5 Guiding Principles for an Inclusive Circular Economy

Principles summarized post a Twitter Chat with Circle Economy Netherlands

Image for post
Image for post

An inclusive circular economy focuses on creating positive social externalities at every step of the way. This means making social impact the driving force rather than the afterthought.

We believe it is high time the concept also evolves to put people on an equal footing with profit and planet.

We explored this idea during our latest Twitter chat — Circle Economy’s monthly initiative to bring the circular economy community together online. Here are 5 guiding principles that came out of our conversation:

1. Designing for positive social externalities at every level is key.

Whereas economic agents have been encouraged to limit or internalise negative externalities in the past, an inclusive circular economy focuses on creating positive social externalities at every step of the way. This means making social impact the driving force rather than the afterthought.

2. Poverty is an important item on the inclusiveness agenda.

Poverty, just like waste, is a human construct that needs to be designed out. Ensuring everyone’s physiological and safety needs are met is an important first step in the way of empowerment, as poverty and inequality often feed into each other. It is also an important step in bringing the circular economy discourse closer to emerging countries, where inequality gaps are often extreme and environmental incentives not necessarily appropriate.

3. But it’s not the only one.

In order for the circular economy to be truly inclusive, it needs to — at least aim to — address all of the SDGs. Alexandre Lemille’s work on circular human flows puts humans at the heart of the circular economy’s biological and technical spheres, where people profit just as much from gaining access to vital resources as they do from nurturing their skills, knowledge, and education.

4. Growth doesn’t have to be the enemy if it is properly designed.

There is definitely room for economic growth in an inclusive, circular economy, as it allows for the creation of additional jobs, but we do also need to shift perspectives, redefine the notion of growth, and develop new ways to assess it.

5. Technology as a force for good.

Technology in and of itself is not deterministic, and so it is up to us to put it to good use. Just as the circular economy draws on science to mimic natural systems in order to restore balance to both our industries and our planet, so too can it use technology to cast the inclusion net wide.

Written by

The Circular Humansphere or how humans will preserve conditions conducive to life #CircHumansphere

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store