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 NORDIC: CLOSING THE LOOP – THE INNOVATORS OF 2016

LAUNCH Nordic proudly present this years selected innovators. Each individual innovation constitutes a solution to the raised question “How can we – through new types of closed loop solutions or recycling technologies – shape a more sustainable future of materials and manufacturing?

This year 6 innovators received an invitation from the LAUNCH Nordic Board and we are looking forward to working towards solutions joint with:

  • Globechain.com – a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items (UK)
  • Infinited Fibre Company – Closed loop solution for the textile industry (FI)
  • BioCellection – A biotech solution to upcycle plastic using bacteria (US)
  • Queen of Raw – An online marketplace for sustainable materials for suppliers and designers (US)
  • Kabadiwalla Connect – System to leverage the informal waste ecosystem to help cities manage recyclable waste (IN)
  • Shrilk – Shrilk is a biodegradable alternative to plastic, based on molecular design of insect cuticle (SI)

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It has been just over 5 months since we announced the 2016 LAUNCH Nordic Innovation challenge, at the LAUNCH Nordic Summit. Since then we have completed a successful application, review and selection phase, and we now have the final 6 innovations for this years challenge. By the closing date on September 1st, we had received 120 applications from 36 different countries across 6 continents. Reaching the point of identifying this years innovators initiates the next process of work with the selected final 6. The innovators have all been selected due to their potential of transformative environmental and social impact within closing the loop.

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LAUNCH Nordic Forum, December 1st.

Moving on the next major step will be the journey towards the LAUNCH Nordic Forum on December 1st in Malmö, Sweden. The process of working with the 6 innovators will include shaping and specify the best possible understanding of the value of the innovations. At the Forum the innovators will meet the LAUNCH Nordic Council, a selected group of business executives and decision makers relevant to the LAUNCH Nordic agenda.

Working together with the innovators the Council will provide help, knowledge on the progress towards scaling and thereby creating value and real impact for the industry and society in general. Following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum each of the innovators will engage in the Accelerator phase, where we will work with them to realize the commitments made during the Forum.

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Do not hesitate to contact us should there be one or more of the innovators where you have a specific interest or see a direct opportunity. Specific details on the innovators will be following the next week.

Contacts 

– Leaderlab: Ole Høy Jakobsen: ole@leaderlab.com
– Leaderlab: Sissel Ødegaard: sissel@leaderlab.com

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

We need a Food Revolution

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By 2050 people living in cities will increase by 2.5-3.0 billion caused by urbanization. Climate Change will impact food production worldwide. And while obesity cost 2.0 trillion $ globally in treatments we still have 800 million people going to bed hungry every night. A new LAUNCH movement LAUNCH Food want’s to meet these global challenges. At Leaderlab we are engaged and helped organize LAUNCH Food’s third Big Think at IKEAs HQ in Malmø, August 17, 2016.

Everybody’s talking about how we need to change the food system and behaviorism around food. Topics like Population Growth, Urbanisation, a growing global Middle Class, Under-Nutrition, Food Security, Local Food, Obesity, Diabetes and Food Waste are making headlines globally.

August 17, 2016 LAUNCH invited partners from both industry, governments, global corporations, catering and foundations and ask them to imagine a Food Revolution.

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Nordic, US and Australian Ministries, UN-institutions, Global companies, Bio-dynamic Food-innovators and Scientists joined forces to identify areas of collective-action/intervention and new innovation opportunity areas.

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IKEA’s new headquarter provided a great location and frame for discussing how to mobilize a Global Food Revolution.

Increasingly, the quality and quantity of the world’s food supply is changing – and so is the way that people eat. The result is malnutrition and poor health in many communities across the world.

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Within hours of work the participants handed in the first ideas of which areas they found the most central for a Food Revolution. Afterwards a session of potential questions helped categorize and organize the structure of the challenge within the field. Passion, desire to change and concrete call for solutions created a atmosphere reflecting the importance of the theme. A successful and productive day among the Global and Nordic stakeholders providing a solid foundation for the upcoming challenge and call for innovators.

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LAUNCH Food is calling for innovators, entrepreneurs, organizations, and individuals from around the world to put forward innovative solutions for improving global health outcomes by enabling people to make healthy food choices. The call for innovation will be announced end september 2016 at the LAUNCH Food website

LAUNCH appreciate all inputs and express gratitude for the participation in creating the first steps towards addressing one of the most contemporary problems.

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For more information about LAUNCH Food details can be found at LAUNCH.ORG.

Contacts

– Leaderlab: Sofus Midtgard: sofus@leaderlab.com
– Leaderlab: Sissel Ødegaard: sissel@leaderlab.com

 

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