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This dress is made from 89 plastic bottles The world’s oceans are full of plastic, but new technology can transform plastic into fabric. In the fashion industry, ocean waste is the new black.
TEC H N O L O G Y
S TA R T- U P S
R ESE A R C H
Linda Liukas gets women around the world to code
Exotic fish in an old barn
Scientists are trying to crack the code to ageing
FA S C I N AT I O N
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The future is healthy In this new issue of Share we once again bear witness to the enormous ambition and unshakeable drive of creative minds who are challenging standards and assumptions. Their ideas inspire us to leave our comfort zones and to try to live differently. But can we really pack all the incredible experiences at our disposal into one human life? It would be easier if we simply refused to age. We already have the technology to treat the diseases that end most human lives. But what will an ageing society look like? It’s excit-
P h o t o: S ø r e n R ø n h o l t
Flemming Lauridsen CEO, Nordea Bank S.A.
Nordea Private Banking · Nordea Bank S.A., 562 rue de Neudorf, L-2220 Luxembourg, P.O. Box 562 Luxembourg nordeaprivatebanking.com · email@example.com · Tel +352 43 88 77 77
EDITORIAL TE AM
P h o t o: E r i k J o h a n s s o n
A D A P TAT I O N
Datagraf Communications · Karen Gahrn (Ed), Kasper Steenbach and Peter Stanners (Insights editor)
DESIGN & PRINT
Datagraf Communications · Photo collage on front page: Stinna Skrivergaard
Tryksag 5041 0004
Ulla Madsen (EIC), Thomas Engelsmann (Ed), Nicolas Flandrin-Jones, Tiina Rautiainen, Ann-Sofie Hammarin and Mari Yli-Sirniö
Nordea Private Banking strives to ensure that the information presented in this publication is true and correct, but assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. Moreover, Nordea Private Banking cannot be held liable for any decisions or financial actions made based on the information presented in this publication. Reprinting, reproduction or further distribution is only permitted with the prior permission of Nordea Private Banking.
I D E A S
ing to think about the opportunities and developments available to an older and healthier future society. At the same time, many major social and technological breakthroughs come with a cost, both to the environment and to communities around the world. One example is the water pollution generated by the pharmaceutical industry, which has the potential to have a grave impact on our health and life prospects. Managing our impact on the planet and fixing our mistakes are not only necessities but also business opportunities. For example, what if the fashion industry embraced the idea of making new clothes out of recycled plastics? Combining our dreams of technological innovation with a sustainable and fair approach to development is critical if we are to realize our long-term goals and allow future generations to keep on dreaming. The good news is that we seem to be on the right track, driven by our appetite to solve problems, create opportunities and build a better world together. Enjoy your read!
Iâ€™m dying from a disease. And so are you. The disease is biological ageing. L i z Pa r r i s h , C EO, B i o V i va
NORDE A PRIVATE BANKING
Finnish entrepreneur Linda Liukas has got women all over the world interested in computers. She has achieved this through a children’s book.
14 Nobody wanted to buy the smart solarpowered lamp, Little Sun. But then Danish engineer Frederik Ottesen had an idea.
Find a bike via GPS, and leave it wherever you want when you’re done. Bike sharing is becoming a hit in the land of bikes, China.
26 The secret to why our bodies age could rest deep within our cells. We investigate the notion of postponing old age.
46 From telemedicine and 3D printing, to AI and big data, technology is rapidly redefining the future of medicine and healthcare – creating a new generation of entrepeneurial winners and losers
03 Welcome to Share
What I’ve learned from money Daniel Humm, chef
40 Next generation How Nordea advises the next generation
06 One world. 1,000 ideas Use your face as your password, and live in a house made from cardboard
Linda Liukas She’s teaching the world to program
24 Johan Ljungquist and Mikael Olenmark Growing sustainable fish in a barn
My eureka moment Frederik Ottesen, engineer
58 Jimmy Maymann Bringing the UN to the people
23 A Nordic region without borders The ultimate Nordic menu
42 Behind the pharmaceutical industry Nordea is working on transparency for investors
Investments throughout the ages Van Gogh
60 Back page Cheat sheet, magazine highlights
48 The sustainable portfolio You can invest sustainably and still make a profit
China in Lapland The number of Chinese tourists has skyrocketed in the High North
26 Why age? All over the world, scientists are trying to make your golden years better 52
The plastic dress Fashion companies are manufacturing clothing made from ocean waste and surplus food
P h o t o: 3 D L i f e P r i n t s U K
From Colombia to China MØLLER
Bike sharing without stations
Some of the bikes are equipped with solar panels in the bike basket, which recharge the GPS so the bike can always be found.
P h o t o: M o b i ke
The best idea
In China, bike sharing is becoming as common a form of transport as the metro. But these bike-sharing schemes are special because they do not have specified dropoff points – many of the original schemes still use bike stations. Chinese firm Mobike is one of the biggest players in the market. You can find a Mobike using their app. And when you are done with the bicycle, you simply leave it wherever you want, and other users will be able to find it using GPS.
By 3D printing a heart, for example, it is possible to shorten the time spent in the operating theatre and minimise the risk of something going wrong.
Print a patient UK
Surgeons can now practise complicated surgical procedures on true-to-life copies of a patient’s body part or organ. After a patient is scanned, 3D technology is used to print an exact model of the organ in question, for example their heart. The model is then used to plan the operation. Liverpool-based 3D LifePrints is one of the companies that has made huge gains using this technology.
This magazine presents a wide range of ideas from all over the world, and we have asked the Swedish entrepreneurs Mikael Olenmark, engineer, and Johan Ljungquist, marine biologist, to tell us what they consider to be the very best ideas within four categories. Read their assessments on the following pages – and go to page 24 for more on Olenmark and Ljungquist and their own brilliant idea.
P h o t o: Yv o n n e W i t t e
Earpiece translator USA
Wearing American Waverly Labs’ earpiece, you can talk with strangers even though you don’t speak the same language. One earpiece registers what someone is saying, then an app on a smartphone translates what is being said and sends it to the other earpiece. Everything happens simultaneously while you are conversing.
A house made from cardboard Netherlands
From tyres to oil Australia
I l l u s t r a t i o n: S u n e E h l e r s
P h o t o: Wa v e r l y L a b s
Why build a big house with cement when you can build it with cardboard? Amsterdam-based Wikkelhouse manufactures house modules from 24-layer recyclable corrugated cardboard and eco-friendly glue. A cardboard house comprising three modules costs EUR 35,000. The houses can be erected in a day and – according to the company – have a lifetime of at least 50 years.
The earpiece supports English, Spanish, French and Italian – Chinese and Russian are coming soon.
The houses can comprise as many modules as you like. When it reaches the end of its useful life, the materials can be recycled.
A typical 10-kilo car tyre can produce four litres of oil, four kilos of carbon and two kilos of steel.
PRINT A PATIENT “With rising life expectancies and increasingly advanced surgical techniques, this can be a way to reduce risk and improve the prognoses for recovery. The need is growing as living standards improve, and more people are willing to pay for better health.”
Like plastic waste, old tyres have a tendency to accumulate in huge piles to the detriment of the environment. Now, an Australian company has figured out a way to put these tyres to good use. Green Distillation Technologies specialises in recycling used tyres from cars and lorries. The tyres are transported to a plant where a special chemical reaction breaks them down into carbon, steel and oil.
I l l u s t r a t i o n: S u n e E h l e r s
Free toilets Lifting with an extra skeleton 08
P h o t o: J a n S t u r m a n n
When the superhero Iron Man dons his armoured suit, he becomes invulnerable. And this is not far off from what is possible in real life. An exoskeleton can help you to lift heavy objects or to work in difficult positions. Several companies are developing exoskeletons, but US tech company SuitX stands out with their lightweight version that works entirely without electricity. By redistributing the weight, your muscles are relieved of the strain of lifting, bending and squatting.
The extra skeleton helps reduce the muscle force needed to lift heavy objects by up to 60 per cent and can help prevent injuries in the workplace.
Many people in India do not have access to proper toilets. This results in pollution and the spread of bacteria, which find their way into the scarce supply of drinking water. To alleviate this issue, the Indian organisation Sanitation and Health Rights (SHRI) has developed a toilet that pays for itself. The organisation sets up toilets that collect the methane gas that is produced when they are in use. The methane then powers a system that filters dirty groundwater, which is sold in a machine not far from the toilets. The revenue goes towards keeping the toilets clean.
FREE TOILETS AND A FOLDING DESK “Both of these ideas give people in developing countries a better chance to improve their standard of living and simplify their lives – and the methods have the potential to reach a very large number of people.”
P h o t o: J i - H y e L e e
One study shows that the virtual reality experience can reduce a patient’s pain by 24 per cent. share
P h o t o: a p p l i e d V R
Fold a desk South Korea
Water-driven waste eater USA
P h o t o: Wa t e r f r o n t Pa r t n e r s h i p o f B a l t i m o r e
Virtual reality glasses instead of medicine USA
“We often say that we’re building a virtual reality pharmacy that gives patients access to a variety of pain-relieving experiences.” Josh Sackman, president, appliedVR.
As we wait for virtual reality’s big breakthrough, the technology has found its way into hospitals. Several American companies, including appliedVR, offer virtual reality experiences that aim to distract the patient in stressful situations. For a little while, they can escape the clinical hospital rooms and swim with dolphins or fly through the Icelandic wilderness. The experience can also help alleviate anxiety and pain, and can be used before and after surgery.
Manually cleaning up plastic bottles and other rubbish floating in the harbour waters and canals can be expensive. But not for Mr. Trash Wheel, which collects waste only using water currents and solar energy. The water-driven rubbish collector has been developed by Baltimore-based Clearwater Mills LLC.
Many schoolchildren in developing countries do not have desks and often have to sit on the dirty ground with a writing pad in their lap. This inspired South Korean designer HaYoung Lee to design a foldable desk made from cardboard. It is cheap to manufacture, simple to assemble and easy to transport. When the cardboard is unfolded, it is durable enough to serve as a desk. And when the child is done with their homework, it can be folded back up and carried under their arm.
The water currents lead the rubbish to a water-driven mill wheel which makes a roller conveyor move and transports the rubbish up to a large container.
A WATER-DRIVEN WASTE EATER “Within a couple of decades, the prognosis for the amount of plastic looks very dire, and soon there will be as much plastic as fish in our oceans. An ‘autonomous’ technique can make a huge difference in the volume of rubbish, and it’s a beautifully creative way to improve the environment.”
I l l u s t r a t i o n: S u n e E h l e r s
Several Chinese mobile payment services already use facial recognition to complete payment transactions.
Exchange your plastic bottle for food Colombia
P h o t o: I D E Te c h n o l o g i e s
The transformation from saltwater to drinking water takes place in giant desalination plants.
From saltwater to drinking water Israel
P h o t o: A .G C o r p S. A . S .
There is a global shortage of clean drinking water, so why not use the 97 percent of the world’s water that is saltwater? Israeli company Ide has invented an energyefficient and environmentally friendly way to desalinate water and turn it into drinking water. The transformation takes places with the help of special chemical-free membranes that separate the water molecules from the dissolved salt ions. More than half of Israel’s drinking water is provided through desalination.
Colombian company A.G Corp S.A.S has come up with a smart incentive to get people to hand in their plastic bottles. For each plastic bottle you feed into the Ecobot, you receive a little voucher giving you a discount on everything from women’s underwear to restaurant visits. The discount vouchers are provided by various partners who benefit from the advertising. Right now, there are 11 Ecobots located at different universities and shopping centres throughout Colombia.
Pay with your face China
“With Ecobot, we give our partners a unique opportunity to help improve the environment, while at the same time providing them with advertising.” Lina Aramburo González, CEO, A.G Corp S.A.S.
“Yes, that will be €25. Would you like to pay with your face?” This might sound like a line from a science fiction film, but it is already a reality. Beijing-based Face++ has developed software that uses facial recognition to let you pay your bill. By registering more than 100 points on your face, the software can recognise the features that make your face unique compared to others.
Ecobot has already collected more than 100,000 plastic bottles.
FROM SALTWATER TO DRINKING WATER “Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental requirement for increased welfare and continued growth. With global population growth, especially in developing countries, there is a need for new methods and opportunities to meet the ever-increasing need for water.”
