The circular economy is an essential tool in mitigating the negative impacts of the climate and ecological crisis. We in the Global North need to do more than anyone, given that we created the problem in the first place. By taking on board the principles of a circular economy, engage in conversation with those around us, lobby people in power and take circular actions in our businesses and homes. This will mean we can move away from our current linear economy as well as reducing carbon emissions which will improve prosperity, enhance the reputation of business, and create healthier lifestyles to the benefit of ourselves and our planet.
Sophie is an established leader in communication and design, and in the investigation and promotion of circular economy design principles. She has been working in the fields of ethical design, behaviour change and material process through her design agency, Thomas.Matthews ltd, for nearly 20 years. We find out how Sophie uses her experience in sustainable and ethical design to help people understand more about the circular economy. We talk about the groundbreaking Great Recovery Project, which looked at the challenges and opportunities of the CE, through the lens of design. Sophie explains the importance of thinking about the system you are designing for, not just the object or product itself.
We know the circular economy aims to reduce, reuse, remake and eventually to recycle – but what if there is another R – rebound – opening the door for companies to adopt circular strategies and still drive growth in consumption (and pollution and waste)? We explore rebound, ask how to avoid it, and suggest we should be aiming instead for a regenerative economy.
Ecodesign expert Katie Beverley describes herself as a ‘critical friend’ of the circular economy. We dig into Ecodesign principles to find out more, and explore how Ecodesign could add value to circular solutions. Katie explains the benefits of user-centred and systems-thinking approaches. We discuss the business ‘ecosystem’, remanufacturing and the circular economy’s potential for local job creation and social benefits, and Ecodesign expert Katie Beverley describes herself as a ‘critical friend’ of the circular economy. We dig into Ecodesign principles to find out more, and explore how Ecodesign could help overcome the ‘teething problems’ of circular solutions. Katie explains the benefits of user-centred and systems-thinking approaches. We discuss the business ‘ecosystem’, remanufacturing and the circular economy’s potential for local job creation and social benefits, and Katie tell us about a range of projects she’s supported as Senior Research Officer with Ecodesign Centre, PDR, at Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales.
This first episode is a quick intro to explain what the circular economy is and why it’s important. We’ll explore how it helps create better products and services, and at the same time helps to make a better world. Maybe you already have some green, or community-focussed elements in your business, and you want to go further: to find ways of being more sustainable and profitable! The circular economy can help you do that, and strengthen your business in lots of ways. We’ll talk about the aims of circular approaches, then we’ll break it down into my 5 components, helping you think about each part of your business. Next, we’ll look at the benefits for business, with some examples, so you can think about how it can help your own business.
Catherine's blog for Kogan Page on Earth Day 2019 looks at 3 ways to use the circular economy to help our living planet AND strengthen your business
Peter Desmond's chapter in 'The Circular Economy and the Global South' explores how the circular economy can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It draws on case studies from Kenya and South Africa.
Catherine's article for a United Nations publication examines the vital role procurement plays in driving circular, sustainable development for the Sustainable Development Goals
Could Africa use ‘lessons learned’ from industrialised economies to create a sustainable, equitable and prosperous society? The world is becoming more aware that a culture of ever-increasing consumption and ‘take, make, dispose’ creates pressure on resources, land and water, leading to ever-more pollution and waste, impacting on the health of humans and the living systems we depend on. Could the circular economy be the critical link in avoiding ecosystem degradation, expensive or scarce resources and unethical, unsafe employment practices?