Development company supports regional innovation lab in Greenland for next-gen Arctic Circle and Nordic change-makers to address climate and sustainability issues at the community level.


August 29, 2022, Nuuk, Greenland — As average global temperatures continue to rise, Greenland’s melting ice sheet, the second largest in the world, could trigger a foot of global sea level rise, according to a new study. Communities in the Arctic region are already confronting their unique vulnerabilities and risks to the changing climate, with indigenous communities experiencing the greatest effects.

As part of the search for solutions to these challenges, Chemonics International supported the first UNLEASH Regional Innovation Lab in Nuuk, Greenland, from August 20 to 26, 2022. The week-long event convened 200 Arctic and Nordic youth leaders to design 37 solutions to climate and biodiversity, education, and health challenges at the community level. The Innovation Lab guided participants through a “design-thinking” process to problem frame, ideate, prototype, and test solutions. After the lab, the young innovators explored opportunities to implement their ideas in a Chemonics workshop.

Programs and activities that mobilize creative minds to design and scale validated solutions are essential to Chemonics’ mission of supporting people around the world to lead healthier and more independent lives.

“Chemonics believes we can address the major sustainability crises of our time through innovation and the creative energy of youth,” said Lauren Behr, a Chemonics senior advisor for innovation and investment. “By giving young innovators the tools, resources, and networks they need to launch viable, market-driven solutions, the world has a better chance of transitioning to a sustainable and more equitable future.”

Chemonics has partnered with UNLEASH as its Lead Scale Partner since 2019, designing and delivering innovation programs that empower young professionals to co-create a sustainable future and drive change. As a leading global development and sustainability firm with programs in 90 countries, Chemonics plays an important role in fostering innovation and empowering innovators in communities to promote locally led, creative problem-solving. Chemonics brings the ideas of young innovators and entrepreneurs to life through UNLEASH Plus, a six-month incubation program that builds on UNLEASH principles and methods to develop early stage, social impact ventures.

During the UNLEASH Greenland Lab, Chemonics announced the automatic admission of the six top teams to the 2024 UNLEASH Plus incubation program. Chemonics also recognized one of the top two winning teams, LooPoop, with a year of in-kind mentorship support. Chemonics will work with LooPoop team members– Henry Glogau, Hörn Heiðarsdóttir, Sofie Jordheim, and Nathan Baring- to launch and scale their innovative project, which is a reimagining of human waste management in remote Arctic communities through a circular model that also promotes economic opportunities.

“We’re very excited to have received this award and to have the opportunity to work with Chemonics moving forward,” said Henry Glogau of the LooPoop team. “This is a new world and a new territory for us, so having a partner that we can align with and also support us, pushing our idea along the way with mentorship, is a fantastic opportunity.”