What I’ve learned from money
Interview: Birgitte Borup / Photo: Marco Grob
“Money can be a poison, because it’s a distraction.” My parents had me when they were 18 years old. When I was little, I never felt I lacked for anything. But when I look back on my childhood today, I see that it was very humble. I, myself, became a father to my first daughter when I was 17. There is something beautiful about having children so young. You enjoy the beauty of parenthood and aren’t as concerned about the material things. At the time, I was a professional racing cyclist, and I worked in a kitchen in the evenings to make extra money. It was a time with a lot of work, but as I remember it, very few worries. My girlfriend and I just did what had to be done.
I’ve always wanted to turn it into something big, and I’ve also been aware of the fact that things can only grow if they are financially profitable. Money has been an engine that has helped me achieve new goals. All young chefs dream about having their own restaurant, but many of them make the mistake of sitting around and waiting for someone to want to invest in them. But that is usually nothing but a pipe dream. Most of those kinds of restaurants close again as soon as the investors begin losing money and find something more interesting to invest in. Instead, I focused on cooking and attracting patrons. The magic of cooking is not serving truffles or foie gras. The magic arises when you create an extraordinary experience out of a carrot or a pig’s neck. When people come in to Eleven Madison Park and let me decide what they should eat, this is the kind of trust it takes many years to build up. It is also this trust that keeps our restaurant full. Money can be a poison, because it’s a distraction. It was a beautiful thing when Eleven Madison Park was still an underdog. At the time, we cooked using the simplest equipment, but we learned a lot. Today, we have the best of the best, but our chefs don’t have any idea how much it took to get here. The same holds true for my kids. Learning and values are lost when you have only experienced financial security. I spend much of my money on art. It enriches my life to be near a beautiful painting. It is always the artist’s life that creates the work. And the best artists are those who have the guts to live their life as though it were a work of art.
Daniel Humm is co-owner of, and head chef at, Eleven Madison Park in New York, which has been named the best restaurant in the world. He is widely recognised as one of the world’s best and most innovative chefs. Daniel Humm was born in Switzerland in 1976, and was a professional racing cyclist in his youth. Today, he lives in New York, where he is the father of three children.
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PRO GRA M M ING W IT HOUT A COM P UT E R
“Technology is much too important to be left to the technologists.” Linda Liukas, a 32-year-old children’s author and software programmer, wants to open up the hidden world of technology to women around the world. Text: Annukka Oksanen / Photo: Juha Törmälä
The goal was $10,000. It was reached in three and a half hours. The final tally was $380,000. This was in 2014 after Linda Liukas, from Finland, had uploaded her adventure story project onto the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. This was how Hello Ruby was born. Now, Ruby’s adventures span three books. The fearless and audacious girl has learned to program, has travelled inside a computer, and has built the Internet out of snow with her friends. In addition to being Linda Liukas’ heroine, Ruby is also an open source programming language developed in Japan in the 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Linda Liukas’ important message is that programming, computers and developing technology is for everyone – not just male engineers. This means it is also necessary to talk about technology in a gentler and more playful way, which is why she uses an old-fashioned user interface: a book written and illustrated on paper. Linda Liukas is convinced that it is possible to teach children a great deal about the logic and culture of programming before they even begin using a computer. Hello Ruby has grown into a global phenomenon. The books have been translated into 22 different languages; parents buy the Hello Ruby books for their children, but also for themselves. Linda Liukas also teaches courses on how to teach technology. Her playful, cheerful and rather girly style is extremely popular, and her Ted Talk
about children and technology has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.
them interesting, and so it became a kind of monoculture.”
What got you interested in programming? “As a teenager, I had a crush on Al Gore. So I decided to create a Finnish website for him. But in the 1990s, there was no Facebook or other sites, so I had to learn to program. Later, I was fascinated by so many disciplines that merge with the development of the computer. Not least philosophy and electronics.”
Last year, you won China’s most prestigious design prize for Hello Ruby. What will you spend the €130,000 on? “That money will go towards reinforcing our position in the Chinese market. Hello Ruby is particularly popular in Asia. In those types of highly competitive societies, the Nordic approach to learning through play and imagination is something completely new. In Japan, some little boys came up to me and said that Ruby is their idol. And I thought, this is feminism: Little boys who think there’s nothing strange about their hero being a little girl who can program.”
Why do you think your books have become so popular? “A lot of literature about technology is heavy and serious. Mine is a gentler way to talk about it through play, and an imaginary world is more accessible. Ruby is sort of how I wanted to be when I was little. I want to inspire children to be more courageous, curious and true digital natives – that is, people who don’t just use software that others have developed. I want to promote having a fresh relationship to technology.” You travel for 200 days a year all over the world to talk about technology. Where do you get your energy? “Someone once said that politics is far too important to leave to the politicians. That’s what I think about technology. When people started developing computers, they didn’t know how important they would become. For a long time, only a very small group found
What are you interested in right now? “Educational theory and practice. I’ve read a lot about Montessori and Reggio Emilia, who were both very interesting educators. I’m fascinated with figuring out how best to prepare children for a world where computers are everywhere.” How is Ruby doing at the moment? “She is wandering around in artificial intelligence. I’m working on book number four. Children’s books are the most important way for me to describe and comprehend the world.”
“I’m a children’s book author who likes software and sparkles.” This is how Finnish Linda Liukas introduces herself on her website.
Rails Girls promote programming in nearly 300 cities Another of Linda Liukasâ€™ projects is Rails Girls, which gives girls concrete tools for learning technology. The non-profit organisation was founded in 2010 when Linda Liukas longed to spend time with like-minded people. Soon the idea spread to Europe and later to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now, girls are programming in nearly 300 cities all over the world.
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Interview: Martin Leer Scharnberg / Photo: Little Sun
My eureka moment When we started talking about that detail, that was when we realised what we hadn’t noticed before.
As dusk settled around us, we mulled over our coffee, trying to crack the code to our project. We were sitting on the sofa in Olafur Eliasson’s office in Hellerup one winter day in 2011. We had been working for a long time on realising our shared ambition of creating a solar-powered lamp that could be sold in Africa. But things weren’t going as they should. We had decided to design the lamp for women and children in Hawassa, a small town south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. That was our core target group. But we had just returned from one of our many trips to Africa, where we discovered that there was very little interest in our lamp.
Frederik Ottesen is a trained toolmaker and mechanical engineer, and cofounder of Little Sun with artist Olafur Eliasson. Previously, he founded, ran and sold the software company Matriks and worked on the Solar Flight project, helping to design the world’s first solarpowered passenger plane.
A beautiful, minimalist Nordic design was our original plan. The first prototypes we tested in Ethiopia looked something like an iPhone 4. A square, black box with an aluminium edge. But when the local merchants received our prototypes and put them on the display, absolutely nothing happened. We had travelled back and forth several times and made adjustments, but the breakthrough never came. And there we were swiping through the photos from our latest trip on my iPad. We paused at one photo of me talking with four local women. And that was when we noticed their clothes. All four were dressed in decorative, beautiful and colourful clothes with brocade and flower motifs. And when we started talking about that detail, that was when we realised what we hadn’t noticed before. That was the path we should follow. Our prototype design looked like it was created for people who dressed in blue jeans and black T-shirts, but that was definitely not the target group we were after. That was when we realised what it meant. Our solar-powered lamp should express warmth and happiness, not cool minimalism. Olafur created the new design, and I installed the electronics. Suddenly, the new prototype test went extremely well, and we were finally on the right track.
More than half a million Little Sun solar lamps have been sold since its launch in 2012. Five hours of charging in the sun produces 50 hours of light at the softest setting and four hours of light at the strongest setting.
THREE PATHS TO THE GOOD IDEA Emotions and desire
It should be important
You need to feel strongly about it and make a personal investment. This is important because, no matter what you’re trying to succeed at, it will take up a lot of your time. Desire is crucial. It’s better that you feel as if you’re wasting your time when you aren’t working, rather than the opposite.
You need to be honest about your competences. No matter what your idea is, you can rarely do everything yourself. And if the qualities you don’t possess are what you need to get your idea to take off, then you need to be ready to join forces with other talented people.
It can be very important to a few people, or somewhat important to a great many people, as long as it is important to someone else besides yourself. If you are trying to create value for a company with your idea, it should create value for others and make their lives better, easier, healthier or more fun.
Longing for loneliness
Text and photo: Tor Birk Trads
but natural. In the city, you feel pressured and rushed and are constantly thinking about all the things you must do, but here, you can enjoy the peace and quiet,” says one Chinese tourist, before she rushes on – these tourists have a great deal of peace and quiet to experience in a short period of time. Share has journeyed to the Finnish town of Rovaniemi, near the Arctic Circle, to find out what the Chinese tourists are looking for when they visit us in the High North.
Jun Chao and his girlfriend, Xiao Yue, from China’s Sichuan province are on an early honeymoon in Lapland. More and more Chinese tourists are travelling to Lapland, camera in hand, dressed in down and eager to see Father Christmas and the northern lights. But it is the purity of the natural environment and the Arctic loneliness that takes the Asian visitors’ breath away. “The natural surroundings make me feel that this is how the world looked originally. It’s not man-made,
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Quiet. “It’s like the pace of living is slower here. The shops are closed on Sundays and in the evening. I love it. The fast life is not for humans,” says Shing Ching, 25. “The culture and the environment in Hong Kong are very different. It is a commercial society, and all anyone cares about is making money. It is difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle, and people are subjected to enormous pressure from work, with long hours and bad conditions. I would love to live in a village like this one.”
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An explosion of tourists from China. In 2013, there were around 15,000 overnight stays in the Finnish Lapland region by tourists from China. By September last year, that figure had already reached 58,000. After Helsinki, Rovaniemi in Lapland is the city in Finland that receives the most international tourists.
Following in the footsteps of celebrities. President of China Xi Jinping visited Father Christmasâ€™ village in 2010. ÂLater, several Asian TV shows were recorded under the northern lights of Lapland. This has resulted in an influx of tourists from China.
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Growth. Even though the onechild policy was phased out in 2015, many Chinese families still only have one child. In 2000, four percent of China’s many city dwellers were part of the middle class. That figure grew to 68 percent in 2012. The huge growth in China has brought prosperity, but it has also created problems with pollution and smog that have many people longing for fresh air.
The light. Xosir Ching, 51, is looking for the Aurora Borealis from an aeroplane. He has travelled from Macau to see the phenomenon. “I saw photos on social media and wanted to see it for myself. It’s like magic!” The Chinese are fascinated by the natural and organic quality of the northern lights, which form a stark contrast to the controlled urban life they live at home.
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Infinity. China's extreme growth is eating into their natural landscape. This is explains why they are enchanted by the infinite sky and the white snow. As one tourist says: “Finland is an indescribable fairytale country: the trees look ancient and are covered with snow, and it’s clean and beautiful here. Like a story from a long time ago.”
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Adventure. Lan Wu and her boyfriend, Peng Yu, from Sichuan are visiting Rovaniemi for two days. Today, they have journeyed with a guide to the frozen lake of Norvajärvi to try ice fishing. The couple document every action to ensure they have lasting memories from the lake. However, the fishing grows dull after nine minutes without a bite. “We are happy to be in the beautiful landscape, and the ice fishing turns our journey into a little adventure. It doesn’t have to be ‘wild’, but adventure is good for breaking with routine. Nobody likes to always be stuck in a routine.” 2018#03 21 share
Snail mail. Many old-fashioned postcards are sent from Farther Christmasâ€™ village to China, and Father Christmas receives post all year round. Most Chinese tourists have a packed programme during their stay in Lapland, so even though they are fascinated by the slow Nordic pace, few of them have time to actually experience it.
