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Think circular together with Swarovski

Key aspects of sustainable consumption and production are the reuse or repurposing of old materials to contribute to a circular economy. Together with Swarovski you will develop novel approaches to incentivize and conduct circular approaches (repair, re-use, refurbish/repurpose, recycle) that will help consumers and Swarovski to collectively drive a more sustainable jewelry industry.

To support you in your idea and team generation process, you have the opportunity to participate in one of our Digital Design Thinking Workshop - register here or find more information here.


  • ‚úÖ Challenge completed
  • ūüŹĀ Winner
    Congrats to Team XTEND!
  • ūüŹÜ  Rewards
    20,000 ‚ā¨ prize pool prize pool in the Innovate2030 project + joint publication with all stakeholders + chance for further cooperation with Swarovski
Important details
About Swarovski
Design Thinking

This use case is part of the Innovate2030 Challenge

Status Quo

It has been found that the average European owns approximately 7,500 euros worth of jewelry. What is problematic, consumers often improperly discard their jewelry at the end of its life, with a missed opportunity to re-use/re-purpose/recycle the respective raw materials, thus leading to a depletion of raw materials and jewelry potentially ending up in landfill/incineration.

In line with that problem the management of waste & minimization of virgin raw material usage has become a central concern, with a desire to transform circular economies while achieving environmental and economic benefits.
When looking at the 3R waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle), reduction has been the favored approach up until now. However, the goal of circularity also encourages us to repair, restore, recover, refuse, reject, and rethink when considering how material waste and products are managed throughout a product’s life cycle and business operations.

One of the key challenge’s organizations concerned with circular approaches face in their business operations is how to get used products and materials back from the consumer to get in a position to close the loop.

As the life cycle of then recovered products progresses, the terms "recycling" and "upcycling" come into greater focus.

While recycling often involves the alternation of materials into lower-value raw materials for reuse, upcycling describes the process of directly transforming materials/ items for new creative use cases. Upcycling thus uses less energy, materials, and water, but does not offer the same flexibility for new approaches as recycling.


Key question

Both approaches therefore offer the potential to drive the jewelry industry forward and while Swarovski has made first good steps in Sustainability there is a new focus and commitment to further increase efforts towards circularity.

To further improve recycling/upcycling and circular programs, the aim, and therefore, the two key questions you can follow for this use case are the following:
How can we encourage consumers to bring back their broken or used jewelry to the store (e.g. develop more sustainable consumption behavior) to be able to extend a product’s lifecycle?

  • Consumers should feel that their product is built for a lifetime, and in a changing consumption environment should have the opportunity to update and refresh items they already own.
  • This could be through pure take back schemes or building modular Jewellery that can be changed and added to over time. Swarovski is embarking on a new brand positioning and our product should be encouraged to keep for a long time.
  • There needs to be a level of authenticity in any take back schemes ‚Äď schemes that offer money off, or vouchers to return items purely incentivize consumption and without a 100% circular business this means that those solutions are still driving consumption.

What innovative and new approaches are there to optimize the re-cycling/ upcycling of old/unwanted/un-repairable jewelry and push its use and sustainability? 

  • What are the most innovative approaches to make this step as easy as possible for the consumers and the company ‚Äď to achieve a win-win situation for both. E.g. see different business models ‚ÄúOn Cylcon‚ÄĚ, Nespresso capsules, etc .
  • How to motivate the consumer to return items instead of just keeping them at home in their drawers or trashing them?
  • Note also that Swarovski‚Äôs products are sold around the world through online and offline channels. Production occurs in Europe and/or Asia.

You are free to choose one of the stated key questions or combine both for your solution approach. For more guiding input and elaborations take a look at the tab ‚ÄúImportant Details‚ÄĚ and for more guiding questions at the tab ‚ÄúSubmission‚ÄĚ.


Potential Impact

  • Innovative business models that generate economic value
  • Less depletion of raw materials by implementing circular models
  • Innovative upcycling processes or designs
  • Reduction of waste material
  • Less pollution of water, soil, and air, as well as lower carbon emissions, which will decrease contribution to climate change
  • Potentially cross-industrial collaborations to build infrastructures and policies

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