Designing Our Irresistible Circular Society
Join the mission to design an irresistible circular society. With 30 partners in our 30 for 2030 initiative, we’ve created ten atoms that set a direction for how to get there
This project is a part of our theme
We’re facing a global climate crisis and running out of resources. Humanity has to change its ways from a linear to a circular pattern of life, consumption, and production. We all must act. But when we act, we must not just try to fix the existing problems facing our planet – we have to envision a new society that we all long to be a part of.
Our irresistible circular society is an experimental laboratory
Here, we work to solve problems at their core. We don’t fix the fundamental issues with one big bet. We build a multitude of new local solutions across society. We work together across sectors, disciplines, backgrounds, cities, and borders, young and old, to design, test, and build solutions that enable our circular society.
We work with ten atoms in the laboratory – ten elements that should be in place for the circular society to work and thrive. Thirty leading individuals within circularity across sectors have defined the atoms with the 30 for 2030 initiative. See the partner list below.
The Ten Atoms
- New story
We need to foster new narratives about what it means for people to live and flourish in a circular society. Let’s talk to each other and create desirable images of an inclusive society where we renounce some of the privileges of today to make new and more intriguing choices. And we must consistently evoke the power of examples and share the stories of people and projects paving the way. That goes for the innovators – and the decision-makers.
- Proximity to manufacturing
If we are to redesign products to fit into our circular society, we must reestablish a closer connection to manufacturing. We earn access to crucial knowledge about products and their life cycle through a tangible and physical experience of materials, tools, and technologies. This knowledge is critical for building circular business models.
- Planetary perspective
We’d all go to space, see Earth, and experience the overview effect in a perfect world. It’s a cognitive change of consciousness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight. After observing our planet from the universe, they feel obligated to take care of that precious blue dot forever. That is an obligation we must all feel. If not in space, then in our personal connectedness to Earth.
Courage is one of the most consistent characteristics of people who spearhead the circular transition. For more businesses, policymakers, and citizens to dare to be courageous, we must create a safe environment that mitigates risk and enables mutual trust and understanding. So we can navigate in unknown territory, make tough choices, fail – and learn from our failures.
- Borderless solutions
In a laboratory where we experiment and find new answers, we hold a huge responsibility to pass on the solutions and share and scale them in new local and global arenas. That also means that we must give more and more people the capacity to solve problems in their context, providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge, regardless of where they’re located.
- Flexible legislation
We must look curiously and openly at existing legislation and regulation that might slow down the development of circular solutions. Let’s create ‘regulatory sandboxes’ to conduct experiments in controlled and supportive regulatory environments.
- Risk capital
New skills, solutions, and partnerships need fresh capital. Investors, funds, and policymakers can lead by investing in the right solutions and companies and calling for new answers in alliances across businesses and value chains. It’s a lot of weight to carry for the individual company leader to spearhead the circular transition. Risk capital can take some of the load off their shoulders.
We cannot comprehend and join a new way of life led only by our rationality. We must feel and relate to the circular society with our hearts and guts. Let’s use the power of creativity and the arts to promote a deeper understanding of circularity, evoke critical thinking, teach empathy and spur a passion for making change.
Data on materials, products, and behavior – where they come from, how they’re designed, produced, and transported, and how they’re used, reused, and recycled – are invaluable for circular innovation. We must improve our ability to collect, organize, visualize and understand data. It’s a critical enabler of transparency and collaboration.
- Collective action
It’s tough to be circular in a linear industry. Circularity demands that actors across the state, city, industry, and civil society collaborate to build new solutions and explore new ownership models. It is a systemic challenge that requires systemic solutions. We must acknowledge our interdependence – that we serve multiple stakeholders in our efforts to accelerate the circular transition.
Declarations from the 30
Kristine Barenholdt Bruun, Head of The Circular Laboratory, Roskilde Festival
"These ten atoms are powerful forces for designing a thriving circular society. At the Circular Laboratory, we commit ourselves to using the atoms as defining criteria for future projects and integrating them into our behavior and strategy. My hope is that you will do the same"
Sune Dowler Nygaard, Executive Vice President, Danish Technological Institut
"New technology alone can't create a circular society. We must create the framework so that designers, users, researchers, officials, innovators, and decision-makers together create the circular solutions we can't live without"
Anders Strange Sørensen, Sustainability Director, Enemærke & Petersen a/s
"In Enemærke & Petersen, we will contribute to the mission of an irresistible circular society by continuing to seek out new collaborations across the industry and share the knowledge we continuously build on circular construction."