Interview: Kasper Steenbach
A Nordic region without borders What would the world be like if the four Nordic countries became one? We asked Adam Price, restaurateur, food critic, cooking guru and scriptwriter behind and Borgen,, to lay the table for a great Nordic meal. the Danish hit TV series
Sikro m Løjrom
THE GREAT NORDIC MENU Snack 1 – Norway
Fenalår – cured leg of lamb – with flatbread and butter Snack 2 – Norway
Rakfisk – Norwegian fermented fish Starter 1 – Sweden and Finland
Løjrom – Kalix caviar – on white bread on one side of the plate Sikrom – whitefish caviar – on dark bread on the other side of the plate
and many will think: How disgusting! But done well, rakfisk can be truly delicious. It develops a glassy consistency and a deep, Starter 3 – Denmark intense, salty and dark flavour. Similarly, Sild – boiled, salted and pickled herring we have always cured our meat and ferMain course – Norway mented our vegetables, and it is brilliant to Lamb and cabbage stew have techniques that provide preservation Pre-dessert – Finland and preparation all in one. Kaffeost – coffee cheese Our preservation techniques also reflect Dessert – Denmark Rødgrød – red fruit pudding – with cream that we are frugal by nature. We build up reserves and don’t throw food away, a trend that is also embraced in other ways in my menu. In the olden days, lamb and cabbage stew was made using the entire lamb. Its life was taken, and so its entire body must be utilised. Everything on the lamb was cut into chunks, as was the cabbage, Lamb and cabbage stew and then it would cook over the fire while you went off hunting or fishing. I would probably add some herbs to the stew, and I would also whisk a couple of pats of butter into the sauce that you get when you cook lamb and cabbage together. I took a shot at today’s gourmet chefs earlier, but we also owe them a huge debt of gratitude for rediscovering both Nordic cooking techniques and produce in an age Wallenbergare where we had almost forgotten who we – Swedish are and where we come from thanks to our veal patty supermarket culture. I hope this menu will help release us from the availability-consumer culture that evolved out of the prosperity of the 60s and 70s. There is plenty to learn from our Nordic culinary heritage.”
“I’ve tried to compose a menu that uses both Nordic produce and Nordic cooking techniques, landing somewhere between heavy tradition and light gourmet. I have endeavoured to add a bit of elegance to our heavy Nordic cuisine, without making it too light. To put it bluntly, Nordic cuisine in gourmet restaurants has featured countless popular new interpretations in recent years, served as ten starters with a glass of white wine. It is all very fine and feminine, and in my days as a restaurant critic, I longed for a more masculine take on Nordic cuisine. As dwellers in the North, we also cook giant pieces of meat over an open fire, and I seriously doubt that the Vikings set forth on their expeditions after eating a meal comprising frosted scallops accompanied by a bit of chickweed and sea kale on the side. We are surrounding by the sea, so, of course, I’ve included a wide variety of fish on the menu: Norwegian rakfisk, Swedish løjrom, Finnish sikrom and Danish sild. One tradition we all have in common is preserving fish. When we make Gravlax, we cure our salmon in sugar, salt and herbs, which gives it a long shelf life. The Swedes have a similar method of curing their lutfisk. And the Norwegians have their rakfisk. It is a kind of controlled decay,
Starter 2 – Sweden
Wallenbergare – veal patty – with mashed potatoes
R A S M U S
M E I S L E R
I L L U S T R A T I O N :
Kaffeost – coffee cheese
Sild – pickled herring
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S USTA INA BL E F IS H
“We just took some fish and moved them into a barn” A partnership between an engineer and a biologist has resulted in a method for producing sustainable fish that also secures the future of an agricultural sector in deep crisis Text: Tommy Heisz / Photo: Bjørn Rosenquist
“We just took some fish and moved them into a barn. We actually think it’s a very simple idea,” says Mikael Olenmark. He is a civil engineer and one half of the Swedish duo that has achieved huge success with Gårdsfisk. He and his partner, marine biologist Johan Ljungquist, took over an old farm in Skåne, southern Sweden, and established a fish farm in the barn. There, thousands of tropical fish swim around in giant blue plastic tanks. A feed dispenser hangs above each basin. When they are released, the colourful African catfish and tilapia splash around on the surface, gulping down the food. The award-winning business idea is the two Swedes’ proposal for resolving one of the biggest environmental issues in the world today. The global market for farmed fish is enormous – around half of all fish sold today are farmed – but it often takes place under ethically questionable conditions that are very damaging to the environment. Johan Ljungquist tells us how the idea took shape four years ago: “There are a lot of problems associated with fish farming. When Mikael and I started out, we drew up a list of all these problems and considered them one by one. How could we resolve them and develop a sustainable method of farming fish? That was the question we started with.” The answer was to move the fish onto land. The engineer and the biologist wanted to combine their knowledge and design a completely closed process, where everything could be controlled. In the beginning, the bank
didn’t see much potential in the business idea, so they were forced to use their savings to buy and renovate an old farm. Today, 95 per cent of the water is recirculated within the system, and the surrounding farms use the fish excrement as fertilizer. In other locations, it would cause deoxygenation, which would kill the fish, but here it is turned into a resource.
gained a foothold in the restaurant sector and supermarkets, and there is already huge international demand for our sustainable fish – greater demand than we can meet ourselves. So this is the perfect time to spread the concept to more farms. Our target is to produce 1,000 tonnes of fish by 2021. That’s around 25 times as much as now.”
How big is the potential for farming fish on land? Johan Ljungquist: “It has turned out to be much greater than we originally thought. When the agricultural media started writing about it, there turned out to be a huge interest. All over Sweden, there are farmers who are struggling, so there is a need for new ways to use the farms. Now, we’re ready to spread the concept to other farmers and hopefully save a lot of dying farms.” Mikael Olenmark: “You could say that we started out as environmental activists, but now the potential is much greater. We have made all the rookie mistakes and are now ready with a simple system that will be easy for farmers to use. We have dealt with dead fish due to power failures and all those kinds of problems that an ordinary farmer can’t afford to go through if he chooses to convert to fish farming. We have adjusted and fine-tuned the system, so we know it works. We said we wanted to build a Volvo 740. The kind you can really beat up with a hammer, but it will still start and run smoothly afterwards.” Johan Ljungquist: “The idea is for the farmers to produce fish under the same trademark. We’ve won awards and
Where is the company at right now? Johan Ljungquist: “We’re in a place where we need to take some big decisions about financing. Last year, when we signed a big agreement with Swedish supermarkets that wanted to buy a whole lot of fish, we landed an investor who pitched in €250,000 for 12 percent of the company. This year, we expect to double the revenue to €400,000-€450,000, so we are looking at a combination of several financial models. There has been interest from China, Russia, Mexico, the USA and several other countries, but we think it’s important to take things one step at a time. We’ll start with Sweden and gradually build from there.”
Once home to pigs, sheep and cows, the old farm has now been converted by marine biologist Johan Ljungquist (left) and engineer Mikael Olenmark into a giant system of tubes, pumps, purification systems, flowing water and fish tanks.
Gårdsfisk – farmyard fish Johan Ljungquist and Mikael Olenmark started their company, Gårdsfisk, in 2013 with the vision of producing the world’s most sustainable farmed fish. In 2016, Gårdsfisk won Coop’s sustainability award, the Änglamarks pris.
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Liz Parrish has postp oned old age In the future, it may be possible to delay death and live for much longer than we do today – that is if you believe the most optimistic scientists in Silicon Valley. Stopping the ageing process could prevent a number of diseases and improve old age.
Photo: Antonio Olmos
You wouldn’t know it from looking at her. With her blonde hair, high cheekbones and slender figure, Liz Parrish looks like a healthy Californian cover girl. But the 44-year-old CEO of BioViva is ageing. Her muscle mass is shrinking and her cells are growing older. It's the same for everyone her age. As CEO of a company that conducts research into ageing, she has options, however. A year and a half ago, Liz Parrish chose to become a test subject for the gene therapy her company is researching. “I did it because I’m dying from a disease. And so are you,” she said at the L’Échappée Volée innovation conference in Paris in autumn 2017, then continued: “The disease is the process of biological ageing. It underlies all of the diseases that we die of today. Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, COPD and kidney failure are all symptoms of the biological ageing of the cells. As
our cells get older, they become damaged, and this creates the diseases we eventually die from.” Liz Parrish underwent two types of gene therapy, one to increase her muscle mass and one that attempts to lengthen the so-called telomeres, which grow shorter every time a cell divides – scientists believe this process leads to ageing in cells and humans. The therapies were carried out in Colombia, as they are illegal in the USA, where ageing is not considered to be a disease requiring treatment. In this way, the CEO from Seattle is leading the way in the developments in ageing research we have seen in recent years. New research centres are popping up, especially in Silicon Valley, where this field of study hasn’t previously attracted much interest. But the technological progress is catching the interest not just of biologists and doctors, but also of IT millionaires in the
Ageing is the biggest risk factor for all serious prevalent diseases.
California tech industry, and this has led to the kind of controversial and sensational research that is otherwise the stuff of science fiction. The most contentious method at the moment is parabiosis, the process of transferring blood from a younger person to an older person. Back in 2014, Amy Wagers, a researcher at Harvard University, successfully demonstrated that factors in young blood, especially a protein called GDF11, enable mice to live longer. Her colleague Tony Wyss-Coray, from Stanford University, has since documented that ‘young blood’ can strengthen connections in the brain in older mice. The method is still highly disputed, as other studies have demonstrated the opposite.
M o r ten S c h ei bye- Knu dsen , exp e r t i n a g e i n g
much more effective to find a cure for ageing and thus avoid these diseases altogether. At the Buck Institute in California, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen’s colleagues in ageing-research demonstrated back in 2013 that it is possible to significantly extend the lifespan of worms. The worms have an average lifespan of 20 days, and experiments showed that altering one specific gene could lengthen their lives by six days, while altering another gene could lengthen their lives by 20 days. The scientists therefore wanted to see how long they would live if both genes were altered simultaneously. They expected something like 45 days, but they ultimately lived for an impressive 100 days. Converted into human years, they lived to be 400 years old. Of course, the human body is quite different from that of a worm, but what makes this study interesting is that they discovered increasing activity in one particular protein. The DAF-16 protein, or FOXO as it is called in humans, is one of the proteins identified in humans who live to be over 100 years old. Until these different, and sometimes controversial, therapies are actually tested on humans, however, there is no way to say whether this research will be able to help people live longer.
Worms live longer
Morten Scheibye-Knudsen heads up an international team at the University of Copenhagen that conducts research into ageing. Their mission is to make discoveries that can lead to older people having “healthier, happier and more productive lives”. The Scheibye-Knudsen Group has no time to lose: According to the WHO, by 2020, there will be more people in the world over the age of 65 than under the age of 5. Ageing is one of the world’s great challenges. “Ageing is the greatest risk factor for all serious prevalent diseases. The risk of developing cancer at the age of 70 is 500 times higher than at the age of 30,” says Morten Scheibye-Knudsen. The risk of a smoker developing cancer is only 3.5 times greater than for a non-smoker. This means – emphasises Scheibye-Knudsen – that it is more than a hundred times riskier to grow old than to smoke. Obviously, it would be good to find a cure for the big diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes, but it would be
Think of the human body as a car
One of the most well-known, and potentially most controversial, scientists working in ageing research is Aubrey de Grey, from SENS Research Foundation in Silicon Valley. The long-bearded Englishman is the author of several books on the topic and likes to compare the human body to a car. He believes that by fixing ‘seven things in the body’, we could live for thousands of years. Examples include changing our DNA or replacing cells that have stopped dividing, or have become poison to the body. If we can do this, he believes that we will soon live much longer than the current limit of 115-120 years. “Finally, we have a chance within 20 or 30 years to find the answer to one of the questions humanity has been searching for since the beginning of time – and which we have never had any idea how to answer,” Aubrey de Grey said at the launch of his latest book, The Next Step: Exponential Life, which was published in 2017. In the Californian desert, there is money for research that promises eternal – or at least extended – youth. Many of the new initiatives in ageing research are backed by IT millionaires from several of the most famous tech companies. They include Sergey Brin and
500 million over the age of 80 Today, 125 million people in the world are aged 80 years or older. By 2050, there will be 120 million people in this age group in China alone. Globally, that figure will be nearly 500 million.
— Jeff Bezos from Amazon, has invested millions in anti-ageing start-ups, including in Unity Biotechnology. — Anders Sandberg a transhumanist from the University of Oxford, believes it is only a matter of time before human consciousness can be transferred to a computer.
Nir Barzilai American professor, who is studying whether a specific type of diabetes medicine can stop the ageing process itself.
Aubrey de Grey Controversial British researcher based in Silicon Valley. He compares the human body to a car, which he believes can be repaired so we one day will be able to live for thousands of years.
