The Circle of Every Little Thing

Consumers begin to see responsible products not only as a good move for the future, but as a paradigm shift that needs to happen now. The circular economy suggests that our products will no longer just support our own needs, they will participate in a much bigger system.

We live in a world full of alarms; conflicts, terror and environmental disasters. It makes consumers increasingly worried and aware. As a reaction to this, consumers begin to see responsible products not only as a good move for the future, but as a paradigm shift that needs to happen now. The circular economy suggests that our products will no longer just support our own needs, they will participate in a much bigger system. We will need to continue pushing the boundaries of the circular economy and rethink products in terms of the entire value chain. In this movement, we need to see many more companies and organizations working together, across silos, towards better consumer behavior, encouraging responsible consumption. Consumers realize that their current consumption patterns need to be changed. To make this happen they are turning to the companies who respond and make action of their promises.

TO CONSIDER

-Think circularity, think across value chain, rethink waste

-How can you start with small actions (instead of the big words)?

-How can your products/services be participants in a bigger system?

-How can you work more across silos, companies and organisations?

GOOD EXAMPLES

Parley for the Oceans addresses major threats towards the oceans, the most important ecosystem of our planet. Parley believes the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer – given he has a choice – and the power to shape this new consumer mindset lies in the hands of the creative industries. Artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, fashion designers, journalists, architects, product inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold the reality we live in and to develop alternative business models and ecologically sensible products to give us earthlings an alternative choice, an everyday option to change something.

Stella McCartney has woven sustainability into her company. She is open about the challenge/paradox of being both sustainable and fashionable at the same time. McCartney says that building environmentally sustainable practices into her own business has been a long-term commitment. Stella has made the brand highly visible in sustainable discussions globally, making her an opinion leader within the area. “We believe that the future of fashion is circular – it will be restorative and regenerative by design and the clothes we love never end up as waste.”

Circular Economy of Packaging

Sofia Erixson has been digging into the circular economy thinking, and deals with what it means to the world of packaging.

We need to rethink the concept of waste! In the future we are all facing a growing population and increasing pressure on natural resources due to the ever-increasing demand for consumer goods. Therefore we need a more sustainable growth. This creates demands on businesses to use materials more efficiently and it requires major changes, new resource-efficient business models and an economy based on a sustainable society.

The answer is Circular Economy; the end goal of what used to be called closed loop recycling – genuinely enabling the renewal of existing resources, rather than continuing the need for new ones.

Packaging plays a positive role in a Circular Economy by optimising resource use, minimising product waste and protecting products through the value chains.

What will the future bring?

1. Sustainable online shopping
Online shopping increases every year. I think we need to create a more sustainable return policy of packaging material. A good example: RePack; Your returnable and reusable packaging. ”Simply return me and I will reward you.” Not only sustainable but also a smart way that also creates deeper customer relationships.

2. Food waste
Each year 1.3 billion tonnes of food, about a third of everything that is produced, is wasted. That means that 30% of the world’s agricultural land area is used to produce food that will be wasted. To reduce waste a Swedish company called Allwin take care of the leftovers from the food stores in Sweden and give it to people in need.

3. Sharing economy & Collaborative consumption
Sharing economy have become increasingly popular in the past couple of The power of the internet, together with social media exchange platforms are rapidly transforming industries by collaborative consumption. It has made it possible for people to rent and sell assets and transportation services through Uber and Airbnb, that were previously virtually unmarketable. Now you can also Airdine; make your home a restaurant, or book a transportation through Farwell; that match your request and at the same time decrease the empty space in the containers.

4. Recycling 2.0
Innovation in recycling technology is rapidly evolving and enabling production of high-quality products with great sustainability performance. For example, Starbucks is aiming to turn its waste coffee grounds and food into everyday products by using bacteria which can then be used in for an example bio-plastics and medicines.

To make Circular Economy a reality we need to work together. Policymakers and consumers play a central role. Most important to remember is that it is possible to rethink how we make and use things for sustainable business, we make this a reality together!

By Sofia Erixson on 28 February, 2016 In , ,