Thinking differently | Greenwashing | Economics of Biodiversity | Circularity along the value chain | Sustainability benchmarking | Action before profits | New community
We explore why 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.
Regeneration trajectory | Good, bad, ugly | Fallacious arguments | Confusion to clarity | Changing markets and mindsets | Camira Fabrics | Naked Innovations
Do ‘headline-grabbing’ initiatives that are just a tiny bit ‘less bad’ risk undermining the circular economy? Instead, should we focus on new systems, products and materials that help regenerate resources, living systems and communities? Regenerative solutions could provide a clearer path forward and encourage people (and business and policymakers) to ‘do more good’.
These recent examples of plastic circular economy initiatives illustrate what we could describe as the good, the (less) bad and the ugly. They show why it’s important to consider the ‘big picture’ for circular and sustainability ideas, so you can think about how to maximise positive impact and avoid unforeseen consequences (and reputational risk!).
Paraskevi Fotoglou is Sustainability Engineer at Camira Fabrics, a UK textile manufacturing company for task and soft seating.
Paraskevi has expertise in circular economy projects and innovative design ideas. She is exploring new sustainability paths and enhancing circular initiatives with the design, innovation and manufacturing teams across the business.
At Camira she has developed a broad knowledge on environmental accreditation, VOC emissions, the use of chemical substances used within each stage of fabric manufacture, and the incorporation of sustainable fibres.
We talk about some of the sustainable fabric developments, ‘Technical Knitting’, how Camira is developing Environmental Product Profiles, and why sustainability isn’t enough to engage customers and build a successful business.
Gary Giles is another entrepreneur inspired by the circular economy. Gary set up his company, OGEL, to use a material that is quite difficult to recycle and very bulky, so transporting it to be recycled is expensive. We’ll hear how Gary was inspired by the modular design of Lego, and how he’s developed a way of constructing durable buildings that use only 3 shapes, are easy to assemble and need very few tools. Plus Gary tells us what a ‘full stop product’ is!
Companies and governments are making transformational net-zero climate-change commitments – what’s creating the momentum and how can circular economy approaches help you get there?
Sustainability and circularity isn’t enough, when we’re starting from here. We’ve already over-exploited natural resources, exhausted and destroyed land, forests, oceans and rivers, and created waste and pollution that is breaching our planetary boundaries.
We need to go beyond circular, and we need to make sure businesses meet the ethical standards that people expect. That means providing good jobs, supporting nature and communities, using safe materials and processes (at every stage from farming and extraction through to use and end-of-use).
So over the last couple of years, we’ve been thinking about how to sum this up – our manifesto, if you like – and we’ve decided to sum it up with an acronym: FAIR
Peter is a circular economy coach, workshop facilitator and strategic advisor, and cofounder of the African Circular Economy Network. He helps businesses find circular opportunities, create a compelling business case, and broaden their networks. We hear about some of Peter’s work with SME’s and start-ups, helping them use the circular economy to succeed and prosper.
I’m thinking of this decade as the Transformational Twenties: transforming our thinking about what’s important, and how we CAN make it happen. This theme runs through my recommendations for this week. I’ve changed (transformed?!) the format of the newsletters too…