People Integrated Archives:

Sustainability & Circular Economy

On this page you will find all of our gathered articles and knowledge on the subject of sustainability and circular economy. Make sure to stay updated by checking in on this page continuously. 


Sustainability and Fashion / Beauty

We have previously mentioned that there is a future for food waste components in the skin care industry. Now we would like to move from theory to practise and present a number of brands that have joined the circular economy movement and upcycle food waste into sustainable skincare. Read more at Glam, Online 2023.

Sustainable production is slowly making its way into the fashion and design world. Many of the designers are already ahead of the game and produce luxurious items in an environmentally friendly way already now. Read more about 6 design items that are made of food waste at Designwanted, Online 2022.

An increased food consumption over the last decades has led to a large amount of non-edible by-products generation like fruit and vegetable peels, seeds and leaves. By-products can account for 3% - 60% of the total plant. Research shows that discarded natural by-products have a similar (sometimes even higher) health value than their edible processed counterparts. Coffee, tomato, olive and citrus waste are rich in acids, antioxidants, proteins, pectins, minerals, vitamins, oils and have protecting, healing, and anti-inflammatory effects. Do these by-products have a future in the skin care industry? Read more at Cosmetics&Toiletries, Online 2017.

Many consumers are expecting brands to have “green” products in their lines and are willing to pay extra for that. Furthermore, businesses go out of their way introducing sustainable initiatives such as manufacturing products made of waste or recycled materials. The research though shows that consumers are not as quick at walking the talk when it comes to circular economy products (recycled-content products or made from waste from other industries). Researchers found out that in some cases when it comes to an actual purchase, perceived risks and emotions begin to win over the environmental benefits. Experts suggest though that longer warranties, certificates, subscription or rental service may improve consumer acceptance. Read more at Popular Science, Online 2022.

A Fashion Week will never be more sustainable than the participating brands. Copenhagen Fashion Week has made it part of their 2023-strategy to define a series of minimum requirements the participating brands must meet. The brand must answer an online survey consisting of more than 80 questions concerning different parts of the brand and strategy - for example, it is not enough to have a sustainable show if your production or production environment is not. Read more at Fashion Forum, Online 2020.

Sustainability and Industry

Addressing indirect emissions that arise across the value chain (Scope 3 emissions) represent a bigger challenge than dealing with company-owned and -controlled resources and indirect emissions from energy generation. Nevertheless, regulations and investors are increasing their pressure on business to deal with the issue. Experts proved that decarbonization can be a value-creating opportunity (e.g. by capturing green premiums or building new green businesses). Article presents a strategy to lower Scope 3 emissions and seven critical success factors that can help companies create a plan that suit their circumstances. Read more at McKinsey & Company, Online 2023.

Agrivoltaic project (otherwise known as agrisolar or dual-use solar) refers to projects where the area is used for both farming and solar power generation. The development of a field has been restrained by some basic logistical issues. Simply said efficient solar power generating structures were blocking the sunlight necessary for plants to grow. A groundbreaking solution, that relies on organic materials, has been recently tested. The result was surprising. Read more at Popsci, Online 2023.

While thinking about sustainable energy solar-, wind- and hydropower most commonly come to mind. Australian researchers have finally learned how a certain enzyme, found in a common soil bacteria, absorbs trace amounts of hydrogen and water from air and converts it into electricity. This finding could launch a new era of clean energy. Read more at Popsci, Online 2023.

Energy storage is one of the sustainable energy challenges as it rapidly dissipates as heat if not used promptly. Current storage solution, lithium-ion batteries, is not optimal, as it is expensive and ecologically degrading. During the last few years, multiple research is being made in metal-air (iron-air, zinc-air, aluminum-air) batteries as a next-generation solution for grid energy storage. Read more on the limits, potential and recent breakthroughs at Popsci, Online 2022.

Net-zero transition is a hot topic and it makes sense to take a look at the “greenest” country – Sweden (Denmark being in 6th place). In Sweden 56% of the energy comes from renewable sources. Moreover within a few decades, the country has revolutionised waste management, drastically increasing its recycling rate and investing in technologies to turn its waste into energy. How do they do it? Read more at Earth.Org, Online 2022

While the electrification reduces emissions in the mobility sector over vehicles lifetime, the emissions are higher during production due to the carbon intensity of mining battery metals. Electrification also makes vehicles heavier, due to weight of the batteries. Read more on how circularity initiatives can contribute to both achieving net-zero goals and providing new opportunities for profitable growth at Bain & Company, Online 2022.

