HRH The Crown Princess’ speech at the "In-genius Waste Ceremony" Milan Design Week, 7 September 2021

Offentliggjort den 8. september 2021 / Published on 8 September 2021

Excellencies, minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

First, I would like to thank Rossana Orlandi - for inviting Denmark, as guest country, to be part of her important and impactful project for Milan Design Week 2021.

I am particularly happy to be here to open this discussion on how Denmark, Danish ideas and Danish companies can contribute to a greener future.

The old English saying ‘waste not, want not’ is very relevant to our discussions today.  This saying is said to advise someone not to waste anything, because they might need it in the future. We must look at waste as a new resource, we cannot continue our wasteful, throw-out culture. 

Already, on the 29th of July this year the world’s demand for resources exceeded what the planet can regenerate in one year [the so-called Earth Overshoot Day].

Once again, we are reminded that we need to organise our lives and societies in a way that creates a balance between our consumption and the available resources.

That requires that we stop over-using and wasting the world’s resources. It requires that we view waste as valuable and re-usable. And that we stop wasting the waste!

How we deal with and dispose of waste is a problem. But today, we are seeing that waste is also proving to be part of the solution.

A lot has been done over the years. In Denmark 74 % of industrial waste is collected for re-cycling, while almost no waste ends up in a landfill.

But we have to do even more. We have to develop technologies that will allow us to reuse and recycle even more waste. And we have to inspire each other in rethinking the potential value of waste.

“Save the waste - waste is value”: That is the theme of this evening’s discussion.

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to visit Danish installations made from recycled material and the reuse of waste in the TrashFormation Village and in the Hall of Waste – creative titles for creative solutions. (Maybe one ‘beautiful’ day people will aspire to be in the Hall of Waste, instead of the Hall of Fame)??

I am hopeful that these Danish installations with their focus on circular economy combined with architecture and design, will inspire many to start thinking in circular solutions.

We must continue to challenge traditional manufacturing processes. And we must build new partnerships and further develop innovative approaches to generate new resources from our waste.

Rossana has brought together thought-leaders and has created an outstanding project show-casing how circular design and architecture can create real impact.

If we look at waste differently, and if we are able to make smarter choices on how to use materials like plastic, we are on the right pathway. The RO Guiltless Plastic Campaign, is about just that, not feeling guilty that we use plastic but, encouraging us to be responsible in how we use it.

Sustainability is embedded in the Danish Creative DNA and in our way of living at all levels. For example, from cycling to work, to teaching our children how to recycle, to the growing trend in vintage and second-hand fashion and our focus on reducing food waste.

Last year, Denmark adopted a Climate Plan for a Green Waste Sector and Circular Economy. The ambitious plan aims to make the Danish waste sector climate neutral in 2030, with a vision of removing 80 pct. of plastic waste from incineration and reducing the amount of waste we generate. The concrete actions in the plan will reduce the CO2-emissions from the waste sector by 700.000 tons in 2030. The plan’s approach is exactly that waste is not a problem – but rather a solution.  The potential of a truly circular economy is huge, not only for our planet but, also in terms of growth and development and new job opportunities.

This is the thinking behind the Climate Plan: a transition to a circular economy can help us reach our climate targets, protect our environment and nature, and create a green business adventure in Denmark.

Part of Italy’s Recovery and Resilience Plan is also to prioritize circular economy solutions. This provides an excellent platform for further partnership opportunities between Italy and Denmark.

We must strengthen our efforts through collaboration between all stakeholders in society – from government authorities, to companies, cities and – most importantly – the people living in them.

The Danish companies present at the dialogue table this evening, illustrate the power of excellent – and sometimes unexpected – collaborations. For example,

The Danish and Italian companies that together have constructed the CopenHill incinerator, a plant that also provides Copenhagen with a year around ski slope and new recreation area

And Carlsberg who has worked with the creative industries to find a way to reuse their empty beer kegs.

And, it is the power of the people that is behind the famous food-waste initiative Too Good To Go which allows you to purchase surplus food at a low price

We have all committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12; to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. And we still have a long way to go.

To get there by 2030, we need the creativity, the thought leadership and the innovative collaborations that are being presented here.

Rossana, you are doing your part. The companies and creative minds present today are doing theirs.

So, thank you all for your efforts and contributions to reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle waste.

Action speaks louder than words.  Your words are the solutions and action is how those solutions are implemented and scaled locally and globally. How we act today, will determine the future for people, planet and prosperity. There is no time like the present to act, and there is absolutely no time to waste!