5 sustainability trailblazers to watch

Green business has become big business, and the sustainability startup scene is thriving in the Nordics. We bring you stories of five companies that are breaking new ground with their innovative and sustainable solutions.

Interest in sustainability has skyrocketed, with more money being channelled towards sustainable investments than ever before. As evidence of climate change mounts, consumers are demanding sustainable options, and regulators are raising the bar for companies with initiatives such as the EU Action Plan and Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy.

With investors increasingly incorporating ESG values into their investment criteria, the green startup scene is flourishing, particularly in the Nordics. Here are five inspiring Nordic companies that are charting new territory with their innovative and sustainable business ideas.

Renewcell: Green fashion and industrial evolution

Textile recycling company Renewcell is on a mission to green the fashion industry with Circulose, its ground-breaking product made from the cotton of worn-out clothes. The Sweden-based company was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company in 2021, and Circulose was included in TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 best innovations of 2020. Read more about the company’s journey, its first retail launch together with H&M and Levi’s, and how Nordea helped Renewcell secure tailor-made financing to enable its move to large-scale commercialisation. Don’t miss the podcast with Renewcell CEO Patrik Lundström.

Patrik Lundström (CEO, Renewcell), Marica Bixo (Director – Export & Project Finance, Nordea) and Anna Karin Ljung (Senior Client Executive, SEK)

Patrik Lundström (CEO, Renewcell), Marica Bixo (Director – Export & Project Finance, Nordea) and Anna Karin Ljung (Senior Client Executive, SEK)

Fjong: Renting your wardrobe for sustainable style

Global carbon emissions from the clothing industry exceed that from international air traffic and shipping combined. Norwegian startup Fjong is looking to change that, offering customers an unlimited digital closet where they can rent brand-name styles at a fraction of the cost and a much smaller environmental footprint compared to buying them. The tech company, which has developed its own search engine and algorithms to ensure relevant clothing suggestions, is gearing up to go global, with Nordea’s help. Read Transforming the clothing industry from climate villain to sustainability role model.

WasteIQ: Chasing away garbage

Norwegian startup WasteIQ is tackling the world’s 2-billion-tonne waste problem. The company’s technology collects data at the place and time when rubbish is thrown away, generating valuable insights about what can be reused, repurposed and recycled.

“We are much more than a waste technology. We are a resource technology. Our goal is to decrease the amount of waste with the insights we have,” says co-founder Tore Totland.

Through its investor network, Nordea helped connect WasteIQ with venture capital firm Norselab, which decided to invest, and the startup is now preparing to scale and expand. Read Garbage tech: A race to turn waste into resources, and listen to the podcast with WasteIQ’s Totland.

Tore Totland

WasteIQ co-founder Tore Totland

Scanmetals: Striking gold with a circular economy business idea

Denmark-based recycling company Scanmetals uses a novel green technology to recover metal from incinerated garbage. The company has grown rapidly, with Nordea as its banking partner from its humble beginnings in a small factory in Vestsjælland to its current international operations that recover around 45,000 tonnes of metal from incineration waste each year. Founder Ejvind Pedersen was named Denmark’s Entrepreneur of the Year for innovation in 2018 by Ernst & Young, and in 2019 the company gained the backing of Kirk Kapital, an investor with ties to the Lego family. Read From bankruptcy to global market leader.

Mysoda: Bubbles for the post-plastic generation

Mysoda is taking an already green concept of at-home carbonation and making it even more sustainable. That includes producing locally, using wind power and, most recently, in collaboration with Finnish forestry company UPM, launching a new line of wood-based sparkling water makers made from forest industry residues instead of fossil-based plastic. With financing help from Nordea, the company is pursuing an ambitious growth strategy. Read On a mission to make your soda green.

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