative… To have a mix of that would be wonderful.” Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA.

“We have to create these systems and these products and services that are just inherently better.” Mikhail Davis, Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface.

“The opportunity to get that many companies in a room and to talk about the challenges in creating a Circular Society is always a great moment.” Chris Librie, Head of Global Impact and Giving at eBay.

To see more photos from the Big Think, visit the LAUNCH Flickr. For more on the LAUNCH Circular Movement, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

What happens next?

All inputs given at the Big Think will be actively used over the coming months to form the Innovation Challenge along with further interviews to ensure a diverse representation of voices. By the end of April, we will send you a summary of all insights and the process. Until then, you can read more about the LAUNCH process and next steps in the booklet we sent to you previously this week (see page 12-13 and page 21).

LAUNCH Nordic aims to revolutionize Sustainable Materials

NASA, IKEA Group, Novozymes, Nike Inc., Kvadrat, Nordic Government Institutions, leading scientists, designers and materials innovators joined the LAUNCH Nordic Summit April 28 in Copenhagen, to shape a better world of materials.

Materials have a significant impact on the planet. We globally produce 8 tons of plastic per. second, that is enough material to wrap up Sweden in plastic every 8 minutes. Only 1% of this is bio-plastic.

The LAUNCH Nordic Summit April 28, gathered key industry players, policy makers, material innovators, designers, pioneering researchers who will join forces to reimagine a greener value chain for materials. The Summit united representatives from organisations like Nike Inc., NASA, USAID, U.S. State Department, IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, LEGO, H&M, Carlsberg, Haldor Topsoe, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and several Nordic gov. officials.

Morten Østergaard Deputy Prime Minister Denmark

“The greatest challenges we face as societies, are global and demands solutions reaching across borders. They cannot be solved by nations or politicians alone. Collaboration like LAUNCH Nordic between American and Nordic institutions, governments and some of the largest companies, is the way forward if we want to find and accelerate sustainable solutions.

Morten Østergaard, Minister of Economic Affairs and the Interior.

Imagine a world where the raw materials for your t-shirt were grown in the ocean. Where microorganisms from food waste and fungi were being turned into packaging or furniture. Where your bed actively helped clean the air in your bedroom. And imagine that instead of owning everything around you, you leased it, keeping products and materials in the loop.

During the Summit, the LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge 2015 was announced. The challenge will be open to individuals and teams, start-ups and established companies.


Deadline for applications will be August 12, 2015. In October 2015 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 business and government leaders.

Catherine Coleman NASA

“As NASA continues to develop the next-generation spacecraft astronauts will use to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on their way to an asteroid and eventually Mars, we are very interested in advancing our understanding of the system of materials. The Nordic region has been a pioneer when it comes to sustainability, and we look forward to gaining insights from the Nordic organizations and innovators who will take part in LAUNCH Nordic.”

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

LAUNCH Nordic will search for innovations with the potential to go to scale globally, as well as game‐changing early stage technologies and prototypes. Innovations can be business models, financial instruments, technologies or programs that have the potentials to shape a more sustainable world of materials and manufacturing. Read more here.

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. What unites the partners in LAUNCH Nordic is a commitment to help green the value chain of materials, initiate industry collaborations, and scale sustainability innovations in materials.

Håkan Nordkvist IKEA Group

“We are working to make our whole product range more sustainable, including developing and expanding our use of materials that are better for people and the planet and playing an active role in the transition to a circular economy. LAUNCH Nordic is a collaboration of organisations committed to scaling up new sustainable materials and innovations and we are delighted to be involved.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

LAUNCH Nordic is a part of LAUNCH – a global innovation platform founded by Nike Inc., NASA, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and The U.S. Department of State. LAUNCH aims to move beyond incremental change to identify and accelerate innovations that will help revolutionize sustainable materials.


“What is special about LAUNCH Nordic is the strong partnership of both government, academic and industry. Public Private Partnerships is exactly what we need to help sustainable innovations go to scale. We look forward to help shape a more sustainable world of materials.

Claus Stig Pedersen, Senior Director, Sustainability, Novozymes.

