The brand-new circular economy accelerator LOOP Ventures brings global companies together to build a more sustainable business
Unilever Finland, Valio and Kesko are among the companies that have joined the circular economy accelerator LOOP Ventures to develop more sustainable food production and better alternatives to plastics. Corporations and growth companies can still join the movement to take their businesses to the next level.
What will be the secret of success for future businesses? Climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources will force us to change the way we do business. The LOOP Ventures accelerator is based on the belief that those who are first to embrace the circular economy will be tomorrow’s winners.
“Corporations already understand the potential of the circular economy in Finland and globally. However, there has been a lack of agile practices and a tool with which to develop their business in the circular economy. LOOP Ventures offers a solution to this,” says Daniel Kaufmann, circular economy specialist at Sitra.
A joint venture involving Sitra, Avanto Ventures and Nordic Innovation aims to challenge and encourage businesses to adopt the circular economy and to create international demand for smarter business models. LOOP brings large corporations and growth companies together to develop their business operations by, for example, shortening the life cycle of their products, selling their products as services and minimising the volume of waste they produce.
The goal of LOOP is nothing short of ambitious: it aims to become the leading international development accelerator in the circular economy. The first steps are being taken in the Nordic countries and the objective is to help place Nordic companies at the forefront of international circular economy markets.
This objective supports Sitra’s vision of Finland as one of the first economies to adopt the circular economy. In the mission, the roles of Finnish companies and collaborations are decisive, which is why Sitra is one of the founding partners of LOOP.
Avanto Ventures is responsible for accelerating the business operations of the companies participating in LOOP and for developing circular economy solutions for the market. Nordic Innovation takes the accelerator to the international markets and builds Nordic co-operation networks.
Ecological snacks and packaging as a service
LOOP is tackling a wide range of global issues through circular economy solutions. It is first focusing on plastics and solutions related to food production. Currently, the collaboration partners include Unilever Finland, Kesko, Valio, Orthex and Paperinkeräys.
“As a large corporation, Unilever carries a greater responsibility,” says the firm’s communication manager Riitta Jantunen. “Our products generate a lot of plastic waste, and we are constantly seeking ways to reduce the amount of packaging material we use. We have partnered with LOOP Ventures to create a new service model in which we deliver daily consumables straight to the customer’s doorstep and collect used plastic materials for recycling and reuse.”
Kesko, Paperinkeräys and Orthex are also participating in the development of the service model for packaging management. Valio collaborates with LOOP Ventures to develop innovative snack products from different raw ingredients and fibre-based materials to replace plastics in packaging.
With LOOP, the participating companies receive all the tools, partners and know-how that are needed to develop new business. The project also involves growth companies selected on the basis of the development needs of the large corporate participants, whose circular economy solutions will be developed further. The LOOP database contains more than 1,000 growth businesses involved in the circular economy around the world.
“Circular economy business is smart as companies’ circular economy solutions are often both financially and environmentally sensible,” says Avanto Ventures’ CEO Piia Maaranen. “Globally, the circular economy is estimated to create business opportunities worth up to 4,500 trillion US dollars.”
According to Sitra’s Daniel Kaufmann, the circular economy will also enable companies to adopt more efficient practices and expand their customer base: “It is the boldest companies now who will seek to join the circular economy and grow their revenues through pioneering solutions that are in high demand internationally.”