THE BLOG
11/30/2016 08:54 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Closing The Loop Amidst the Cobblestones of Malmo

We're gathered in the historic city of Malmo, Sweden this week with six innovators and some of the world's leading experts on sustainability to harness the power of collective solutions.

"It's amazing to be here in Malmö with this years innovators," says Sofus Midtgaard the Nordic lead on LAUNCH. Midtgaard says creating real impact means "changing business as usual, scaling innovative solutions and preparing the system to adopt them."

2016-11-30-1480511605-1324197-IMG_3639.jpg
Toke Sabroe of LAUNCH helping May Al-Karooni, CEO of Globechain prepare her presentation.

To help these innovators succeed and scale, LAUNCH partners IKEA Group, Nike Inc., Novozymes, Kvadrat, as well as leading scientists, investors, and Nordic government representatives will team up with the innovators tomorrow for interactive ideation and mentorship sessions.

"It is this coming together of unusual partners from across industry and government where the power of LAUNCH lies to truly change the world," says Jeff Hamaoui Director of LAUNCH and Partner at SecondMuse. "Innovation pushes us to think about the future we want and what could be, rather than the future that is coming to us," Hamaoui adds.

The 6 LAUNCH Nordic innovators share how their ideas can disrupt the system:

  • BioCellection: a biotech solution that uses bacteria to upcycle plastic. Cofounders Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao are based in the US: BioCellection's mission is to turn plastic pollution into value and to make this technology globally accessible. We are building a platform technology that will convert mixed plastic waste that is currently going to landfills, incinerators, and oceans into new materials and chemicals that can be used in the value chain of a variety of industries, ranging from construction, textiles, to biotechnology. We are upcycling a currently uncaptured material and closing the plastic economy by bridging previously disparate industries and rethinking the question 'plastics to X?'
  • Globechain: a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items. Founder and CEO May Al-Karooni is based in the UK: Globechain is a reuse platform that connects businesses to charities and smes to give and take unwanted items within a supply chain network creating a social impact waste audit for its members. To date, it has helped divert over 1,000,000 kilos from landfill, contributed to over 800,000 in savings/revenue to charitable causes and indirectly helped increase employment and up skilling by around 37%.
  • Infinited Fibre Company: a closed loop solution for the textile industry. Founder Petri Alava is based in Finland: We have sustainable chemical technology to produce new natural and affordable textile fibers equal to cotton from textile and cardboard waste normally ending up to landfills. The fashion industry is excited about this unique technology and many major brands are committed to working with us and helping scale us to markets. The potential impact, if we get this to large markets and people all over the world, could be annually savings of 6.5 billion litres of oil and 65 billion litres of fresh water.
  • Kabadiwalla Connect: a system to help cities manage recyclable waste, by leveraging the informal waste ecosystem. Founder Siddhartha Hande is based in India: Urban India's waste management system is in crisis. Every year our cities generate over 68 million tons of waste and currently over 90% is sent to open landfills. Eventually, our company hopes to help divert 70% of this waste by engaging the informal sector -- helping avoid the emissions of 30 million tons of CO2 and resulting in the savings of at least 3.5 billion USD in expenditures for local municipalities every year.
  • Shrilk: a biodegradable alternative to plastic that is inspired by the insect cuticle. Founder Javier Fernandez is based in Singapore: We believe the age of plastic is coming to its end and a new era based on the integration of biology in manufacturing is coming. Similar to how plastic transformed society and the way we consume and produce, biomaterials will do the same in bringing new methods of production addressing the current societal and sustainability needs.
  • Queen of Raw: an online sustainable materials marketplace for suppliers and designers. CEO and Co-Founder Stephanie Benedetto is based in the US: Brands across industries struggle to find sustainable raw materials and factories around the world struggle to sell their excess stock that sits in a warehouse or eventually ends up in a landfill. Queen of Raw provides the bridge and by 2025 can save over 4 billion gallons of water and 2 million pounds of chemicals while keeping over 2 million tons of textiles out of landfills.
  • 2016-11-30-1480511803-3347995-IMG_3651.jpg
    BioCellection cofounders Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao honing their pitch ahead of the Nordic Forum December 1.

    "We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet and that includes playing an active role in the transition to a circular economy. We are looking forward to meeting this year innovators with disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can help us on this journey. I'm looking forward to help and interact with this years six selected innovators."

    Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

    You'll be able to meet all six innovators online today via Twitter at 10:30am EST. Using the hashtag #LAUNCHNordic, the innovators will share insights on their work and innovative ways to give products and materials a second life!

    Also joining them on Twitter will be NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman, a chemist and former United States Air Force officer, Coleman has been on three space missions and spent 180 days in space. She's eager to learn more about the innovations and says "a sustainable earth" will help inform our future journey to Mars. "While living up on our International Space Station for 6 months, I had a special vantage point," Coleman says. "We are all on a journey and whether we have our feet right here on earth, or we are traveling thru space, we have some problem solving to do. We need to be able to recycle our water, take care of our air, and grow food in places that it is not easy to do that. You can see that space exploration and sustainable earth have a lot in common," she adds.

    2016-11-30-1480511439-2568271-CadyColeman.jpg
    NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman

    It is especially poignant to have Coleman join on Twitter today on the eve of her retirement from NASA! After 33 years, Cady Coleman is beginning her next journey so be sure to join us on #LAUNCHNordic as we congratulate her on a remarkable career.

    "Being partners in LAUNCH Nordic has been highly inspirational for us. We are looking forward to helping this year's innovators, but we learn a lot from them as well. We look forward to share knowledge and hopefully find meaningful and relevant technologies and innovation suitable for co-investment."

    Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

    2016-11-30-1480512149-8339825-ScreenShot20161130at2.19.59PM.png
    LAUNCH's Sofus Midtgaard and Jeff Hamaoui at High Court in Malmo, Sweden.

    Following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale. The LAUNCH Nordic Council participants include: Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group; Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat; Morten Elkjær, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mikkel Stenbæk, Deputy Head of Division, Danish EPA; Carin Daal, Head of Department, Region Skåne; and Mike van der Zanden, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain Innovation Europe, Nike. They will provide access to capital, credibility and capacity to help the six innovators take their innovations to scale.

    2016-11-30-1480512474-4228966-IMG_3595.jpg
    Malmo, Sweden where old red brick factories and historic canals take you back to the city's origins in the 16th century.

    2016-11-30-1480513768-6864334-ScreenShot20161130at2.48.35PM.png
    The multimedia team of Bjarke Myrthu, Davar Ardalan, and Longfei Wang preparing for a live digital event at High Court in Malmo, Sweden.