Circular Insights #32 – the Anthropocene and your business

Linear risks | Podcasts 51 to 53 | Circular office | 10 years to transform | Regenerative Agriculture podcast

New Linear Risks Guide and Matrix

Our research shows that organisations in every sector face a variety of risks associated with ‘business as usual’ (the ‘linear’ economy), and the Circular Economy Podcast show-notes on ‘linear risks’ (Episode 2) is one of our most-visited webpages.

We know people struggle to find time to think about external issues, and let’s face it, lots of the news on geopolitics, climate, plastics and damage to nature can be depressing. So, it is easy to feel disconnected from big-picture trends and issues, and hope they won’t affect your business.

We recently created a 23-page Linear Risks Guide for clients who book our Kickstart and Kickstart+ coaching programmes. We thought it would be useful to share these, so you can use them to review the risks facing your business, and think about ways to avoid them.

We’ve focused on the risks related to our modern, ‘linear economy’, in which we take materials, make a product, use it and then discard it. We look at risks related to the markets you operate in, your business model and competitor pressures, your production and supply chain operations, and regulatory and legal factors.

We’ve mapped those risks along the value chain, using PESTLE analysis (political, economic, social and technological, legal and environmental) as a structure. There is a summary matrix, with over 40 different categories of risk and an example of each.

Read the short blog here, or visit the Linear Risks Guide page on our website to download the free 7-page Linear Risk Matrix mini-guide, or get the full 23-page Linear Risks Guide (also free).

Circular Economy Podcast

Since the last edition of Insights, we’ve published three episodes of the podcast:

  • Episode 51 Jamie Butterworth of Circularity Capital – Jamie helps large investors support circular economy businesses, breaking the link between resource use & business success
  • Episode 52 Elizabeth Knight – Repair Revolution! Elizabeth Knight, founder of New York’s first Repair Café, co-wrote Repair Revolution: How Fixers Are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture with John Wackman
  • Episode 53 Mick Payne – Techbuyer – Mick is the Managing Director of Techbuyer’s UK operations, helping businesses maximise their IT budgets with quality refurbished servers, storage and more

Don’t forget, you can use our interactive, searchable podcast index to find episodes by sector, by region or by circular strategy. Plus, there is now a regular Circular Economy Podcast newsletter, so you get the latest episode show notes, links and transcript delivered to your inbox on Sunday morning, each fortnight. The newsletter includes a link to the episode page on our website, with an audio player. You can subscribe by clicking this link to update your preferences

Find the podcast series on iTunesGoogle PodcastsPlayerFM, Spotify, TuneIn, or search for “circular economy” in your favourite podcast app.

PS We’d love it if you could post a review, and help other people find us!

Blog: Get started with the circular economy – #1 the office

Ready to take the first steps towards ‘closing the loop’ on your products and materials? Are you finding it difficult to spark interest with your colleagues? Or perhaps everyone is keen, but you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you have to reconfigure the office to make it Covid-secure?

Why not start with easy-to-do, low-risk changes – starting with office consumables and equipment. I’ve revisited an old blog post that looked at circular possibilities for your stationery cupboard, and updated and extended it to look at IT equipment and office furniture. I’d love to know what you think… have you tried any of these circular options? Would the office be a good conversation-starter for circular possibilities? Do please let me know! You can read the blog here.

Watch – 10 years to transform the future of humanity — or destabilize the planet

In researching the latest on the climate and biodiversity emergency for my talk at the United Nations Association Climate and Oceans webinar on the Dasgupta Report on The Economics of Biodiversity in April, I came across a newish TED Talk from Johan Rockström, a scientist recognized internationally for his work on global sustainability. Rockström helped lead a team of scientists that presented the planetary boundaries framework, first published in 2009 and updated in 2015.


“For the first time, we are forced to consider the real risk of destabilizing the entire planet,” says Johan Rockström. In a talk backed by vivid animations of the climate crisis, he shows how nine out of the 15 big biophysical systems that regulate the climate – from the permafrost of Siberia to the great forests of the North to the Amazon rainforest – are at risk of reaching tipping points, which could make Earth uninhabitable for humanity. Hear his plan for putting the planet back on the path of sustainability over the next 10 years – and protecting the future of our children. Transcripts in 17 languages are available on here.

Listen – Finian Makepeace on Regenerative Agriculture

Back in February, I gave a presentation and moderated a panel discussion at the  Springfield Agri Save our Soil conference. Afterwards, I enjoyed this podcast with Mark Shayler talking to Finian Makepeace, co-founder of Kiss the Ground, and renowned presenter, media creator, and thought leader in the field of regenerative agriculture and soil health.

Networking – Delivering Sustainability in your Business

Last time I mentioned a new, free community I’m involved in, on the platform. It aims to support you in implementing practical, achievable sustainability projects through peer support and expert contributions. You might be passionate about driving sustainability in your organisation, or maybe you have responsibility for sustainability initiatives but you’re not sure where to start. Or perhaps you are a sustainability professional who has implemented successful change programmes and would love to help others succeed… Some of the topics include:
  • Carbon reduction – how to decide on the best strategy, is offsetting worthwhile, what certifications are useful
  • Purpose-led businesses – where to start, should you use a framework or certification (and which ones are credible/affordable), how do you successfully combine purpose and profit
  • Marketing sustainability – avoiding greenwashing, guidelines for PR, engaging employees and customers
  • Sustainable and circular supply chains – what are the issues, where do you start (and how), are certification schemes, LCAs, Produce Lifecycle Management systems worth it?

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

Circular Innovations

This week, 10 nature-inspired designers were announced as finalists for the Ray of Hope Prize, which was created to honor the legacy of sustainability visionary and Interface founder Ray C. Anderson. The competition and accelerator is organized by the Biomimicry Institute. See the finalists here, including Biohm from the UK, using mycelium to create insulation and home products from food and agricultural waste.

Thank you letters

Thanks to UKMSN for inviting me to join their Advisory Board. UKMSN is an EPSRC-funded NetworkPlus created to stimulate the growth of manufacturing research and communities concerned with developing manufacturing synergies for the circular economy

Thanks also to UNESCO-UNEVOC for inviting me to host two panel discussions at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. I was delighted to be able to invite the main speakers for both sessions: Prof. Walter Stahel and Esther Goodwin Brown, who leads the education and jobs programmes at Circle Economy. For a business perspective, I was able to involve two previous podcast guests – Steve Haskew from Circular Computing and Brian Bauer from Algramo.

The sessions aimed to help policymakers and education professionals to think about the implications of the circular economy for education and jobs, and to explore how education and vocational training can best support the circular transition. UNESCO is launching a campaign – learn for our planet – calling on the world to invest in education for sustainable development and ensure that it is embedded in learning systems globally. For the survival of our planet, we need to #LearnForOurPlanet. Read more here, and I’ll include a link to the event recordings on YouTube in the next issue of Insights.

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

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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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