— Sergey Brin from Google, has helped launch Calico, a firm that conducts research into the diseases associated with old age. — Peter Thiel the founder of PayPal, is a sworn supporter of anti-ageing medicine, both as an investor and as an individual.
Morten Scheibye-Knudsen head of an international team of ageing-researchers at the University of Copenhagen. The lab bears his name. — Elon Musk legendary Tesla CEO, has also invested in a company that conducts research into brain implants.
— Larry Ellison from Oracle, has declared he will live forever and, according to The Washington Post, has donated more than $430 million to ageing research. Joon Yun investor and sponsor behind the Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which supports research into ageing.
Tony Wyss-Coray, from Stanford University, is studying whether young blood can strengthen connections in the brain in older mice. So far, it seems to work.
— Amy Wagers from Harvard University, has demonstrated that factors in young blood can extend life in mice. The big question now is whether it works in people. — Vilhelm Bohr has conducted research into ageing at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, USA for 25 years.
P h o t o s: G e t t y I m a g e s , A r t S t r e i b e r, U S C V i t e r b i, N o r b e r t v o n d e r G r o e b e n , M i c h e l l e B e r g , J o h n S o a r e s , Fu t u r e o f H u m a n i t y I n s t i t u t e
Theodore Berger from the University of Southern California, is developing a brain implant that can transfer memories from a person to a computer.
Larry Page from Google, Jeff Bezos from Amazon, Peter Thiel from PayPal and Larry Ellison from Oracle. With their technological outlook, a good portion of entrepreneurial spirit and big financial muscles, they have literally added fresh blood to ageing research. To them, the human body is no different than a computer. “I have the idea that ageing is plastic, that it’s encoded. And if something is encoded, you can crack the code,” said investor Joon Yun, in The New Yorker earlier this year. He and his wife have invested $2 million in ageing research. One of the projects that ageing-researchers all over the world are currently pursuing with great interest, is research in Metformin, a well-known drug for treating type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that 70-year-old diabetes patients who are given Metformin live longer and are healthier than other diabetes patients. But they also live longer and are healthier than people without diabetes. Professor Nir Barzilai, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, has been studying Metformin for the past few years. He is renowned for his studies of humans who live to be around 100 years old, and trying to determine how they differ from ordinary people who do not live as long. The big difference is ageing. These so-called ‘superagers’ die from the same diseases that other people do, but they develop the diseases much later in life. Nir Barzilai was one of the first ageing-researchers to successfully obtain FDA approval for clinical trials with Metformin – not to treat diabetes, but to treat ageing. The trial is still ongoing, and the drug has not yet been approved for treatment of the ageing process, but word of Metformin’s efficacy has already spread. As a result, many people who are interested in postponing ageing – not least in Hollywood and Silicon Valley – have begun taking Metformin as a preventative measure.
Percentage of the population over the age of 60 in 2050 Japan 42.5 Poland 39.3 Germany 39.3 Austria 37.1 Estonia 35.1 Switzerland 34.5 Netherlands 33.2 Chile 32.9 Belgium 32.6 Canada 32.5 Finland 32.4 France 31.8
Ireland 31.0 Iceland 30.9 UK 30.7 Denmark 29.9 Sweden 29.6 Norway 29.5 New Zealand 29.4 Luxembourg 29.0 Australia 28.3 USA 27.9
The percentage of the population over the age of 60 i n 2 0 5 0 i n s e l e c t e d c o u n t r i e s.
The 15 best countries in which to grow old 1 Switzerland 2 Norway 3 Sweden 4 Germany 5 Canada 6 Netherlands 7 Iceland 8 Japan 9 USA 10 UK 11 Denmark 12 New Zealand 13 Austria 14 Finland 15 Ireland
At the bottom of the list: 92 Pakistan 93 West Bank and Gaza 94 Mozambique 95 Malawi 96 Afghanistan The countries are assessed on a number of indicators, including income, health, ability to participate in the labour market and security.
S o u r c e: H e l p A g e I n t e r n a t i o n a l, G l o b a l A g eWa t c h 2 0 15
Why do we age differently?
Morten Scheibye-Knudsen has always been fascinated by ageing – both the biological process and the more existential aspects. Ten years ago, this brought him to the National Institute on Aging in the USA. A few years ago, he returned home to Denmark and was given his own lab at the University of Copenhagen. He currently specialises in neuro-degenerative disorders – that is, brain ageing, which is the precursor to Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Genetically, we’re all the same. All organisms are made up of the same four building blocks, but there are significant differences in how long we live. There are plants that live for thousands of years, and there are fruit flies that only live for 20 days. So there’s something in our genes that regulates our longevity, but environmental factors like smoking can accelerate ageing.” Morten Scheibye-Knudsen studies the genes of people with accelerated or early-onset ageing, for example progeria, a rare disease where children age quickly. This research can provide answers regarding the common diseases associated with ageing. “The accelerated ageing is caused by mutations in genes that cause the repair mechanisms in our genomes – the DNA – to stop working. We can study and identify molecules, and why they don’t repair DNA. You could say that the patients’ DNA is rusting and we’re searching for a rust-proofing agent.” To further its research, Scheibye-Knudsen’s lab has joined forces with Insilico, an American company that
Photos: Michelle Berg
works with artificial intelligence (AI). AI technology makes it possible to study huge volumes of data on tens of thousands of molecules, and to identify those molecules that stimulate DNA repair. “We used to have to test them one by one to identify which of the thousands of genes and substances were interesting.” Stopping ageing is not just about finding the right button to press. The human body is much too complicated for that, according to Vilhelm Bohr. He is related to two Nobel prize recipients in physics, Niels Bohr was his grandfather and Aage Bohr was his father. But he has long since established a name for himself as a scientist in his own right, having studied ageing for 25 years at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, USA, one of the world’s leading centres for ageing research. “There are so many aspects of ageing and so many ways to age. The ageing process is very individual,” says Vilhelm Bohr. Great strides have been made in ageing research in recent years, and scientists now have a better understanding of the diseases associated with growing older – especially the big diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Still, the research has not yet progressed far enough to answer why we age and point to a single gene or a special place in the complex human body where the mechanism starts. This is, perhaps, because there is no simple explanation. The human body is not a simple machine – it is the product of thousands of years of development and evolution, where chance and progress have affected the way we are put together. That is, if you believe the traditional researchers in biology and medical science, who are still unable to explain all that happens in the body. Neither do they have the same interest in increasing our longevity as they have in increasing the number of healthy years in our lives. They are not interested in figuring out what stops ageing and taking action there, for example by examining factors that increase cellular energy. “Stimulating your own cells can be a feasible way to delay the frequency of age-related diseases,” says Vilhelm Bohr.
The Center for Healthy Aging is a network of units at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, which conducts research in how people can achieve healthier ageing. Morten ScheibyeKnudsen’s team is investigating ageing at the cellular level.
By collaborating with American tech firm Insilico Medicine, which works with artificial intelligence, the researchers can analyse huge volumes of data to identify genes that repair DNA. The cells’ ability to repair themselves plays an important role in the body’s ageing process.
We could live to be 200
Scientists have actually known for a long time that reducing the intake of calories is one simple way to postpone ageing. Trials with mice show that they live longer when their calorific intake is reduced by 30 percent, and they continue to stay healthy until they die. “Many people have tried to drastically reduce their food intake, but it is almost impossible to live that way. People simply get depressed. But perhaps science can use the results of these experiments in a way that could actually work,” says Vilhelm Bohr.
The scientists are especially interested in studying neuro-degenerative disorders and brain ageing, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. Although they haven’t yet found the ‘key’ to ageing, their research suggests that damaged DNA can lead to disease, as well as accelerating the body’s ageing process.
The world’s oldest Jeanne Calment was the oldest person to ever have lived. She was born in 1875 and died in 1997 at the age of 122. Jeanne Calment lived her entire life in Arles, France, outliving both her child and her grandchild. Sarah Knauss, from Pennsylvania, USA, was the secondoldest person to ever have lived. She was born in 1880 and died in 1999. At the time of her death, she was the last person on earth born before 1885.
Eternal life is a dream that people have had throughout the ages, but even Vilhelm Bohr does not believe it is possible. There is a reason why the world’s oldest woman lived for 122 years – and why that record hasn’t been broken in the past 20 years. Vilhelm Bohr does not believe Aubrey de Grey’s theory that the human body can survive for 225 years as long as its parts are replaced every once in a while – like a car. “There is no scientific proof of this,” emphasises Vilhelm Bohr. His colleague, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, is not as dismissive of the idea that we can increase our biological age significantly, possibly even within his own lifetime. “It certainly isn’t limited by biology. And I think that one day we will be able to live for several hundreds of years,” he says. This progress will revolutionise our society and the way we live together. What is clear is that the prospect of slowing down ageing is something we will be faced with in the future, both physically and mentally. “Ageing may be the most complex process in existence – and, so far, nobody has found a complete answer to why we grow old,” says Morten Scheibye-Knudsen. “Developments in coming years will have a radical impact on society. I can’t think of any part of society that will remain untouched.” And how is Liz Parrish doing after subjecting herself to gene therapy? A year and a half later, she shows the following results: longer telomeres – which reduces Liz Parrish’s biological age by 20 years – increased muscle mass and lower blood sugar. The list is long, and even though critics warn against taking experiments conducted on individuals and transferring them to the entire global population, we will give an optimistic Liz Parrish the last word. “I predict that in 15 years we will use these technologies much like putting an app on our phone. We’ll be designing the genes that we want for our future, for our activity and our lifestyle,” she concluded in her talk at L’Échappée Volée. “So, even though I have a few extra copies of genes in my cells, I’m still just like you. I want to live, and I want to thrive.”
Morten Scheibye-Knudsen (centre) has always been fascinated by the ageing process. His international team of researchers comprises men and women from the USA, Germany, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Russia, Australia and Denmark. A total of 12 people on his team are working to solve the mysteries of ageing.
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Homes of th e f u t u r e The elderly of the future are demanding individualists. They want to be part of a social community and to live a meaningful life. We have looked at how the elderly of the future will live. Text: Kristina Olsson
New York, USA:
A tower for all ages Age shouldn’t divide people. And placing the elderly in nursing homes is tantamount to putting them in storage. This is how German-born architect Matthias Hollwich feels. He and his firm of architects, Hollwich Kushner, have spent the past few years developing a concept for a socalled ‘ageing tower’, where residents can live from cradle to grave. The spectacular building, Skyler, has room for 1,000 residents in everything from large family flats to smaller rooms for students and pensioners. It is a place where people can be around other people and get to know each other in the large common areas. Daycare, doctor’s surgeries, offices, a gym, sauna, restaurants and even a spiritual room – these are just some of the facilities designed to bring people of all ages closer together. Skyler is still in the project stage, but interest has been great and several companies have already offered to build it. P h o t o: Fa c t o r y F i f t e e n
share Photo: Alf Ove Hansen
Photo: Housing and Development Board
Back to university
Together under the rainbow In the future, we will have more choice over who we want to grow old with, and not have to accept that our age is the only thing we have in common. When the senior housing project Regnbågen opened in central Stockholm in 2013, it comprised 28 flats and was Europe’s first senior housing project for the LGBTQ community. At Regnbågen – which means the rainbow – there are social events, barbecues on the terrace, fitness in the gym and a lending library full of books. There is a long waiting list for a flat, and if the futurists are correct, senior housing projects like this one will be more common and popular in the future, enabling us to live with people with whom we share interests or, for example, who have the same ethnic background.
The local university had a shortage of student housing, and the nursing home, Judson Manor with its 120 elderly residents, wanted to breathe more energy into the everyday life at the home. The solution was to let five students from the Cleveland Institute of Music move in. Today, they live rent free and participate in daily life alongside the elderly. In exchange, they provide concerts and music therapy for the residents suffering from dementia. But most importantly, they simply hang out together and establish relationships, which has proven beneficial for young and old alike. According to research from the National Institute on Aging, social isolation, especially among the elderly, can lead to both physical and mental problems, while social interaction can reduce these problems. Now, Judson Manor is planning to take in more students from the Cleveland Institute of Art and the technical university, Case Western Reserve University.
