Past opportunity

Low Carbon Circular Materials by KONE

Material innovation


KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has set science-based targets for significant reductions in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the year 2030. In addition, KONE has pledged to have carbon-neutral operations by 2030. To reach these ambitious goals, we are looking for startups developing innovative materials and circular processes which could help us reduce the carbon footprint of our elevators and escalators.

Theme Description

A clear majority of the emissions associated with KONE activities occur outside its immediate operations in the value chain. To achieve its product-related emissions reduction target of 40%, KONE will cut emissions from product lifetime energy use and materials by further improving the energy efficiency and material circularity of its products.

KONE is taking strong actions across the whole supply chain. The company is working together with its suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint from raw materials manufacturing, internal production processes, logistics operations and end-of-life to increase the use of sustainable and long-lasting materials, enabling circularity processes (e.g., reuse, recycling, disassembly). The main goals include increasing the materials’ reusability, upgradeability, reparability, recycled material content, and to enable high-quality recycling.

Opportunity Overview

We are focusing on greenhouse gas emissions resulting from raw materials manufacturing, internal production processes, logistics operations, use phase and end-of-life of our products.

In the manufacturing phase of our products’ lifecycle (from raw materials production), we are searching for materials that have similar characteristics as the ones we currently use but with a smaller carbon footprint and/or processes enabling reuse of recyclability of current materials. We would like to strongly emphasize material circularity to identify materials suitable for enabling remanufacturing/reuse and high-quality recycling. Ideally, solutions should focus on durability, upgradeability and reparability, reusability, and alternative green packaging.

In the use phase, we are looking for ways to make our products more energy-efficient and/or make sure they use renewable energy.

The examples below represent some ideas that we have in these areas, but please remember that your solution can go beyond them.

Focus Areas

Examples of solutions we’re interested in

Sustainable Materials

Low embodied carbon materials through a clean manufacturing process  with high recycled content (e.g., new alternatives to steel/new grades of steel for guide rails and cabin panels, alternatives to rare earth materials in electronic components, alternatives to plastics in packaging, alternatives to Portland cement in counterweight fillers).

Material Circularity

Processes to reuse/recycle elevators and escalators materials (e.g., cabin steel, packaging) creating synergies with external industrial partners. Innovative technologies to sort different materials or components. “More with less”, dematerialization.

Energy Efficiency

Lightweight materials, lubricant-free materials, alternative materials and simplified design for the shaft mechanics.

All opportunities