Circular Economy — the Social Imperative

Coming up with the right future model is not just circular - it needs to embrace the right way to use resources to benefit us all, writes Alexandre Lemille

First published on June 8, 2017 by the Corporate Waste Solutions (CWS) Magazine in Australia (here)

Circular Economy 2.0

Essentially, Circular Economy 2.0 is claiming that we cannot solve environmental and economic challenges without also fixing the social challenges. Our belief system, based on the corporate and individual success being calculated by ‘how much financial return have I generated no matter what’ needs to evolve into an embedded approach of value optimisation and, indeed, beyond just taking business decisions on the narrow- minded financial spectrum.

Don’t just reuse, revalue instead

Depending on where you live on the planet, the term ‘reuse’ (the smaller loop of the circular economy) could be misinterpreted. ‘Revaluing’ technical and biological nutrients may be more appealing and at the source of many more innovative solutions, even though we have current limitations when it comes to the continuous use of materials, such as expecting them to perform as well as in day one.

Doing more with more, not less

Here, we need to create abundance by implementing a regenerative strategy. It’s all about thinking positively, and reminding ourselves that we are able to turn things around and transform a dark forecast into a very appealing future. The future is up to us to design, whether we take the individualistic or the collaborative route. We are clever enough to change the direction of the current path we have taken and see the world we live in with new lenses — and regenerative ones hopefully.

Safe and just circular principles

In order to implement a Circular Economy 2.0 — i.e. designing poverty out in parallel to designing waste out — one has to add complementary principles to the current three circular principles as defined by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. To include equality through business practices, financial ability and innovative human-centred labour — each of them may either be missing from the current model (such as equality or financial ability), or not emphasised enough as a priority (such as human labour).

The humansphere

We now have the foundations of extended circular economic thinking (waste and poverty being the targets of our design thinking task of the coming century).

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

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