Circular Insights #31 – Transformational thinking

Thinking differently | Greenwashing | Economics of Biodiversity | Circularity along the value chain | Sustainability benchmarking | Action before profits | New community

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 50 - Thinking differently

In this season, we’ve featured another 9 amazing, talented people, helping to make the circular economy happen. We’ve heard valuable insights relevant to startups and well-established companies, and to support those with new ideas, or to make existing businesses more circular.

A recurring theme was the advice to use different ways of thinking. You can link up with people from outside your organisation, you can use different design perspectives, like biomimicry, lean innovation or systems thinking, and you can develop your own process to help you think about the complete cycle, as we’ll hear later.

We’ve chosen highlights on how thinking differently can help you succeed with circular from:

  • Sandra Goldmark, author of Fixation: how to have stuff without breaking the planet,
  • Brian Bauer of Algramo,
  • Richard James MacCowan of Biomimicry Innovation Lab,
  • Tamsin Chislett of Onloan,
  • Peter Desmond of the African Circular Economy Network,
  • Gary Giles of OGEL, Joanna Bingham of Footprints Africa,
  • Paraskevi Fotoglou from Camira Fabrics,
  • Ryan Edwards of Naked Innovations.


Search for “circular economy” in your favourite podcast app – episode and show notes here:

We’ve set up a regular Circular Economy Podcast newsletter, so you can get the latest episode show notes, links and transcript delivered to your inbox on Sunday morning, each fortnight. The newsletter has a link to the episode  on the website, which includes an audio player.

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Is greenwashing undermining YOUR sustainability work?

My latest blog looks at how greenwashing (and circular-washing) undermines the work of ALL those pushing sustainability forward, ways you can guard against it in your own work, and how startups are proving that circular creates value for people and planet.


Are you doing enough fact-checking on the sustainability issues and solutions in your blogs, articles, reports, press releases, and webpages? Veronica Bates Kassatly, Elizabeth L Cline, Bel Jacobs FRSA and many others are trying to sort fact from fiction to help us understand the problem, and create ‘no-regrets’ solutions. My latest blog shows why greenwash can undermine ALL our good work, and how even trusted organisations are not immune… What do you think? Have you found something you wish you’d checked more thoroughly? I have 😟

The economics of biodiversity

I’m delighted to be involved in this free-to-attend cafe-style webinar on 22 April, hosted by United Nations Association Climate and Oceans . We’ll be discussing what the Dasgupta Report on The Economics of Biodiversity means for policymakers, businesses and citizens.

We’ll review the headlines from this important new report, commissioned by the UK Government, and then discuss what it means.

I’ll be joining these panellists: Gonzalo Alvarez, PDTh, BSc, BA Hons – Founder and Chair of the United Nations Association Climate & Oceans, Bengt Skarstam PhD – Chair, Agenda 2030 – United Nations Association Sweden (Malmo), Evan Knowles – US Representative – Finance and Economics – UNA Climate & Oceans and Jemma Sargeant – Youth Ambassador – UNA Climate & Oceans

Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO said ‘The Dasgupta Review could not come at a more crucial time, as we urgently need to reassess the intrinsic value of nature and its undeniable connection to our economic, social and physical wellbeing. Unlimited economic growth is simply not possible on a planet of finite natural resources. Business leaders and policymakers need to act now and grasp the enormous opportunities of fundamentally reframing our relationship with nature.’

When: Thursday, 22 April 2021 from 19:00 to 20:15 (BST) on Zoom, free to attend but places are limited. Click here to book your place on Eventbrite

Circular Economy in Practice: Supporting circularity along the value chain

Webinar – Wed, Apr 28, 2021 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM BST – hosted by IEMA The circular economy is gaining traction in every sector, but often the focus is on using some recycled materials, or highlighting the recyclability of the product/packaging – a ‘bit less bad’. Focusing on “How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business”, the new edition of Catherine Weetman’s circular economy handbook sets out a Circular Economy Framework that highlights seven components for circular approaches. Covering business models, the design and supply chain, internal enablers and external accelerators, these components sub-divide into a simple checklist for concrete circular approaches. Join us during this webinar for: – A presentation of the framework, illustrated with examples; – Case study insight from a circular economy experts in the agricultural sector; – A discussion on how businesses could use the framework to highlight opportunities to make a sustainable impact, slowing the flow of resources, waste and pollution. Speakers: • Catherine Weetman FCILT FRSA, Rethink Global • Carina Millstone, Executive Director at Feedback Global • Andy Whyle, Sustainability Specialist, Chair of the IEMA Circular Economy Network steering group • Marc Jourdan, IEMA Policy and Engagement Lead Free, and open to non-members- register here:

Sustainability benchmarking

On LinkedIn in early April, I shared the news that Virgin Money announces sustainability-linked loans using Future-Fit methodology. I noted that Mark Carney sees financial institutions having a key role in supporting our race to a zero-carbon, sustainable future. In the UK, Virgin Money has teamed up with the brilliant Future-Fit Foundation to create a Sustainability Benchmarking Tool, distilled from Future-Fit Business Benchmark. The tool will provide the bank with an initial view of whether its corporate customers are taking credible action on, and providing solutions to, the systemic challenges that society is facing.

You can read the announcement from Virgin Money here, and here is the link to the whitepaper with details of the benchmarking tool.

Patagonia talks circular

At last, Patagonia (IMO one of the earliest adopters of circular economy approaches), finally starts to talk about their circular lessons learned and future plans. Fantastic to hear that rental is coming! Plus some innovations to take recycled cotton into the mainstream. If only Wornwear was available in Europe….

Action before profits

My latest article for my book publisher, Kogan Page, explores how building and sustaining a healthy, resilient and profitable business requires long-term thinking, a clear purpose and a focus on creating value for people and planet. Successful businesses are developing strategies for both profit and purpose, with action plans to chart a path from ‘take, make, waste’ to regenerative, circular sustainable approaches. Read the article here.

New community launch: Delivering Sustainability in your Business

Are you passionate about driving sustainability in your organisation? Or have you been given responsibility for sustainability initiatives but you’re not sure where to start? Or maybe you are a sustainability professional who has implemented successful change programmes and would love to help others succeed?

I’m hosting a new community on the platform, to support you in implementing practical, achievable sustainability projects through peer support and expert contributions. We’ll be covering topics like:

  • Doing your best where you are with what you have
  • Awareness and mindset – persuading the sceptics
  • Mythbusting
  • Sustainability ROI (and other metrics)
  • Carbon vs biodiversity vs social value – how to find balance
  • Avoiding unintended consequences
  • Long-term planning in a shifting landscape
  • Incentivising behaviour
  • Practical help – research, tools, resources


It’s free to join, click here to find out more.

We’re happy to help with your circular projects – just hit reply!

Catherine's sign-off

We help entrepreneurs, companies and business leaders discover and use the circular economy – to build profitable, resilient, sustainable and successful businesses.  We believe in a circular economy that is fair, transparent and inclusive, to create a better world for everyone. 

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