People’s priorities are changing, as we realise more stuff doesn’t make us happier– so how can businesses thrive by doing better, with less?
In this episode, Catherine Weetman suggests it’s time to bust one of the myths of the modern economy – people don’t want more and stuff! Priorities are changing, people are realising that more stuff doesn’t make us happier. Instead, people are discovering that life is better when we care for, share and treasure our stuff, and what’s more, that’s better for our planet and society.
But this presents a big challenge – a paradox – how can businesses succeed without selling more stuff, every year? Many of the Circular Economy Podcast guests are already doing just that, using circular strategies to thrive by doing better with less.
You probably already have big questions on this. It feels logical to say that new designs and innovations will always make life better, that people want to keep up with trends and the status that comes from having the latest thing,
And of course, that making new products underpins the success of a business … but Catherine shares research and insights from guests in the last series of podcasts to show why we need to question conventional wisdom, and choose alternative strategies that are fit for the current business landscape.
International speaker, author and strategic advisor, Catherine Weetman helps people discover why circular, regenerative and fair solutions are better for people, planet – and prosperity.
Catherine’s award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started.
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Links for this episode:
- Circular Economy Podcast on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/showcase/circular-economy-podcast/
- Circular Economy Podcast website: circulareconomypodcast.com
- Catherine Weetman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-weetman-9419107/
- A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business – buy from any good bookseller, or direct from the publisher Kogan Page, which ships worldwide (free shipping to UK and US) https://www.koganpage.com/CircEcon2
- Interactive podcast index https://www.rethinkglobal.info/circular-economy-podcast-index/
- Rethink Global www.rethinkglobal.info
- Sign up to get the podcast player and shownotes for each new episode emailed to your inbox
Books, people and organisations we mentioned
- Episode 101 Circular is better for people, planet and profit! How three simple strategies can help you get started with circular and regenerative solutions that are better for people, planet and profit https://www.rethinkglobal.info/101-circular-is-better-for-people-planet-and-profit/
- This 2018 study is the largest known study of stress levels in the UK, using an online poll by YouGov with a sample size of 4,619 respondents – Stress: Are we coping? https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/stress-statistics
- Andrew Oswald’s study, discussed in Harvard Business Review – Advertising makes us unhappy: https://hbr.org/2020/01/advertising-makes-us-unhappy
- IKEA and Globescan study on people’s priorities for the relationship with things, in IKEA Circular Product Design Guide (2019), using survey data from Globescan:
- Article on increase in pre-loved fashion: https://www.drapersonline.com/insight/analysis/whats-driving-the-rise-in-pre-loved-fashion
- Vinted’s Climate Impact Report https://company.vinted.com/sustainability and the survey summary https://press-center-static.vinted.com/Climate_Impact_Report_Summary_EN_2023_89b136c376.pdf
- Article on sales of secondhand across categories: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/nov/29/online-marketplaces-report-surge-in-sales-of-secondhand-goods
- The Common Cause Foundation and its work on values https://commoncausefoundation.org/ You can hear more from Ruth Taylor of the Common Cause Foundation on Manda Scott’s Accidental Gods podcast – https://accidentalgods.life/transforming-narrative-waters-with-ruth-taylor-of-the-common-cause-foundation/
- Tara Button, author of A Life Less Throwaway https://tarabutton.co.uk/alifelessthrowaway and founder of Buy Me Once https://uk.buymeonce.com/
- An article about the Converse+Beyond Retro remanufactured sneakers: https://www.fastcompany.com/90821217/converse-velvet-sneakers-vintage-dresses
- Riversimple’s Future Guardian Model and Circular Business Model: https://www.riversimple.com/sustainability/
- Article introducing Michel Bauwens’ thoughts on the peer-to-peer economy: https://medium.com/dark-mountain/michel-bauwens-an-introduction-to-p2p-8bcfbdc421ed
Playlist: getting started with the circular economy…
Want to know more about the what the circular economy really is, and how it can help your business? Here’s a playlist to help you get to grips with the concept, how it creates value, and the common myths (spoiler alert – it’s much more than recycling!)
- #1 What is the circular economy: A quick intro to explain what the circular economy is and why it’s important. We explore how it helps create better products and services, and at the same time helps to make a better world. I break it down into my 5 circular economy components, helping you think about each part of your business.
- #2 The linear economy and your risk checklist: We dig a bit deeper into the way we do business now, the linear economy, and why that’s creating problems for business, society and our living planet. Also, we’ll look at the risks that emerge from those big-picture issues, and how they might affect your organisation.
- #90 Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Catherine Weetman is worried that companies are using circular economy solutions to grow their business (and their footprints).
- #101 Circular is better for people, planet and profit! How three simple strategies can help you get started with circular and regenerative solutions that are better for people, planet and profit.
- #120 Priorities are changing: people find life is better when we care for and share things – circular economy strategies make that better for business, too.
And here’s Catherine’s guide: What is the circular economy?
Want to dig deeper?
Why not buy Catherine’s award-winning book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy. Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable.
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Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’. Or, follow them on Twitter.