In Singapore, one in four citizens are expected to be over the age of 65 by the year 2050, resulting in a dire need for senior housing. The brand new block of flats, Kampung Admiralty, in the Woodlands district, is an attempt to create a place where the residents have everything they need close at hand. The 11-storey high-rise features communal areas on the ground floor. There are supermarkets and a large indoor square to encourage the elderly to get out and socialise. There are doctor’s surgeries with specialists, and a food market with healthy food at reasonable prices. On the roof, there is a large communal garden where the residents can dig in the dirt and create green projects together. On the sixth floor, there is a childcare institution with room for 200 children, and it is hoped that the grandchildren of the residents will use it, giving the grandparents an easy way to help out and participate in their families’ lives.
Photo: A Retirement Home for Young and Old
A city within the city
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Yo u r p e r s o n a l i t y can live on in a robot In the future, it will be possible to insert a memory implant, make a back-up of your brain, and create a robot that is a copy of ourselves – thereby living forever. It sounds like science fiction, but is just one of the scenarios brain researchers are predicting for the coming decades.
Pressing the immortality button on Russian research team 2045’s website feels a little overwhelming. That click allows you to design your own personal avatar – a virtual person who can take over when your biological body dies. This is the premise behind 2045, which is the exact year when the company thinks it will be possible to upload your brain to a computer. But being on the cutting-edge isn’t cheap, and it is only possible to keep clicking if you happen to possess millions of dollars. There is great progress to be made when it comes to research on the functioning of our brains. For despite intense efforts, some areas of the brain remain completely unexplored. But progress is imminent, according to experts. “With technology’s help, we can simulate bigger and bigger brains. The largest we have worked with have hundreds of millions of nerve cells and billions of synapses. This is still far fewer than in a real human brain, but it is about the same size as a mouse brain,” says Anders Sandberg, transhumanist, researcher, philosopher and futurist at the University of Oxford. Sandberg has a scientific background in computational biology and wrote his PhD on simulating parts of the brain’s memory functions. He is also a transhumanist, a branch of philosophy that questions aspects of the human condition such as ageing. “Every day, 100,000 people die of old age,
Can humans be improved? Transhumanism is a branch of philosophy that questions the human condition and that believes that we can be improved with the help of technology. It can be viewed as an extension of humanism, which believes that humans can improve themselves through education, democracy, reasoned thought and tolerance.
and we see this simply as a fact of life. We should be researching and fighting ageing in the same way as we do cancer,” says Anders Sandberg. “We can improve ourselves with the help of technology. Classic humanism says that we can improve ourselves through education, democracy, reasoned thought and tolerance. Transhumanism says that we can use technology in the same way to improve ourselves and to live longer.” The art of capturing a thought
There is reason to believe that we are at a watershed moment. Across the Atlantic, at the University of Southern California, researcher Theodore Berger is building an implant that can serve as an extension of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that turns short-term memories into longterm memories. With the implant, in the
Every day, 100,000 people die of old age, and we see this simply as a fact of life. We should be researching and ﬁghting ageing in the same way as we do cancer. An ders S an db erg, t ran shu m an i st
form of a computer chip, it will be possible to download your own memories, but also to upload others or to communicate directly between two brains. Elon Musk, Tesla's legendary CEO, is also behind a company that is researching implants in the brain, and what it can mean for the development of artificial intelligence. He has previously warned that AI can be a dangerous development for humans, but he believes that if we can transfer our thoughts to a computer, we can keep pace with the developments in AI research, which are happening at breakneck speed. Having an implant inserted into your brain doesn’t just sound dangerous, there are a great many risks associated with brain surgery. But the result can be revolutionary, according to both Musk and Berger. They compare a memory implant to the cochlear implant, which is already commonplace. Today, this implant helps more than 200,000 deaf people to hear by turning sound into electrical impulses and then sending them to the cochlear nerve, creating sound. Early trials on people with paralysis, and fitted with implants, show that they can control robotic limbs using their thoughts. A brain implant in the hippocampus could help people with Alzheimer’s, those suffering from brain damage following a stroke, or individuals with short term memory loss following a head injury, for example. The implant helps transfer the electrical signals in the brain in the area where the natural connection has been broken. The technique is the first step towards an entirely new view of the brain and technology. In coming decades, researchers will reveal more and more parts of the brain’s complex signal system, and ultimately be
“I believe that all emotions are a kind of calculation. And we will be able to do these same calculations on a computer.” An ders S an db erg, t ran shu m an i st
able to create complete simulations of the brain. Then it will be possible to read the brain’s signals digitally and to recreate the signals to form thoughts and memories. Upload your brain
A technical extension of life Transhumanists believe that we can use technology, such as gene therapy, to extend our lives and fight ageing.
If it were possible to upload your brain to a computer in this way, it would be possible to install the ‘brain software’ in robots or virtual people. Just think about it – an existing, living human’s brain inside a computer. Perhaps even a computer in a mobile robot. “Many of my friends can hardly wait to upload themselves to a computer. They see it like this: I can create a backup of myself, and when computers run faster, I will also be able to run faster. I can live in luxurious virtual worlds, and I can move about in the real world in a robotic body,” Anders Sandberg says in all seriousness.
Sounds like a sci-fi film, right? “It does almost sound like a cliché from the world of science fiction, where it has been discussed just as much as by philosophers. But my colleague, Robert Hansen, has examined it from an economic and social impact point of view, and his conclusion is that once we get to the point where it is physically possible, we will see as radical a change as the Industrial Revolution – only it will take place over a period of less than ten years.” As an ordinary person, you can’t help but wonder at this progress. How will we ever be able to capture the dreams and emotions of one person and place them in a computer? The sense of a kiss, a hand on an arm, or just the joy of a bright green beechwood forest. Philosophers can debate this forever, Anders Sandberg points out, but from a neuroscience perspective, emotions are simply signals in the brain. “The nerve impulses don’t have any meaning on their own but, if you link them to the visual centre and the taste centre, then the experience is activated – for instance, as soon as you see an apple,” he explains.“Then you sense the taste and remember picking apples as a child.” All our emotions, memories and thoughts originate in these signals between the nerve cells, according to Anders Sandberg. Once we accept this, then accepting that we can capture the experience/memories and upload our brain isn’t such a big step. “Philosophers disagree, but I believe that all emotions are a kind of calculation. And we will be able to do these same calculations on a computer.”
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The way we care for sick people – and prevent people getting sick in the first place – is improving thanks to technology. Knowing how, could give an investment advantage
Environmental, social and governmental sustainability are increasingly become important to investors – an approach that Nordea is becoming a leader in
Sasja Beslikâ€™s 2015 field visit to Hyderabad in India was the start of a comprehensive investigation by Nordea's Sustainable Finance Team. Among other things, it has resulted in a detailed report on water pollution and a partnership with pharmaceutical companies and industry associations to bring about a change.
Photo: Thomas Sonne
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A booming industry â€“ but a global threat Pharmaceutical products can be lifesavers. But their production often results in the contamination of waterways and the spread of lethal, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is the case in India, where Nordeaâ€™s Sustainable Finance team discovered major water contamination during a visit several years ago. The team has since worked to ensure that pharmaceutical companies are subjected to greater transparency and more stringent requirements. share
How water contamination in India increases antibiotic resistance here at home.
Antibiotics enter the environment in conjunction with pharmaceutical production Propagation of resistant bacteria
patient advocacy groups dedicated to antibiotic resistance, as there are for diseases such as AIDS and cancer. “Every year, 25,000 people in Europe, and at least half a million people worldwide, die due to antibiotic resistance. But when did you last read about somebody dying from a resistant infection?” Resistance to antibiotics is nothing new, but the increased and erroneous use of antibiotics has dramatically worsened the situation, resulting in multiple drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria – socalled superbugs – that are spreading rapidly around the world. If no action is taken, the number of deaths caused by resistant bacteria is expected to rise to millions each year, which could jeopardise the UN’s global goals for sustainable development. A 2016 report by the World Bank warned that the negative economic impact of drug-resistant infections could be comparable to that of the recent financial crisis.
Resistant bacteria pose the most immediate threat to the local population, but they also spread as a result of trade and tourism
Pharmaceutical industry emissions contribute to increased worldwide antibiotic resistance, with global consequences
Photo: Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet
Instead of assisting, the pharmaceutical industry is resisting
Photo: Alexander Uggla/MSF
Over the course of the past century, antibiotics have had an enormous impact on public health and have become an essential tool in modern healthcare. But these medical advances are now under threat from resistant bacteria. Diseases such as pneumonia and tonsillitis can now prove fatal, while the risk of untreatable infections from routine surgery has increased dramatically. Sweden’s Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog Karolina Skog, described the problem as Sweden’s Minister “one of the most serious threats to human for the Environment health and sustainable development” when she addressed a seminar on antibiotic resistance during World Water Week. “It is an important issue that has not yet received sufficient attention,” she said at the seminar, which Nordea helped organise. According to Helle Aagaard, one of the reasons for the lack of attention is that antibiotic resistance is a faceless issue. Aagaard is a policy adviser for ReAct, an international network that works to raise global awareness of antibiotic resistance and its consequences. She Helle Aagaard argues that it’s a difficult issue for Policy advisor, ReAct people to relate to, since there are no
Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry is making the situation even worse. The leading producer of antibiotics is India, where the industry has experienced rapid growth. However, waste products from the factories are contaminating both waterways and agricultural land, contributing to increased antibiotic resistance. This is cause for concern for Nordea, which invests in pharmaceutical companies whose products are made in India. Nordea’s sustainability expert Magdalena Kettis devotes much of her time to the issue of water in the pharmaceutical industry. Nordea began to focus on this area after its Sustainable Finance team visited India in 2015 and discovered widespread water contamination linked to pharmaceutical production. Following that visit, Nordea commissioned an independent investigation to learn more about the issue. Published in 2016, the report described a very serious situation resulting from inadequate water purification systems and the dumping of chemical waste in rivers, lakes and groundwater. The factories responsible for the pollution were linked to major multinational pharmaceutical companies. Further complicating the problem is a lack of transparency – the companies are reluctant to reveal which suppliers they use, making it almost impossible to trace a pharmaceutical product from the factory to the pharmacy shelf. “The report made for very unpleasant reading. It clearly showed that these supply chains are anything but transparent, and for us as investors, this is a problem,” says Magdalena Kettis. “We invest in these companies and, from our point of view, we need to be certain that the companies themselves have a degree of control over their suppliers’ emissions. But when we examined this we concluded that this was not the case and that the information we get is insufficient.” India is not the only culprit
Nordea has since maintained an ongoing dialogue with pharmaceutical companies and with the industry organisation Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) –many of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world are members. Some progress has already been made, and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly recognizing the need to investigate their subcontractors. For example, some companies have conducted
• Consumption of antibiotics for human use increased by 36% between 2000 and 2010
• Resistant bacteria can spread between people, animals, foodstuffs and the environment
• Antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, including resistance to pharmaceuticals used to treat infections caused by microbes other than bacteria
• By 2050, antimicrobial resistance may cause 10 million deaths per year, compared to the current figure of approx. 700,000 deaths per year
The report, Impacts of Pharmaceutical Pollution on Communities and Environment in India can be found on Nordea's website where you can read more about the Sustainable Finance team sustainablefinance.nordea.com
• Worldwide, there are still more people who die due to lack of access to antibiotics than due to resistance
Nordea’s team places demands on companies
Work is also underway for the production of a benchmark – the Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark – that will measure how well companies handle antimicrobial resistance. The methodology describing how companies are to be compared was published in 2017, and it includes environmental requirements for production lines. Nordea was involved in shaping this methodology. While local populations suffer the most when their immediate environment is polluted by the pharmaceutical industry, resistant bacteria are spread around the world by international travel and trade. Studies by Lund University show that as many as 79 percent of visitors to India return home carrying resistant intestinal bacteria. It is not possible to halt antibiotic resistance in itself, but it is possible to slow its pace. So what is Nordea’s thinking with respect to investments in pharmaceutical companies? “As long as we are owners in these companies, we also have the opportunity to exercise our ownership control to influence them,” says Kettis. “In regard to this issue, we have exerted major influence. We are involved in many different types of initiatives and commitments concerning these issues – not only directly with the companies, but also at a policy level.”
