Does the circular economy support sustainability? This two-part series begins by unpacking the root causes of the ‘wicked problems’ causing our sustainability crises, and then calls out some of the false solutions emerging from businesses around the world.
Circular for the SDGs | Wilful Blindness | Climatarians | COP26 events | UN circular economy course | Our team | Knowledge Hub | Podcast
If you’re familiar with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you’ll know they create a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.’ They are ‘an urgent call for action by all countries – in a global partnership.’
The 17 goals tackle the critical global issues facing all of us. They aim to end poverty and deprivation, underpinning this with ‘strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.’
We show how the circular economy is a great way to strengthen your business and make a significant impact on the SDGs.
Malin Orebäck is leading McKinsey Design’s work in sustainability and circular economy. McKinsey Design is one of the world’s leading design agencies, and Malin shares a wide range of insights and gives us a masterclass introduction to circular design for products and services. Malin explains how she helps her clients get started with circular, and overcome linear ‘lock-in’.
Astrid Wynne is the Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer, a global sustainable IT solutions provider, which specialises in product life extension. She is also head of partnerships at Interact, a software tool that optimises energy and carbon usage of servers.
Astrid has co-authored a number of academic papers including ‘Optimizing server refresh cycles: The case for circular economy with an aging Moore’s Law’, which looked at how past generations of IT can provide a net positive on use-phase energy, economic benefit and retaining precious materials.
She is a board member at the Free ICT Europe Foundation, chair of the Sustainability Special Interest Group at the Data Centre Alliance and represents Techbuyer on the Interreg-funded research project CEDaCI, and we hear about some of the work at these collaborative and open-data projects.
This episode follows up on a previous conversation with Techbuyer, and digs into some of the perceptions around refurbished and remanufactured tech hardware, including reliability and performance. We hear how a remanufacturered server is able to outperform a latest generation machine, and why they are at least as reliable as new machines, too.
Every 10th episode, Catherine Weetman looks back at recent conversations and round up some of the insights we’ve heard:
The theme for this episode is turning off the tap. What do I mean by that? One of my favourite metaphors for the linear economy – our system of taking materials, making stuff, using it and then throwing it away. We’re pushing lots of resources in at one end of the pipe – but it gushes out at the end, and there are leaks all the way along the pipe with pollution going into the atmosphere, air, water and soil.
And all of that, of course, is undermining our ability to thrive on this planet.
So what can we do? We’ve got to radically rethink business as usual, to turn off that flow of resources and waste. We need to be regenerative instead of destructive and wasteful.
We need a different approach, so we have products with a life of their own, not just serving a single user. We need objects designed for reuse and resale once someone no longer needs them, or objects available in multi user systems with customers sharing or renting when needed.
In this episode, we unpack this to understand how it works, and why it helps to separate the benefits of products and services from their cost to the global commons.
Rae Stanton is the Earthcare Retail Lead for Lush Cosmetics UK and Ireland, using Permaculture principles to provide environmental best practice insight and guidance on packaging, sourcing regenerative ingredients and much more.
We find out how Lush embeds Permaculture and regenerative agriculture approaches into its business practices, and why Lush realised it needed to ‘own the packaging solution’ instead of relying on municipal recycling collections. Rae explains how Lush engaged its customers in designing ‘bring-back’ solutions, including asking them how much the reward should be.
We talk to Elis Joudalova about OLIO, the #1 sharing app. OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. OLIO can also be used for non-food household items.
Elis looks after Market Growth & Partnerships for OLIO, and has kickstarted, grown and managed strong food sharing communities in Jersey, Guernsey and Stockholm. Elis is a sustainability, food waste and circular economy change-maker with a contagious passion for food, environment, community empowerment and systems thinking. She loves inspiring and empowering people and businesses to make a change, focuses on the long term vision and has . a unique entrepreneurial approach to solving problems.
Repair revolution | Creating value | Tao economics | Making a difference | Podcast 54 – LONO
Linear risks| Podcasts 51 to 53| Circular office | 10 years to transform | Regenerative Agriculture podcast