Among participants at the LAUNCH Nordic Summit will be: Catherine Coleman, NASA Astronaut & PhD in Chemistry, Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, Andrew Morlet, CEO of Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Nelleke van der Puil, VP Materials, LEGO Group and Ida Auken, Member of Danish Parliament & Young Global Leader WEF.

”We are excited to see the number and reach of the companies present at this year’s LAUNCH Nordic Summit. LAUNCH Nordic is a great example how partners on an international scale by joining forces can drive sustainability thus making a real impact. We are welcoming all our international partners in Greater Copenhagen to help us drive green growth by developing tomorrow’s solutions for production methods and new materials”.

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Chairman Capital Region of Denmark.

For more information about the Summit please contact Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH Nordic: +45 30220111 – or For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners please contact:


–        NASA:  Joshua Buck:

–        IKEA Group: Jamie Rusby:

–        Novozymes: Debbie Spillane:

–        Capital Region of Denmark:  70 20 95 88

–        Danish Ministry of the Environment:  +45 40859405

–        Danish Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Interior: Philip Flores +45 72282400

–        LAUNCH Nordic: Sofus Midtgaard: + 45 30220111


About LAUNCH Nordic

LAUNCH Nordic is a public-private partnership by IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, The Ministry of The Environment, The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VINNOVA, Region Skåne, Malmö Stad, The City of Copenhagen and The Capital Region of Denmark. The initiative to introduce the Nordic region in the global LAUNCH collective was taken by a project group consisting of Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, Danish Fashion Institute, Danish Design Center and Leaderlab

LAUNCH Nordic samler IKEA, Novozymes, Nike, NASA m.fl. omkring skalering af bæredygtige materialer

NASA, IKEA Group, Novozymes, Nike Inc., Kvadrat, nordiske myndigheder, førende forskere, designere og materiale innovatører samledes d. 28. april til LAUNCH Nordic Summit i København, for sætte tryk på udvikling af bæredygtige materialer.

Materialer og produktionen af disse har en afgørende indflydelse på verdensøkonomien og miljøet. Som eksempel producerer vi globalt 8 tons plastik pr. sekund. Det er materiale nok til at pakke hele Sverige ind i plastfolie hver 8. minut. Kun 1% af dette er bio-plast.

LAUNCH Nordic Summit samlede d. 28/4 i København repræsentanter fra organisationer som Nike Inc., NASA, USAID, US State Department, IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, LEGO Group, H&M, Carlsberg, Haldor Topsøe, Ellen MacArthur Foundation samt flere nordiske ministerier og offentlige institutioner for at sætte tryk på udviklingen af mere bæredygtige og sunde materialer.

Morten Østergaard Deputy Prime Minister Denmark


“De største udfordringer, vi står overfor som samfund, er globale og kræver derfor også grænseoverskridende svar. De kan ikke løses af nationerne hver for sig eller af politikerne alene. Samarbejde, som det vi ser her mellem både amerikanske og nordiske myndigheder, regeringer og nogle af de største virksomheder, er vejen frem, hvis vi skal finde løsninger, der både virker og er bæredygtige.”

Morten Østergaard, Økonomi- og Indenrigsminister

Forestil dig en verden, hvor din T-shirt er produceret af fibre dyrket i havet. Hvor mikroorganismer fra madaffald og svampe bruges til at producere din sofa. Eller en verden hvor din seng renser luften i soveværelset. Eller forestil dig, at du i stedet for at eje alt omkring dig, leasede dine møbler og hårde hvide varer og dermed holdt produkter og materialer i cirkulation.

Håkan Nordkvist IKEA Group

“Vi arbejder på at gøre hele vores produktsortiment mere bæredygtigt, herunder udvikle og udvide vores brug af materialer, som er bedre for mennesker og miljø, og dermed spille en aktiv rolle i overgangen til en cirkulær økonomi. LAUNCH Nordic er et stærkt partnerskab med fokus på at udvikle mere bæredygtige materialer og nye innovationer, og vi er meget glade for at være med.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Chef for Bæredygtig Innovation, IKEA Group

Under LAUNCH Nordic Summit d. 28/4 annonceredes Innovation Challenge 2015. Det er muligt at deltage for enkeltpersoner og teams, samt som nystartet eller etableret virksomhed.