Power storage is one of the sustainable energy challenges, as the energy is often accumulated at times, when the consumption is low. New technology, known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G), might offer a solution. Idle electric vehicles (which bare extensive battery capacity) could serve as external storage when the power production is at peak. Simultaneously V2G could greatly relieve stress on the grid during the peak consumption periods, powering up owners homes. Though it is still early days for V2G technology and there are a number of challenges that have to be addressed. Read more at Wired, 2022.

Energy production methods do not longer rely on fossil fuels. Solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, even nuclear are already in use and they generate electricity. Electricity has been discovered in faraway 1700s, but it is yet again our future. We all have heard about electricity storage challenges. Experts suggest that Power-to-X could provide the sector an extra agility. Check out the article to see what that “X” could be and what role the “Power-to-x” could play in the future of the electric utility companies. Read more at Forbes, Online 2018.

Is the Nordics next Silicon Valley of sustainability? Many Nordic companies are more advanced in their decarbonization initiatives compared to their industry fellows. Global value pools could emerge if Nordics power-to-x industry leaders would start playing offense - develop knowledge and solutions to help the rest of the world decarbonize rather than focusing defensively on internal decarbonization challenges. How would this trend benefit Nordic corporate landscape and what are the 11 high-potential value pools for opportunists to explore? Read more at McKinsey & Company, Online 2022.

Flying with zero emission is neither a dream, nor an empty promise. This future is near but will require a mix of sustainable aviation fuels production technologies such as hydrotreated easters and fatty acids (HEFA), alcohol-to-jet, gasification plus Fischer-Tropsch and other novel technologies. Though Power-to-liquid (PtL) fuel could be a leading solution. McKinsey’s report makes the case for using PtL fuel to reduce aviation emissions, describes strategies for overcoming technical and operational challenges, and outlines actions that could help scale PtL fuel regionally and globally. Read more at McKinsey & Company, Online 2022.

The near future comes with 4 mayor transitions: from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, circling plastic, decarbonizing the fertilizer chain, shifting diet to alternative proteins. These trends have pitfalls, industries have to be prepared for, and new business opportunities. Balancing the needs of the current business while investing in innovation and new product lines to succeed in future is a strategic task for today’s leaders. Read more at Bain & Company, Online 2021.

Circular Economy

Waste-to-X movement is still at its juvenescence, but many companies are getting onboard. Multiple forward-thinking entrepreneurs are exploring the circular economy and reimagining waste to create new design materials. Read more at TDA, Online.
We have previously mentioned that there is a future for food waste components in the skin care industry. Now we would like to move from theory to practise and present a number of brands that have joined the circular economy movement and upcycle food waste into sustainable skincare. Read more at Glam, Online 2023.
Have you ever wondered what your fleece jacket is made of? Possibly out of a plastic juice container. Danish consumers are long used to waste sorting, but not many know what these recyclables become later. Read more at Roadrunner, Online 2018
The World Bank estimates that without intervention, the amount of human discarded waste will increase by 73% by 2050. Shifting towards a circular economy and using waste-to-X opportunities could change this gloomy scenario. Broadly adopted linear production causes millions of tons of trash. But one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure. Entrepreneurs around the world are getting creative and turning trash into new products. Read more at Weforum, 2022.

More and more industries are moving away from the ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model. Circular disruption is underway in many industries, often led by new entrants with innovative business models. Circular business model is still an uncharted territory for most companies. Though many fashion brands begin to introduce the circular initiatives like repair, reuse, recycling and upcycle. The market in pre-owned luxury goods is gaining its popularity. The article presents further 3 steps to building a circular business strategy the common obstacles on the way. Read more at Bain & Company, Online 2022.

Sustainability and Packaging

Plastic beverage containers, candy wrappers, straws, shampoo bottles and shopping bags make their way into our oceans. Governments impose bans. Consumer goods companies and retailers whose businesses depend on plastics are under fire. Is the consumer plastics era coming to an end? Read more at Bain & Company, Online 2020.

Sustainability and Human Capital Management

“People are at the core of business. They are your employees, customers, suppliers, distributors, retailers and neighbours” - their growth, prosperity and well-being is crucial to the success of your business. Therefore, companies should look into the possibilities of gaining competitive advantages through human and social capital management. Read more at The SustainAbility Institute by ERM, Online 2020.