Magdalena Kettis Head of Thematic Research, Nordea
India's pharmaceutical industry • In 2014/15, India exported pharmaceuticals worth USD 15 billion, of which Europe received 20% • In 2014, the USA and UK imported pharmaceuticals worth USD 37 million and antibiotics worth USD 43.8 million from India • The country’s pharmaceutical industry is highly fragmented, with more than 20,000 registered production units • The city of Hyderabad accounts for almost 1/5 of the country’s pharmaceutical exports • More than half of India’s rivers are contaminated. One cause is pollution from the country’s industrial growth, including the pharmaceutical industry
Photo: Magnus Glans
reviews of their supply chains, and the PSCI has introduced a number of training initiatives aimed at Indian suppliers. This work was followed by an additional report, which will be published on Nordea’s website upon completion. “It is our view that we can work constructively with these companies,” says Kettis. While Nordea’s work has so far focused on India, a great deal of pharmaceutical production also takes place in China, which also suffers from resulting water pollution. According to Magdalena Kettis, Nordea is planning to look more closely at the situation in China, given that there are no conclusive reports on the situation there. Some reports claim that China has better regulations and more transparency than in India, while others find that the opposite is true. In addition to placing demands on pharmaceutical companies, Nordea is also working at a policy level. The pharmaceutical industry is, of course, a carefully regulated sector where products must submit to a long approval process before they are allowed on the market. Plant inspections are carried out, but there is no obligation to publish the results. This lack of transparency is yet another problem, and an important issue for Nordea to address. “If we can get a requirement added to the process, the situation will be completely different,” says Magdalena Kettis.
• By 2050, antimicrobial resistance may reduce the world’s GDP by 2-3% (compared to projections), which would amount to a loss of as much as USD 100 trillion
Guiding the Next Generation to safe habour Who should inherit your familyâ€™s wealth? How do you include your children in a family business? Building the financial knowledge and confidence of the next generation starts with you. Family wealth conversations are essential to preparing your heirs for the responsibility of managing their inheritance. Here are some suggestions for how to get started T EKST
Tip Allow the next generation to practice managing wealth. Consider gradual empowerment, such as managing small amounts of wealth or taking on smaller tasks in the family business.
Tip Recognise their individual strengths and help them choose their area of focus. Let them do research on new technologies, for example, or allow them to care for investments that they show an interest in.
You have spent your entire life creating or maintaining wealth through hard work, patience and commitment. Over the years, you’ve acquired the crucial skills to manage and develop your wealth, and you want to pass these on to your descendants. But how do you do so in a perilous sea prone to unpredictable storms and powerful tides? Inheriting wealth overnight can change your life. Some see an inheritance as an opportunity and use it to launch a new business, career or investments. While some find the experience distressing, others may find it exhilarating, quitting their jobs and going on a spending spree until the money is squandered. Many next-generation clients do not feel comfortable taking over the family business or inheriting a large sum of money. But preparing the next generation can be a challenge, because talking about money and wealth isn’t easy. Our Next Generation advisers understand that this is an intricate process that often requires professional advice. Here we provide some approaches for those wondering how to begin a difficult but important conversation. Talk legacy
Some children may not even be aware of their family’s wealth or that they someday might become responsible for it. Others may have an idea but lack concrete awareness of its size and composition. In either case, you as parents can broach the issue by talking about how your wealth was acquired and the ups and downs you faced along the way. Focus the conversation on your core values
rather than the money, and communicate how these values supported the decisions you have made regarding your family and business. Family protection
When it comes to passing on your wealth, there are generally three types of recipients: tax authorities, charities or family and friends. Your values and priorities can contribute to the decision on how you will transfer and protect your wealth. If you choose to pass your wealth on to your family, you must consider who gets what and have a plan in place. This can help to manage conflicts that may arise if your heirs are dissatisfied with the division of assets. A benefit of planning your estate during your lifetime is that you decide who will inherit your wealth and in what proportions. It is also worth considering ways to prevent your heirs from using the assets in an irresponsible way by structuring your succession to provide for a gradual transfer of assets. Family fairness or business fairness
If you intend to pass on the family business to your heirs, it is advisable to begin the succession process during your lifetime. The primary consideration should be fairness – but you will need to decide whether your priority is being fair to the family or fair to the business. What is fair for a family business would most likely mean prioritising profitability, for example. When it comes to being fair to one’s family, however, there are other considerations. What is fair for the family might not be best for the business. Also, fairness does not mean equality. You and your children may have different ideas of what is fair to you and to them. Owning a family business can be substantially riskier than having a stable job due to illiquidity and the lack of an
Tip Remember that under new EU regulations, citizens are able to choose whether the law applicable to their succession should be that of their last habitual residence or that of their nationality. You may need to update your will if you want it to be valid under multiple inheritance laws.
Tip Sit down with your family and formulate a common mission statement in writing for the family and the family’s wealth.
is freely disposable, whereas civil law applies strict rules regarding forced heirship that dictate how much your heirs are entitled to inherit. Often there is no option to override the application of these forced heirship rules. In the Nordics, a hybrid of common and civil law is practiced that has some of the characteristics of each. As a global family living in the European Union, your succession may be simplified by the EU Succession Regulation that came into effect in 2015. If the Succession Regulation applies to you, it entitles you to designate which succession law to apply to your estate – the law of your country of nationality, or that of your country of residence. As these topics are complex, it is strongly advisable to seek legal advice. Is fi nancial literacy enough?
While taxation and inheritance rules are important factors to consider when passing on your wealth, preparing your children for managing their share of the inheritance is also crucial. Personal finance is usually not taught in higher education, unless one specifically chooses a finance-related field of studies. Building your wealth can take a lifetime, and losing it can happen in a heartbeat. It is vital for the protection and growth of the family fortune that those to whom you entrust your wealth also have the necessary decision-making skills and knowledge. Advance planning and training makes the process smoother and easier for children to step into their parents’ shoes. “It is time that we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship,” said US General Omar Bradley. So set the process in motion, even if you begin slowly, to make sure that your wealth is passed on in the manner that you desire and is protected for your future descendants.
Successful planning can ensure that your global family wealth is protected from conflicting inheritance and succession laws. For example, in recent years, it has become increasingly common for family members to live and own property in multiple countries. If this applies to you, you need to know that there are multiple types of succession and inheritance laws – and they don’t necessarily complement each other. The most prevalent legal systems are the common law and civil law systems. Common law countries allow testamentary freedom, meaning the entire estate
immediate income. Giving ownership to a child who is not active in the family business, therefore, may prove to have little perceived value. One option would be to pass on a larger portion of the business to the child or children who are active in the business. The non-active children could instead inherit compensation of the same value. Some families choose to get their business valued to ensure fair distribution. This sort of planning can prevent certain conflicts from spiralling within a family and show the children that their future – both financially and in terms of the family dynamics – is positively correlated to the future of the family business. Additionally, you must ensure that compensation for your heir’s work corresponds to their competencies and expertise.
Work with one of your key advisors to create and maintain a location list (such as where your important documents are being stored, and who has copies), including a contact list for your professional advisors (financial advisor, accountant, attorney, insurance agent). A safe deposit box could be a good place to keep these documents – give the code to a person you trust.
The disruptive potential of healthcare technology
Artificial intelligence, big data and telemedicine – these are but some of the technologies that are being applied to the healthcare sector, and which presents unique investment opportunities There is no greater force that is shaping the direction of our society than technology. In just a few decades technology has taken over many human roles, carrying them out with greater speed, accuracy and efficiency. In so doing, it’s raised standards of living around the world and propelled economic growth – and created many new jobs in the process. The health care section is especially open to disruption from technology, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that robots and computers are going to completely take over from nurses, doctors and researchers in laboratories. But in a world where governments are under increasing pressure to rein in health costs in the face of ageing populations and rising rates of chronic and lifestyle illnesses, technology can potentially enable faster and more accurate diagnoses, and provide more timely and effective treatment. As a result, it could lower the overall cost of healthcare while more quickly enabling patients to return as productive members of society. The process of optimizing new opportunities saves governments money and empowers patients. And as the technology evolves,
By Claus Normann Andersen Senior trader
you as an investor potentially could benefit too! That is if your eyes are open to the range of interesting and potentially worthwhile investment opportunities at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Lets start with artificial intelligence and big data. Intelligent machines using large data sets can speed up the time needed to discover, test and approve new drugs. Using highly sophisticated models of the human body, the machines can run millions of possible permutations to find chemicals that are likely to produce the desired result. Not only does this mean that we test fewer drugs are unlikely to work, by allowing the machine to learn from the success and failures of the testing, they only get better at identifying probable drugs. The potential is so enormous that Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk, has stated that he expects the next big pharmaceutical discovery could be made by a computer, rather than in a lab. These drugs could prevent us getting ill in the first place, further improving our quality of life while reducing the cost of preventable treating lifestyle diseases. One AI platform being applied to drug discovery, and finding new applications for existing drugs, is IBM’s Watson. It has also shown promise in providing cancer diagnosis and personalised treatment recommendations, by drawing on a patient’s medical his-
tory and conducting genetic studies of tumour samples. Companies that use big data and AI also have their eyes on the increasing popularity of wearable fitness trackers. Health data collected from these “fitness trackers” – such as activity levels and sleep patterns – helps the wearer to monitor their health and wellbeing in order to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. And as this data grows, it can be collected and analysed by AI to uncover unhealthy trends and inspire pre-emptive policies to help populations. The drawback is the potential public opposition to the collection and distribution of this data, so it would have to be demonstrated to be doing a public good, for it to be accepted by most. What could mitigate this potential scepticism, are stronger standards on the handling of sensitive personal information, which in the hands of the wrong persons, could create great damage for an individual. These new rules will be implemented in 2018, which will increase cyber security more generally, not just in the healthcare sector. These new regulations also create investment opportunities in companies that exist at forefront of this regulation. The enormous volume of data from machine learning and big data requires a similarly vast amount of storage and computing power – companies that supply storage either can expect to experience demand for their services. We also expect investment opportunities in providers of medical and wel-
Illustration: Peter Berke
Artificial intelligence will speed up the discovery and testing of new drugs. Powerful simulations can predict bodily interactions, preventing unsuitable drugs from undergoing expensive testing.
Telemedicine Internet-connected communication tools such as smartphones and laptops enable patients to consult with their physician remotely, saving travel time and speeding up consultations.
Health trackers collect a range of data about the user, from sleep patterns to activity levels. This information can be used to help the user make informed decisions about their behaviour. It can also be collected and analysed to uncover health trends across a population.
Prosthetic 3D printers are enabling medical experts to create customised prosthetics quickly and cheaply.
fare technology, which allow health providers to lower the cost of supplying high quality care. One example is telemedicine, which allows patients to contact healthcare professionals from their home. Doing so reduces unnecessary travel costs, and can increase the daily monitoring of health conditions, which may prevent the deterioration of health. This technology is already popular in developing regions with a low supply of doctors. While we will never lose the need of a doctorâ€™s expertise, technology and robotics will only improve their ability to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. For example, Swedish company Elekta has developed Unity, which uses real time magnetic resonance imaging to apply radiation therapy to tumours. It means that doctors can constantly adjust the dose and location of the treatment, depending on the growth of the tumours. 3D printing is already being used in health care to produce cheap prostheses. Doctors are also using 3D models of organs to precisely plan important, but potentially dangerous, surgery. The healthcare technology sector clearly presents a lot of interesting investment opportunities. But many of the companies that are operating in this field are small, but up and coming. As their technologies evolve and they seek increased investment, many could chose to become listed companies in order to attract sufficient liquidity for their future development. This potentially offers attractive future investment opportunities. One example that may generate interest over the coming six to twelve months, is the launch of Siemens Healthineer unit, which it announced in connection with its report late 2017. While Siemens most likely will float only part of the unit, its potential success could attract other companies to do the same. Technology will inevitably be used to meet the need for better, more affordable, and more widely available treatment for the worldâ€™s growing population. From computational tools such as AI, to communication tools for telemedicine, and robotics, Nordea is committed to identifying the areas of growth in order to generate stable and long-term investments â€“ and help create a healthier world in the process.