Ansøgningsfrist bliver d. 12. august 2015. I oktober 2015 bliver de 10 bedste innovationer udvalgt, og de udvalgte innovatører vil få adgang til et unikt accelerationsprogram, der yder støtte, netværk og mentorordninger fra indflydelsesrige virksomhedsledere, eksperter og regeringsrepræsentanter.

Catherine Coleman NASA

“I NASA udvikler vi den næste generation af rumfartøjer, som skal bringe astronauterne i kredsløb om Jorden, på vej til asteroider og på et tidspunkt helt til Mars. Vi er derfor altid på jagt efter ny viden indenfor materialer. Norden har været pionerer indenfor bæredygtighed, og vi ser derfor frem til at få indsigt fra de nordiske organisationer og innovatører, som deltager i LAUNCH Nordic. ”

Dr. Catherine Coleman, NASA Astronaut & PhD i kemi.

I 2014 deltog 65 innovatører fra 18 lande i LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge herunder bl.a. danske Vigga Svensson med Vigga.US. Du kan læse mere om de udvalgte innovatører fra 2014 her:

LAUNCH Nordic søger i 2015 efter innovationer med potentiale til at skalere globalt, samt nytænkende prototyper og teknologier. Innovationer kan være nye forretningsmodeller, teknologier, procesteknologier eller programmer, der har potentiale til at skabe en mere bæredygtig verden af materialer og materialeproduktion.

LAUNCH Nordic er et partnerskab mellem IKEA Group, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Vinnova, Udenrigsministeriet, Miljøministeriet, Region H., Region Skåne samt Malmö Stad. Fælles for partnerne er et stærkt ønske om at skabe mere bæredygtige og sunde produkter. Herudover har alle partnere forpligtet sig til at hjælpe innovatører indenfor bæredygtige materialer eller produktionsteknologi.


“Det særlige ved LAUNCH Nordic er det stærke partnerskab af både regering, forskning og industri. Offentlig-private partnerskaber er præcis hvad vi har brug for til at hjælpe bæredygtige innovationer til at skalere. Vi ser frem til at forme en mere bæredygtig verden af materialer.

Claus Stig Pedersen, Senior Director, Sustainability, Novozymes.

LAUNCH Nordic er en del af LAUNCH – en global innovationsplatform grundlagt af Nike, NASA, USAID (US Agency for International Development) og det amerikanske Udenrigsministerium. LAUNCH har til formål at identificere og accelerere innovationer, der bidrager til nytænkning indenfor bæredygtige materialer.

“Vi er glade for at se det imponerende opbud af virksomheder og partnere, der deltager på dette års LAUNCH Nordic Summit. LAUNCH Nordic er et godt eksempel på, hvordan partnere på internationalt plan ved at forene kræfterne kan fremme bæredygtighed og dermed gøre en reel forskel. Vi ser frem til at byde alle vores internationale partnere velkommen i København til at hjælpe os med at drive grøn vækst, ved at udvikle morgendagens løsninger for produktionsmetoder og nye materialer. ”

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, regionsrådsformand i Region Hovedstaden Danmark.

Blandt deltagerne ved LAUNCH Nordic Summit er: Catherine Coleman, NASA Astronaut & ph.d. i kemi, Håkan Nordkvist, chef for Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, Andrew Morlet, administrerende direktør for Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Nelleke van der Puil, VP Materials, LEGO Koncernen og Ida Auken, MF & Young Global Leader WEF.

