Skip to content
Project

The Mission:
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
Green transition

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Courage
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Poetry
    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.
  9. Data
    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.
  10. 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.

Download The Atoms

Quotes

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"

Julie Hjort

Program Director of Sustainable Transition, Danish Design Center

Quotes

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"

The 30

Julie Hjort

Program Director

Mail jhj@ddc.dk
Phone +45 2575 8933
Social LinkedIn

Do you have any questions about our circular mission?

Can’t get enough of design and innovation? We hear you. And we have you covered.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest from our world delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the ddc newsletter

Copenhagen

Bryghuspladsen 8
BLOX, 2. floor
1473 Copenhagen
CVR 3699 4126

Kolding

Sdr. Havnegade 7
Pakhuset
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

Unless otherwise stated, all content on this website is presented under the Creative Commons Attribution License.