Learn from LAUNCH Partners and Circular Design Innovators

Have you ever wondered how the startup companies started their adventure? Or how the big corporations work with Circular Economy? Now is your opportunity to meet 5 Circular Economy frontrunners and entrepreneurs working with Circular Economy. Together with The Royal School of Architecture and Design (KADK), we are hosting 3 open seminars about how to design for a Circular Economy. Meet Kvadrat and Really Cph on October 26th, IKEA and Ecovative on November 16th, and Queen of Raw on December 14th 2017.

Learn from Circular Design Innovators

Through the 3 seminars you will get the opportunity to dive into five different personal and professional journeys towards circularity. You will get insights on their vital learnings and learn from their ups and downs from starting companies and working in this space. And who knows, maybe your career path as a designer is another one than one than you imagined.

Ecovative Lamp

The 3 seminars are:

  • October 26th at 15.00-17.00: ‘Recycling Textile into Furniture and Decorative Elements’ – with Charlotte Bastholm Skjold (Head of Design Management at Kvadrat Textiles) & Wickie Meier (CEO at Really Cph)
  • November 16th at 15.00-17.00: ‘Design Inspired by Nature’ and Lamps and Packaging Grown from Mushroom Material’ – with Jonas Engberg (Sustainability Manager at IKEA) & Kenneth Lush (Prototype Engineer at Ecovative)
  • December 14th at 15.00-17.00: ‘Business Models for a Circular Economy’ and an online marketplace for unused fabrics and high quality raw materials – with Stephanie Benedetto (CEO at Queen of Raw)

All seminars is in Auditorium 2 at KADK – read more about each event here:

How to Design for Circularity?

Did you know that decisions made in the design phase determines 80% of the product’s CO2 footprint? The 3 seminars will showcase 3 different ways of making sure that the product or concept is designed from a Circular Economy perspective e.g. using fungal mycelium to grow biodegradable replacements for polystyrene, using recycled textiles, or using leftover and sustainable materials.

On October 26th, Wickie Meier (Really) and Charlotte Bastholm Skjold (Kvadrat) will talk about how they have collaborated together with Max Lamb about recycling textiles into decorative elements and furniture.

On November 16th, Jonas Engberg (IKEA) and Kenneth Lush (Ecovative) will talk about how they have collaborated making mushroom packaging. They will also engage you in their newest material developments and how you can design with the materials yourself. Ecovative have scaled their business and impact over the last 4 years due to their collaboration with the LAUNCH eco-system. They use fungal mycelium to grow biodegradable replacements for polystyrene (see video below).


At LAUNCH Circular Innovation Summit in March 2017 at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Jeff Betts from Ecovative talked about his company’s biomaterials products with Håkan Nordqvist, Director of Sustainability of IKEA (and partner in LAUNCH), and former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman.

On December 14th, Stephanie Benedetto (Queen of Raw) will talk about how she connects designers with global suppliers selected for their innovative raw materials, sustainability value, and avant-garde approach to fashion and technology. Stephanie Benedetto is also LAUNCH Innovator 2016 and have therefore scaled her business through LAUNCH. So if you want to learn from her, she will at the seminar give you insights on how to join the movement and we invite you to engage in the discussion. You can see and introduction to the platform (see video below):


Stay Tuned!

For all seminars, we will livestream interviews with the companies. And best of all, we will livestream the whole seminar with Queen of Raw December 14th. So make sure to follow us on Facebook and check in on our account on the seminar dates!

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

10 Innovations That Could Create A Better World Of Materials

LAUNCH Nordic ForumLAUNCH Nordic Forum November 4-5, 2015 in Malmö

IKEA Group, Nike Inc., NASA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Leading Scientists, Investors, Nordic and U.S. Gov. Representatives will team up in Malmö, Sweden, Nov. 4-5 to support 10 innovators in shaping a more sustainable world of materials.

LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform tackling sustainability challenges related to how we produce and use materials today. In an effort to green the value chain of materials, to initiate industry collaborations, and to scale sustainability innovations LAUNCH Nordic has identified 10 innovations that can change the system of using materials to a better one.

LAUNCH Nordic Forum 2014

A public call for innovations was released at the LAUNCH Nordic Summit, April 28, resulting in 97 applications from over 35 countries covering six continents. A panel of subject matter experts has carefully reviewed the applications. The LAUNCH Nordic partners selected the ten top innovators, who are now invited to participate in the LAUNCH Nordic Forum in Malmö, Sweden.

“This year we have seen strong innovators from all over the world, and I am happy to see a highly competitive Nordic field of innovators. The unique thing about LAUNCH Nordic is the public and private sector collaboration to create the right conditions to scale such new sustainable solution. We look very much forward to meet the innovators at the Forum in Malmo.”

Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Sustainability, Novozymes

At the LAUNCH Nordic Forum in November, 35 industry executives, materials experts, government officials and investors will gather, to offer insight and guidance to help scale the ten innovations.

“I am exited to join the LAUNCH Nordic Forum again this year. LAUNCH Nordic have received a record number of applications from innovators around the world, and I am looking forward to work with this year’s ten selected innovators on how to take them to scale.“

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

Each year LAUNCH Nordic puts focus on a specific theme. In 2015, the focus is on alternative raw materials and cultivation, sustainable design and manufacturing, and better design tools for a circular economy.

The 10 LAUNCH Nordic innovators are all selected based on their positive environmental or social impact. Their respective innovations have the potential to significantly increase sustainability in production, manufacturing, and recycling by introducing new types of materials, or alternative ways of using known materials.

The top 10 LAUNCH Nordic innovators 2015 are (in alphabetic order):
AVESPA – Production of algal biomass (US)
EKOBALANS – Natural fertilizers from residues (SE)
MODTI – Electronically shapable hardware (FI)
NIL TECHNOLOGY – Nano imprinted plastic surfaces (DK)
POND – Bio-based polymer resin (DK)
PAD HEAVEN – Sanitary pads made of banana stems (KE)
PAXYMER – Green flame-retardant (SE)
SAPROGLUE – Bio-based glue from lake sediments (LV)
SVENSKA AEROGEL – New production method for Aerogel (SE)
WET-GREEN – Natural leather tanning (DE)

Ranging from start-ups to established companies, the selected innovators will present their ideas and technologies to the LAUNCH Nordic Council that is comprised by leading global companies, ministries, research institutions – and even astronauts.

“To look beyond borders and co-innovate with unconventional partners is key, if we want to achieve great things on Earth and beyond. The Nordic region has a strong tradition and so much potential when it comes sustainable solutions to global challenges. That is why I look forward to the LAUNCH Nordic Forum.”

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

Following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale. One of the Innovators who has been through the LAUNCH Nordic 2014 Accelerator is the Swedish company Re:Newcell, who has developed a methods for efficient recycling of waste textiles;

“At the LAUNCH Nordic Forum we not only got in contact with some of the most important actors on the market, we got a chance to develop our business plan in co-operation with both our future customers as well as our future suppliers. This was a true accelerator!”

Henrik Norlin, Re:Newcell (Sweden), LAUNCH Nordic Innovator 2014

The LAUNCH Nordic Council participants include: Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, Anders Byriel, CEO Kvadrat, Geert Aagaard Andersen, Ambassador & Head of Secretariat (3GF), Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikkel Stenbæk, Deputy Head of Division, Danish EPA, Carin Daal, Head of Department, Region Skåne, Mike van der Zanden, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain Innovation Europe, Nike, Kira Blackwell, Program Executive, Office of the Chief Technologist, NASA – together with more than 25 other industry representative, entrepreneurs, scientist and investors. They will provide access to capital, credibility and capacity to help the ten innovators scale globally.

