The Club of Helsinki project

The Club of Helsinki is a non-profit organization that offer possibilities to co-create urban development projects that prototype new integrated and sustainable business and management models. The organization is founded by designer Ilkka Suppanen and strategist Tanya Kim Grassley, in close collaboration with innovator Karina Vissonova and ambassador Brent Richards.

A genuine value chain endorses meaningfulness, connectivity, value, and identity for every stakeholder involved. It is this broader mapping of context and needs that we believe is needed for our globally networked societies to move into the next phase of sustainability, says Ilkka Suppanen, director of the The Club of Helsinki.

bottles waste from Club of Helsinki project

In 2013 The Club of Helsinki will launch its pilot project, Angels of Sao Paulo, together with research partners University Sao Paulo (USP) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – in close collaboration with a recyclable materials collecting cooperative in Sao Paulo, Brazil, called Coopamare. The project’s corporate ‘pathfinder’ partnership model offers companies an opportunity to combine social responsibility with business and brand development.

Club of Helsinki in Brazil

The pilot project focuses on four areas. The first, in cooperation with MIT SENSEable Cities Lab, will create a GPS platform and digital services to help make the collection, processing and delivery of recyclable materials more effective. The second focus area, together with Umbilical Design from Sweden, will develop tooling for a new material product. The third area developed in cooperation with the University of Sao Paulo focuses on business development and new business models for the activities. The fourth area focuses on community development and needs such as healthcare, housing and education.

Club of Helsinki non-profit organization


The aim of the project is to create a collaboration model for enterprise and local government, which can be reproduced and applied to urban environments where waste and recycling is still supported by informal communities. Using design, the goal is to create tools with which the global corporate world can be involved in urban development work.

Robot made by waste

The Club of Helsinki was founded with the support of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.

Bulked waste

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