Pioneering sustainable portfolios
Nordea has taken a leadership position in promoting investments that take into consideration the three central factors kinds of criteria used in measuring sustainability â€“ environmental, social and governance (ESG). This approach is now being fully integrated into our investment advice to ensure a holistic approach to ESG 100
Investors used to define their challenges strictly in financial terms: How much should I save for retirement? Can I preserve the real value of my assets for the next generation? But another set of questions is increasingly starting to emerge. For example, how do phenomena such as climate change affect the economy and my investments? How can we as investors contribute positively to these transformations? And can I take advantage of societal and environmental trends to earn higher returns? Nordeaâ€™s Sustainable Finance and Sustainability
teams have worked to identify the most important themes in the field of sustainability and have proactively engaged with companies to drive change. The Asset Allocation team is now working to adapt our advisory model so that these themes are holistically integrated into our portfolios. While there is still much work to be done, we can now give you some insight into how we as investment strategists are planning to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into our future work. Our Asset Allocation Team, for example, will be looking at the long-term properties of different asset classes and encouraging companies, issuers and investors to look beyond short and medium-term earnings and toward the long-term societal and environmental impacts of their investments. A manufacturing plant dumping wastewater into rivers might avoid the short-term costs
An investment can be sustainable without sacrificing returns. This is evident in the graph above, which compares returns from the entire global stock market ( MSCI World) with returns from sustainable investments ( MSCI World ESG). The returns correlate almost exactly.
By Irene Mastelli Expert Strategist
Photo: Håkan Flank
Principles for Responsible Investment, PRI, were initiated in 2006 by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. The six principles have been signed by 1,800 financial institutions in more than 50 countries, including Nordea.
of proper disposal, but it causes environmental damage that will be more expensive for the country and local community to deal with in the long term. Lengthening the investment horizon is ideal for asset allocators, because it is only in the long term that the properties of asset classes and the relationships between them have proven to hold. Another way of integrating sustainability into investment approaches is to maintain a balanced approach, especially when it comes to so-called “malign” sectors such as tobacco and pornography. Initially, asset managers focused on eliminating these sectors entirely, but asset allocators now prefer a “best-in-class” approach, in which the best companies in each sector are chosen according to ESG considerations. While this investment style has broadened the risk management concept, it is also friendlier, since we can take advantage of the widest possible range of asset classes, sectors and markets globally, instead of restricting them. This model behaves much like best-in-class indices such as MSCI World ESG, and has similar expected return and risk characteristics as parent indices. One challenge is translating the ESG approach to different classes of assets. Most research has focused on equities, as it is easy to see how certain risks, such as global warming, may affect companies. But some argue that similar types of risks can also have an impact on issuers of bonds, such as governments and corporations. The sensitivity of bonds to environmental risk was made apparent in 2010, for example, when British Petroleum and other major oil producers experienced losses on their bonds following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Approaches that focus on ESG risks in fixed-income investments do exist, but they are less developed than in equities.
Applying ESG issues become more complicated when applied to alternative investments such as hedge funds. It is not yet clear how ESG issues – or notions of responsible investment more broadly – are relevant to these types of investments, due to their use of more complex financial instruments. While we recommend maintaining some alternative investments, we would stick to providers that have signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which mean they are subject to a higher level of scrutiny when it comes to implementation of alternative strategies. To conclude, we support the transition to more sustainable portfolios, especially when ESG considerations are integrated into risk management, rather than simply used to exclude certain sectors. Investors may have to take a gradual approach to the transformation of their portfolios, as methods for integrating ESG considerations into certain asset classes have yet to be fully developed. We are excited to expand our advisory model so that it takes sustainability and ESG into greater consideration.
An ageing world: economic and investment consequences We are so bombarded with loud headlines and caught up in short-term thinking that we often lose sight of the important structural changes taking place around us. One of these major structural shifts is that populations around the world are ageing. This will have a range of implications, from the macroeconomic to the industry-specific, that are worth considering as an investor. Let’s take a brief look. First, what do we mean when we say that populations are ageing? In many countries, the fertility rate has dropped below the population replacement rate, which results in a larger share of old people relative to young people in the population. The UN estimates that by the middle of this century, a quarter of the world’s population will be age 60 or over. In Europe, it will be one in three. Economists don’t all agree on what a ‘greying’ society will mean, but one of the key areas where we can pinpoint an impact is on interest rates. Since the early 1980s, interest rates in developed societies have been on a persistent downward trend that has coincided with rising median ages. Intuitively, there is clearly a connection. As the average age increases, a greater share of the population is of prime working age – a time when they are able to save a lot of their income. As savings increase, people have bought bonds – either independently or through their pension funds – depressing yields and helping spur the bull market in bonds that we have witnessed.
While there is uncertainty over how this dynamic will develop in the future, it is likely that it will reverse – the deflationary impact of ageing will transform into inflation, and yields will begin trending upward. Why would this be? As people in their prime working age start to retire, they will draw on their savings, for example by selling bonds, which will push up yields. In addition, while the initial impact of an ageing population is deflationary (as seen in Japan), this process eventually becomes inflationary. This is because people tend to consume more when they enter old age – for example through higher healthcare costs – while labour also becomes comparatively scarce. What, then, are some of the investment implications of these long-term dynamics? For one, since rising inflation and yields are likely, government bonds will probably come under increasing pressure. In terms of equities, a number of industries stand to benefit. The healthcare sector is an obvious structural winner, as are consumer-facing businesses that cater to the elderly, such as those involved in travel, skincare and so on. It’s safe to say that this demographic revolution is likely to have a pronounced macroeconomic impact, along with a plethora of industry-specific effects. So while investors focus on the ebb and flow of day-today headlines, they would be well advised to also take into account these structural transformations.
By Nicholas Flaherty Investment Strategist
Text: Martin Leer Scharnberg
INVESTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
“If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is grass in the beginning.”
The Dutch painter is currently considered one of the greatest artists of all time. When he was alive, however, he only sold one painting.
V i n c e nt van Gogh
V i n c ent van G o gh i n a l et ter to h i s broth er, T h e o
The brief life of an artist The significant impact van Gogh had on the world of art was accomplished in just ten years. He dedicated his life to art at the age of 27, and took his own life in 1890, only 37 years old. .
Fake van Goghs
As respect for Vincent van Gogh’s art and its value increased throughout the 1900s, forgers started copying his work. In 1931, the German art dealer Otto Wacker was sentenced to 19 months in prison for selling 30 van Gogh forgeries. Every year, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam examines 200 paintings, which hopeful owners believe are by Vincent van Gogh. Nearly all of them turn out to be old forgeries. 51
Vincent van Gogh’s patterns and motifs are as famous around the world as they are valuable. He holds a unique position in art history, together with the likes of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. But, whereas the latter two achieved great wealth and recognition for their artistic abilities while they were alive, Vincent van Gogh went through life a misunderstood man. Despite having painted around 900 pictures, only one is known with certainty to have been sold in his lifetime. Red Vineyards at Arles was purchased in 1890 by Anna Boch, a Belgian art collector, for 400 francs. Seven years later, Vincent van Gogh’s name had gained recognition in artistic circles, and Anna Boch sold the painting for 10,000 francs, which is more than twenty times what she originally paid for it. Today, the painting hangs in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, and is considered to be the most expensive painting in the world, should it ever be put up for sale.
Van Gogh’s world records From 1987 to 1990, the record for the highest price paid for a painting was broken three times – all three times by van Gogh paintings. In 1987, Irises was sold for $53 million, in 1989 the Portrait of Joseph Roulin was sold for $58 million, and in 1990 the Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold for $82 million, making it the most expensive van Gogh painting ever sold to date.
Fifteen expensive sunflowers
Vincent van Gogh’s value as an investment was made very clear in 2015 when his painting L’Allée des Alyscamps was sold in New York for $66.3 million. This meant that the value of the painting had increased by 561 per cent since 2003.
In a letter to his brother in 1888, a young Vincent van Gogh wrote: “I dare to assure you that my sunflowers are worth around 500 francs.” Nearly 100 years later, in 1987, Vincent van Gogh’s Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers became the world’s most expensive painting at the time, when it was auctioned in London for a price of $39 million.
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See my dressâ€Ś Text: Mette Nexmand / Model photo: Michelle Berg
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it is made of rubbish
Dresses made from ocean plastic, silk from bees and textiles made from sour milk. Sustainable materials are the new black in the fashion industry. But is it just a lot of talk, or is one of the world’s most polluting industries actually waking up to reality? M O RT E N
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It looks like chiffon – light and elegant. But the pleated party dress from H&M’s Conscious Exclusive 2017 collection is, in fact, made from ocean waste and other recycled plastic. 100 percent. And then there are the shoes from Nike. They look like leather. They smell like leather. And they can withstand at least as many jumps, steps and strides as any other pair of trainers. But there is something special about these white tennis shoes, which were introduced by the world’s largest sportswear brand this autumn. The American company’s latest Tennis Classic shoe features a new leather material made from leather scraps that Nike usually throws out by the tonne every day. With the help of a new technology developed by Nike’s sizeable team of scientists at their Oregon headquarters, the company has invented a leather material that is a combination of pulverised waste leather and recycled fibres, which are mixed into a plastic-like mass that can be shaped into the creations of even the most intricate shoe designer. “This isn’t just a shoe. It’s a revolution,” Nike couldn’t wait to declare about this new material, Flyleather, whose carbon footprint is 80 percent smaller than traditional leather and requires 90 percent less water to manufacture. These are tangible figures for a company such as Nike, which sells an estimated 25 pairs of trainers every second.
From textile manufacturing to dyes and shipping: the clothing and fashion industry is, and remains, one of most polluting industries in the world. This is something that both the industry and consumers are now fully aware of. Manufacturing a single cotton T-shirt requires more than 2,400 litres of water, according to the Better Cotton Initiative. Then there are the staggering amounts of pesticides and chemicals that the manufacturing process requires. Synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon aren’t much better. According to the Lenzing Group, these synthetic fibres represent more than 60 percent of the fibres used on a global scale, and are primarily manufactured using fossil fuels such as oil, which are highly polluting and place a serious strain on the world’s resources.
It can be difficult to understand the complicated processes behind the manufacturing of many materials. Met te B ak-Anderse n
When H&M launched the 2017 version of its sustainability collection, Conscious Exclusive, one pleated, powder-pink party dress (see photo on previous page) was particularly remarkable. The dress was made entirely from Bionic Yarn, which is, in turn, made from recycled plastic from marine and coastal environments that has been collected in Hannan, China, and combined with other recycled
plastic bottles. According to information from H&M, each dress is made from 89 PET bottles (polyethylene terephthalate, which is a thermoplastic product in the polyester family), which may include water bottles, shampoo bottles, etc. Explained in brief, the underlying method consists of cleaning, pulverising and melting the plastic bottles, then turning them into fibre that is spun into yarn.
Earlier this year, Pulse of the Fashion Industry gave the clothing manufacturing industry poor marks, awarding only 32 out of 100 possible sustainability points in a report drawn up by recognised players such as Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group. “It is time to act differently,” the report reads. Several companies are already doing just that. At some of the largest clothing manufacturers, researchers have taken to their microscopes and started experimenting with all kinds of new materials. One frontrunner is Swedish fashion giant H&M, which earlier this year set a target of using only recyclable and sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Among the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, a team of researchers at the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, headed by Professor Carol Lin, has been working closely with H&M in recent years. So far, their partnership has led them on the trail of a technique that will make it possible to recycle blended materials – such as a pair of trousers made from cotton and elastin – into new textiles and yarns. This is a pioneering step according to the industry because, until now, it has been impossible to recycle the many tonnes of clothing made from a blend of fibres. In addition to H&M, which sold clothing for more than €24 billion last year, the sportswear brand Adidas is manufacturing clothing, and especially shoes, made from scrap plastic bottles. “Giant companies like H&M and Nike are driving innovation at the moment. They are beginning to realise that they will be sawing off the very branch they’re sitting on if they continue to manufacture in the same way they always have done,” says Mette Bak-Andersen. She is head of the Material Design Lab, one of the biggest material libraries in the Nordic region, which is used by students, researchers and international companies searching for new sustainable materials. At the Material Design Lab – based at the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, where design technologists of the future are trained – the shelves contain row upon row of index cards with little material samples attached. A piece of textile made from fungal spores is silky soft and reminiscent of suede; dried cow’s stomach feels rough and robust; and a salmon skin shines like mother of pearl. These samples represent more or less developed examples of materials that will be used by the clothing designers of the future.