Catherine Coleman NASA

LAUNCH invites you to follow the hashtag #LAUNCHNordic on Tuesday November 3, 2015 from 5:30-6:00 CET (12:30 EST & 9:30 PST) for a social storytelling event on Twitter and Periscope. NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman will be joined by three LAUNCH innovators for a conversation on sustainability and materials innovation. We encourage you to follow along and add your voice to the conversation using #LAUNCHNordic. The main Twitter handles for this event will be: @Astro_Cady @LAUNCHorg and @LAUNCHNordic

For more information on the challenge please go to:

For more information about Innovators and the Forum please contact Sasha Beckmann, Lead Project Manager LAUNCH Nordic: +45 40156483 – or sasha@launch.org.

For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners please contact:
– IKEA Group: Jamie Rusby, ‎Head of Sustainability Communications: jamie.rusby@ikea.com
– Danish Ministry of the Environment: Mikkel Stenbæk: +45 40859405, mshan@mst.dk
– Novozymes: Debbie Spillane, Corporate Press Officer: DbSp@novozymes.com
– LAUNCH Nordic: Sofus Midtgaard: +45 30 220 111, sofus@launch.org


LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform by: IKEA Group, Novozymes, and Kvadrat, as well as the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), The Danish Ministry of the Environment, Region Skåne, Malmö Stad, VINNOVA, and The Capital Region of Denmark. LAUNCH Nordic was created in collaboration with LAUNCH founders NASA, NIKE, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) & The U.S. Department of State.

Relevant information

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 sofus@launch.org. For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners please contact:


–        NASA:  Joshua Buck: jbuck@nasa.gov

–        IKEA Group: Jamie Rusby: jamie.rusby@ikea.com

–        Novozymes: Debbie Spillane: DbSp@novozymes.com

–        Capital Region of Denmark:  70 20 95 88

–        Danish Ministry of the Environment:  +45 40859405 mshan@mst.dk

–        Danish Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Interior: Philip Flores +45 72282400 pf@oim.dk

–        LAUNCH Nordic: Sofus Midtgaard: + 45 30220111 sofus@launch.org


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

Leaderlab hosts session on Sustainable Materials at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF)

Imagine a world where a small Nordic start-up worked with NASA, Novozymes and Rockwool on scaling a new nanotech insulation material. Imagine a world where residual products from Arla via enzymes from Novozymes ended up as textile materials for H&M designers. And imagine a world where Nike, IKEA, USAID worked together on taking waterless dying to scale.

Leaderlab will with the support of The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Danish Design Centre (DDC), The Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI)  and Copenhagen School of Technology & Design (KEA) host a session on Disruptive Innovation in Materials at this years Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), October 22, 2013. Hannah Jones, Vice President for Sustainable Business & Innovation at Nike and other key Global and Nordic players from the textile and materials industry are joining the session.

Hannah Jones joins 3GF session

The potential for green growth and disruptive innovation reducing the water, CO2, and chemical footprints of the materials industry is enormous. But often this potential is not unleashed due to systems deadlocks.

In the session we will discuss what it will take to remove barriers, create incentives and unlock global sustainable growth within the textile and materials industry. We invite government representatives, business leaders and key experts, who want to join a revolution in new and more sustainable materials.

The businesses that will prosper, in a future of scarce resources, are the ones who master to distinguish between competitive, collaborative and systems innovation. This is key to drive growth, share risk, increase resource efficiency and become more sustainable.

The system changes and innovations required won’t come from a single source. Not from science. Not from technology. Not from governments. Not from business. It will require a joint effort from all of us.

Session at 3GF 2013
3GF 2013 will feature a Morning Session: Beyond CSR: Disruptive Material Innovation. The session will explore how to remove barriers and create incentives for disruptive and sustainable innovation across the value chain. Government representatives, business leaders and key experts within the textile and materials industry will discuss the following questions:

  • What are the most significant barriers to achieving sustainable change at speed and at scale within textiles and materials?
  • How do we speed up industry collaboration and systems innovation that will allow for better and more sustainable materials?
  • What is in it for business, society and the environment?

Read more about 3GF here



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