What can you do?
Our goal is that as many as possible start using the atoms as defining for their work and behavior. Integrate them into your business strategy, use them as a private consumer, and initiate projects that realize them. Please share them with friends, colleagues, partners, and collaborators. We need to work towards the same goal to succeed in our irresistible circular society.
The DDC Declaration
Here at DDC, we declare to use the atoms as defining for all future projects within the green transition. Our existing projects Circular Cities and REFLOW, already work towards realizing atoms six, nine, and ten. Furthermore, we have two projects in our pipeline building on atoms one, two, five, and ten. We’re almost ready to announce them. We also declare to create awareness around the ten atoms through our communication and mobilize partners to use them. Lastly, we claim to follow the atoms as human beings.
Thank you to Industriens Fond for supporting this mission.
"We commit ourselves to actively applying the atoms in our work to accelerate the transition to a circular society. This initiative is an example of atom one: telling a new story about our future. For the next many years, we will work rigorously to apply the ten atoms in all of our circular endeavors"
Program Director of Sustainable Transition, Danish Design Center
Declarations from the 30
Annemarie Meisling, Senior Director Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Chr. Hansen
"We need to invent new business models that consider our planetary boundaries. Therefore, atom three is crucial to creating a circular society. Our products must be part of the solution and not contribute to the problem. That is a prerequisite for success in the future"
Ditte Lysgaard Vind, Managing partner The Circular Way, Lendager Group
"Design plays a vital role in doing just that: questioning the status quo and imagining a better world where climate and business are prerequisites rather than opposites. That is why I am so happy the Danish vision for a circular society is anchored at the Danish Design Center, and I am looking very much to contributing by merging vision with tangible action the circular way"
Jonas Engberg, Head of Climate, COOP
"It’s not news that we want a circular society. We have the knowledge to succeed. So why is it not happening? I think we've forgotten the poetry. We’ve forgotten presence and human interactions – the elements that make us thinking and feeling beings. We need to get humanity back in the conversation about circularity. That’s what atom eight contains"
- Anders Barsøe, Chairman of the Board, New Loop
- Anders Strange Sørensen, Sustainability Director, Enemærke & Petersen
- Annemarie Meisling, Senior Director Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Chr. Hansen
- Arendse Baggesen, Co-Founder, Small Revolution
- Brian Mikkelsen, CEO, Dansk Erhverv
- Brian Valbjørn Sørensen, Executive Director, KR Foundation
- Camilla Hermansen, Deputy CEO, Plus Pack
- Christian Bason, CEO, DDC – Dansk Design Center
- Christina Busk, Environmental Policy Director, Plastindustrien
- Ditte Lysgaard, Managing Partner, The Circular Way by Lendager Group, Lendager
- Else Skjold, Professor, Royal Danish Academy
- Frederik Larsen, Co-Founder, In futurum
- Jarl Engelbrecht Vindnæs, CEO, Stykka
- Jonas Engberg, Head of Climate, COOP
- Jonas Lindstrøm, Senior Data Privacy Engineer, Alexandra Instituttet
- Kristine Barenholdt Bruun, Head of The Circular Laboratory, Roskilde Festival
- Lars Sandahl Sørensen, CEO, Dansk Industri
- Lisa Ekstrand, Vice President of Sustainability, Vestas
- Lone Feifer, Director for Sustainable Buildings, Velux
- Lotte Lyngsted, Co-founder and Director of Circular Design, Hatch & Bloom
- Mickey Gjerris, Associate Professor in bioethics, University of Copenhagen
- Nille Skalts, Founder & Executive Director, B-Corp
- Nina Kovsted Helk, CPO, Realdania
- Pernille Berg, Science Director, BLOXHUB
- Sune Dowler Nygaard, Executive Vice President, Danish Technological Institute
- Søren Hermansen, Director, Samsø Energiakademi
- Thomas Hebsgaard, Journalist, Zetland
- Thomas Hofman Bang, CEO, Industriens Fond
- Toke Falk Sabroe, Managing Partner, Twin Transition
- Tommy Ahlers, Climate Tech Investor
Can’t get enough of design and innovation? We hear you. And we have you covered.
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