“This could easily be spun into a very high-quality material,” says Mette Bak-Andersen, as she singles out a white skein of yarn made from seaweed. She and her students have experimented with silk from honey bees, produced with the help of synthetic biology; plastic made from sour milk; and cellulose leather made from bacteria extracted from Japanese tea. One of the Material Design Lab’s most recent projects focuses on how to dye blouses, trousers and jackets without using the tonnes of chemicals that are used today. A powder-pink cotton sweater, for instance, has been dyed using avocado stones; a green top has been dyed using blueberries; and a blouse has been given a yellow hue with the help of onion skins. One of the challenges in today’s clothing industry, according to Mette Bak-Andersen, is that many designers continue to lack basic knowledge about materials. “It can be difficult to understand the complicated processes behind the manufacturing of many materials. For instance, very few think about the fact that a fine, white tulle often starts its life as black, carcinogenic raw oil that is pumped out of the ground somewhere in the Middle East,” explains Mette Bak-Andersen. “Smaller companies often lack knowledge about materials and don’t have the time or energy to do the research, while more and more large companies have materials departments, which don’t necessarily work closely with the design department on the development of new designs,“ she continues. The missing link
Talk about sustainable fashion actually started back in the 1980s. One of the frontrunners was Yvon Chouinard, founder of American outdoor clothing brand Patagonia. Alongside his job as CEO, Yvon Chouinard was a mountain-climbing nature lover,
Mette Bak-Andersen, head of the Material Design Lab in Copenhagen, highlights H&M as one of the international companies that are leading the way in reusing plastic in clothing manufacturing. However, reusing plastic does not avoid the issue of microplastics, she points out.“Plastic-based textiles are one of the big sinners when it comes to releasing microplastics into the environment. More and more microplas-
tics will be released as long as we use plastic that is not biodegradable, regardless of whether it is new or recycled. The dress from H&M, for example, is not biodegradable.” Mette Bak-Andersen would like to see a largescale research and development effort into biodegradable alternatives, and points out that there are already many exciting new materials and manufacturing processes under development.
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There has been a tendency, for instance, to launch a single product made from pineapple peels or seaweed and then boast about being sustainable. Suz i Ch ri stof ferse n, consultant
and the story goes that it was the sight of an increasingly damaged natural environment that convinced him to make Patagonia environmentally conscious. In 1996, he took the initiative – as one of the first in the world – to use only 100 percent organic cotton. For many years, Patagonia has asked customers in large-scale ad campaigns not to buy new Patagonia products until the jackets and fleece jackets they already own are worn out and, preferably, have been repaired multiple times. More and more sustainable initiatives have been popping up in recent years, and hardly a week goes by without some fashion blog launching new products from clothing and fashion companies looking to use clothing made from plastic waste or food industry surpluses to sell a green story about themselves. “Many companies use sustainability as storytelling. There has been a tendency, for instance, to launch a single product made from pineapple peels or seaweed and then boast about being sustainable. But to really make a difference, it needs to be incorporated in the entire collection and in the company’s DNA,” says Suzi Christoffersen. She runs the company Closed Loop, which advises companies like Bestseller, Coop and DK Company on sustainable production, and regularly holds workshops on sustainable materials. One of the great challenges today, according to Suzi Christoffersen, is that many new high-tech materials and research-based solutions aren’t being picked up by the industry. “The problem is that launching on the sustainability front often requires a giant platform. SMEs in the fashion industry are faced time and again with high minimum requirements for new, green and exciting fabrics by the metre, which they simply aren’t able to meet,” she explains. “That’s why it is so incredibly important when major players like Nike and H&M lead the way.” Waste or big business?
There are a variety of ethical issues associated with several of the materials that, from the outside, look like they could provide the key to a sustainable fu-
ture. For example, milk, which is recycled into fibres for clothing manufacturing, is currently a hot topic. This is especially the case in Denmark, where milk production is high – with correspondingly high volumes of waste milk. It is admirable that the clothing industry is looking towards the food sector, according to Suzi Christoffersen from Closed Loop. But an important point is missed when the value chain of the food isn’t considered as well. “It doesn’t have the desired impact if you start producing new milk instead of using the waste product,” she explains. This trend is full of paradoxes. For instance, organic cotton is much more sustainable than conventionally grown cotton, but it requires more land, which consequently takes land away from food production because the two crops are typically grown on the same land. And the cashmere goats, whose wool is considered sustainable, are eating their way through Mongolia, leaving a barren desert behind them. In this context, hemp is more interesting because it can be grown in soil that is often unsuitable for food production, and it requires fewer chemicals and less water than cotton, explains Mette Bak-Andersen from the Material Design Lab. “But,” she emphasises, “there is no textile that is 100 per cent sustainable. Focusing only on one crop isn’t good for biodiversity. To ensure a high degree of diversity, the solutions need to come from many different places. At the same time, we mustn’t forget that a big part of the issue is what the consumer does with the clothing.” Companies can manufacture all the blouses, trousers and jackets they like from seaweed, milk and organic cotton. If the consumers only use the clothes a few times before throwing them away because of changing fashion trends, then we’re right back where we started. Slow fashion has often been highlighted as the solution. This is concerned with slowing the pace and wearing clothing until it is worn out, instead of clothing manufacturers sending new styles out to shops at high speed. In the future – clothing consumption is expected to increase by more than 60 percent to 102 million tonnes by 2030 according to a Pulse of the Fashion Industry report – what will have the strongest impact, according to experts, is for consumers to simply buy less clothing. Meanwhile, Nike, Adidas, H&M and others are developing new, sustainable materials and technologies that are good for the planet. “Together, we can help solve the problem,” Adidas said when the company launched a pair of sneakers made from plastic waste: “Before it’s too late.”
lining. Adidas has not released much information about exactly how the shoe is manufactured, but various media have noted that illegal deep-sea nets have also been used in previous models from Adidas and Parley. The shoe is not biodegradable, and according to Mette Bak-Andersen it is doubtful that the plastic in the shoe will be recycled again, as breaking a shoe down into its components for recycling is a very elaborate process.
Since 2015, Adidas has partnered with the environmental organisation Parley on a recycling project. The latest result of this collaboration is a new version of the classic Adidas Original (photo). According to the German sportswear giant, one pair of shoes consists of 11 plastic bottles – all from beach waste collected in the Maldives. The plastic is transformed into the thread used to make the shoe’s upper, and is also used in the shoe’s laces, heel and
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A MOBIL E UN
“We need to be among the people. Out in the local communities” The world’s most important organisation has lost contact with the people. UN Live seeks to change this. The ambitious plan aims to get people all over the world involved in the UN’s values and goals. Danish entrepreneur Jimmy Maymann is one of the men behind the project. Text: Kasper Steenbach / Photo: Bjørn Rosenquist
We need to regain our faith in science. This is what drives Jimmy Maymann's involvement in the multi-faceted UN Live project – if we want our society to evolve then we need to make science the foundation of our debate culture. “We need to move from a post-factual society where people subscribe to whatever reality suits them, to a society where we have renewed faith in the best scientists in the world,” says the 46-yearold Dane. Jimmy Maymann is chair of UN Live’s online committee, an independent global institution funded by foundation grants and, in time, by contributions from the private business community. Through a strong collaboration with the UN, they seek to spread the UN’s values and, in particular, its 17 global goals for sustainable development, which are to be achieved by 2030. This will be done in three ways: through a publicly-accessible online platform, a network of partner institutions who bring exhibitions and other activities out to local communities, and a museum – also called an experience centre – in Copenhagen. The first activities are expected to be launched this year and, looking at the state of the world today, things can’t move fast enough, according to Jimmy Maymann: “We live in a polarised society. The perfect example is Trump, who is in the process of rolling back everything Obama stood for. The problem is that we have such different points of view because we lack a common frame of ref-
erence. I believe that one common reference point should be science.” If you wake up a Trump voter at 4 a.m. and ask them what we need most in the world, he or she will almost certainly not say science. Is this just another elitist ideal? “We need to be among the people. Out in the local communities. For instance, we reach out to them through gamification, as a way to show how carbon emissions affect the climate, and through a virtual reality exhibition, spotlighting the challenges it creates in local communities. This is all based on the latest research. We translate the science into formats people can understand, and use facts to show them how these challenges also affect their local communities.” It sounds like a huge challenge… “It is, but there is no way around it. Faith in our institutions is gone, and this is a huge problem if you want the world, democracies and societies that continue to develop. We’re taking the initiative to bring people closer together, as this is the only way we can start to develop sustainable, broadly founded solutions that are good for a larger share of the population.” What experiences from your own background as an entrepreneur have you been able to draw on in your work with UN Live? “The project was born from an idea about how we can bring the UN into the
digital age and make the UN more relevant to a younger target group. Could we have done this in the good old UN building? Perhaps, but it would have been difficult to achieve this kind of disruption in the system, because there are a lot of fixed ways of doing things. When I ran HuffPost Live (Jimmy Maymann is the former senior vice president of the Huffington Post, ed.), I had to hire 100 people and move them to a different floor, because it needed to be independent of the old routines. If you want to make things move quickly, you have to stand outside and look in. Hopefully, that will be the strength here, too.” Will the UN achieve its 17 goals for a sustainable future by 2030? “We won’t come close without technology. For example, with current technology, it would take 79,000 years to clean up all the plastic in the world’s oceans. Boyan Slat is a Dutch boy who, as a 16-year-old student of space technology, had an idea to create giant pontoons to collect the plastic. If his technology works, and it looks like it does, then he will be able to remove half of all the plastic in the world’s oceans in five years. New technology is how we will achieve our goals.”
This is only the second time the UN has given permission for such a large-scale project to carry the UN name. The first time was when Ted Turner donated $1 billion, and the UN created a foundation to manage the money.
Facts about UN Live UN Live is comprised of three platforms: UN Live Online – the project’s virtual platform spearheaded by Jimmy Maymann. UN Live Network – a collaboration with partner institutions to create local events, activities and exhibitions aimed at engaging local populations in the UN’s values and work. UN Live Building – an experience centre to be established in Copenhagen, provided the final funding falls into place and the city can find an appropriate location. These three platforms have a combined budgeted investment of €270 million, of which three-quarters is earmarked for the experience museum. The project is supported by a number of Danish and international foundations.
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Don’t have time to read the whole magazine? Here’s a cheat sheet with the nine best ideas from this issue of Share. There are many more inside the magazine.
Text: Karen Gahrn / Illustration: Kari Modén/Form Nation
Fish in the barn
A pill for old age
Floating waste eater
You take an old farm and fill the barn with fish of every colour of the rainbow. Manure from the fish is used on the neighbouring fields, and the closed system solves the major environmental problems often associated with fish farming.
Metformin, a well-known drug for treating diabetes, has a ‘side effect’ that leads diabetes patients to live longer and healthier lives. Scientists are now investigating whether this drug can actually postpone old age.
It floats around American rivers eating waste that would otherwise be both costly and expensive to collect. Mr. Trash Wheel runs on solar energy and water, which also makes the method environmentally friendly.
Technology for girls
Generations under same roof
Sun in the dark
The little girl Ruby is a hero to many children who she has taught about computers, technology and programming. The format is a good, old-fashioned book, and it is particularly popular among girls. In 22 countries, so far.
Students lacked housing and a nursing home lacked energy. The solution was to let students from the Cleveland Institute of Music move in. Today, they live rent-free and participate in daily life with the elderly.
More than half a million Little Sun lamps have been sold, not least in poor countries that don’t have access to other forms of lighting. The lamp is powered by the sun, but its happy design is the most ingenious part.
Drinking the sea
Ghost in the machine
A T-shirt made from sour milk
More than half of Israel’s drinking water is provided through desalination. The transformation takes places with help of special chemical-free membranes that separate the water molecules from the salt.
In a not-so-distant future, researchers will be able to transfer a person’s personality and consciousness to a computer. It's a kind of eternal life that has so far attracted investments from several IT millionaires.
Scientists are experimenting with ways to turn sour milk and other surplus products from the food industry into textiles, for example to create sustainable T-shirts.