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



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


Saving Lives Sustainably – Leaderlab helps UNDP

Leaderlab UN workshop

May 11, 2016 Leaderlab was invited by UNDP to facilitate a workshop on: How Health Procurers Can Change the Global Health Sector.

UNDP, UNFPA and the Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) Secretariat had joined forces to explore the latest sustainable procurement initiatives, share good-practice examples and advance the dialogue on how sustainable procurement practices can be harmonized and scaled-up across the global health sector.

Toke Sabroe, Senior Partner from Leaderlab facilitated the workshop.

Saving Lives Sustainably

Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), principles of the UN Supplier Code of Conduct and the Ten Principles of the Global Compact, all UN agencies will gradually shift their procurement process towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Proceeding on the assumption that health sector procurement is burdening the environment on the following dimensions:

– Greenhouse gas emissions
– Resource depletion (water, energy and material consumption) and
– Chemical pollution


The goal of the workshops was to share experience, initiatives and inspire procurers to connect to the Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) and collaborate on the further development of sustainable procurement initiatives and tools.

For more information please contact Senior Partner Toke Sabroe M: +45 22131293 or or visit UN website:

Leaderlab participates in LAUNCH Initiative to Support Breakthrough Innovations to Advance Green Chemistry

LAUNCH founders NASA, NIKE Inc., the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State hosted the LAUNCH Green Chemistry Forum at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on January 23 and 24, 2015.

Leaderlab partner Toke Sabroe, was invited to participate in the LAUNCH Council as member of the LAUNCH Nordic. LAUNCH Nordic was created in collaboration with LAUNCH and consists of: IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, 3GF, Danish Ministry of the Environment, The Fund for Green Business Development, The Capital Region of Denmark and Vinnova.

NASA Open Innovation - LAUNCH

LAUNCH Nordic partners Toke Sabroe, Leaderlab and 3GF Special Envoy Eva Grambye together with Astronaut Cady Coleman.

LAUNCH is an open innovation platform that was founded in 2010 to identify and foster breakthrough solutions to create a more sustainable world. LAUNCH aims to move beyond incremental change and make an impact at a system-wide level.

At the Forum, Innovators from twelve countries around the world submitted their solutions in the area of green chemistry. Ten innovators from the U.S., Canada and Brazil were chosen as LAUNCH finalists and participated in the Forum, where they presented their solutions and engage in moderated discussions with LAUNCH Council members, who represented business, investment, international development, policy, science and sustainability sectors.

LAUNCH Innovator Green Chemistry Bioplastic

Collaboration with the LAUNCH Council is designed to provide innovators with the opportunity to receive feedback and guidance on how best to develop their ideas and technologies and to build networks that will help them bring their solutions to scale for greater impact.

Read more on LAUNCH Initiative Supports Breakthrough Innovations to Advance Green Chemistry

More information on LAUNCH Nordic here


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