For mere information om innovatører og LAUNCH NORDIC Summit, kontakt Sofus Midtgaard, LAUNCH Nordic: +45 30220111 – eller

For mere information vedr. LAUNCH Nordic partnere:

–        NASA:  Joshua Buck:

–        IKEA Group: Jamie Rusby:

–        Novozymes: Debbie Spillane:

–        Region Hovedstaden:  70 20 95 88

–        Miljøministeriet:  +45 40859405

–        Økonomi- og Indenrigsministeriet: Philip Flores +45 72282400

–        LAUNCH Nordic: Sofus Midtgaard: + 45 30220111


Om LAUNCH Nordic

Launch Nordic er et offentligt-privat partnerskab mellem IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Miljøministeriet, Udenrigsministeriet, VINNOVA, Region Skåne, Malmö Stad, Københavns Kommune og Region Hovedstaden. Initiativtagere til at bringe LAUNCH til Norden er en projektgruppe bestående af: KEA (Copenhagen School of Design and Technology), DAFI (Danish Fashion Institute), DDC (Danish Design Centre) og Leaderlab



Leaderlab, Danish Ministry of The Environment and the City of Copenhagen hosted a partnership session on Rethinking Packaging at this year’s Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) pre-meeting May 13, 2014.


The session united participants from IKEA, Unilever, ARLA, UNDP, Danish Ministry of The Environment, Danish Ministry of Business & Growth, City of Copenhagen, WRAP, WEF (YGL), Ellen MacArthur Foundation, EPEA  and Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster to Rethink Packaging.


Mervyn Jones, Head of Products & Materials, WRAP.


Ida Auken, MP & Former Minister of The Environment & WEF YGL

The session was kicked of by Ida Auken, MP & Former Minister of The Environment and WEF YGL and Mervyn Jones, Head of Products & Materials, WRAP.


The Challenge

With the rise of a new global ‘middle class’ with an increased buying power, the challenges around packaging and its environmental footprint will escalate globally. It’s a challenge that calls for international collaborations and innovations all the way through the value chain: from raw materials, chemistry, design, production, retail, use, disposal to recycling.



Pre-competitive collaboration around new packaging formats, material standards, reversed logistics, sorting systems and recycling facilities have the potential to dramatically reduce the footprint of the packaging industry and create new green jobs.

The Potentials in a Partnership

The partnership session attacked the current packaging challenge from two complementary perspectives:

1. A global collaboration focused on precompetitive industry collaboration and systems innovation

2. A local collaboration focused on sorting and recycling of plastics with Copenhagen City as test-bed


The Global Collaboration

The Global Collaboration session focused on engaging key stakeholders within packaging in identifying barriers and levers for a sustainable shift of the packing system. Ensuring that new innovative solutions within packaging that lowers the CO2, weather and chemical footprint are brought to scale requires an effort beyond that of the individual company or legislative organization.

systems-innovation-packagingThere is an urgent need to rethink packaging and to find innovative sustainable methods and approaches to the making and use of packing, across materials usage, packaging design, policy frameworks and consumer engagement.

The goal of the partnership is to engage key stakeholders in the packaging value chain in systems innovation to identify barriers and potentials for collaborative innovations and partnerships to drive a more sustainable packaging industry both globally and regionally.  We will aim at:

  • Engaging global actors across the value chain and society in greening the system of packaging
  • Help form precompetitive industry collaboration and system innovation to drive sustainable packaging
  • Identify and help scale disruptive innovations in sustainable packaging.

The Regional Collaboration

The Local Collaboration session took its outset in Copenhagen City. Copenhagen has been using a major share of waste generated in the city as a source of heat and electricity.  However with the plan for making Copenhagen carbon neutral by 2025 a disruptive shift will take place with the recovering of plastics from the waste stream and avoidance of incineration corresponding to about 12% of the required CO2 emissions reductions.

An important milestone in the Copenhagen plan for carbon neutrality is to ensure that by 2018 the following targets are met:

  • 20 percent reduction in waste to incineration – from 324,000 tonnes in 2010 to 260,000 tonnes in 2018
  • 45 percent of household waste to recycling – from 55,000 tonnes in 2010 to 100,000 tonnes in 2018.

Meeting these goals require significant technical and behavioral changes throughout the city that can only be achieved in collaboration with public and private partners. Implementing the circular economy approach and shifting the existing material stream of plastics in Copenhagen therefore requires strong public-private partnerships.


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