The Circular Economy 2.0

Ensuring that Circular Economy is designed for all.

Published on Published on Linked In on March 6, 2016

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Alexandre Lemille (drawing by Rachel Acker)

Amazing concept, wrong foundations

The concept of Circular Economy in itself is mind-blowing as it imitates natural cycles through feedback loops at several levels of our current extraction, production and consumption chains. Mind-blowing in the multidimensional benefits that could be hidden, where abundance could take the lead over scarcity of resources such as water, food, fossil fuels and other precious metals that one needs in our societies today. The main objective of such a framework being the decoupling of our resource intakes versus our thirst for constant economic growth — as returns always need to be higher than the original investment -. Through carefully designing our products and services, through focusing on nurturing and caring for all the elements that we have invented for the right functioning of our economy, and with the understanding that all these elements and sub-parts thereof have a specific role to play within it, this set of principles and concepts intend to regenerate our economy by a sound comprehension and alignment with environmental patterns — and not to limit ourselves to them, i.e. if we align ourselves well with these configurations, there is barely no limit to endless innovation! -.

The missing two circular dimensions

When looking at natural cycles we see the optimization in the way elements interact between one another and how energies are used. We also see how flows are expanding and moving in a distributed manner. When we talk circularity today, we do not see much of a plan for transparent distributed power, and we are still in this three month decision-based short-termism with the same “how much is enough” monetary goals that has driven us into the 02008 (a zero placed before the year helps us project longer-term according to John Elkington) crisis.

  • distributed powers, i.e. ensuring that ‘success’ encompasses all values that are created in a world of abundance where each decision has multiple ripple effects, thus, if rewarded well, that could be benefiting us all in symbiosis.
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Ending Poverty

In 2013 The Economist magazine asked the question of poverty as being our common challenge as the “world’s next great leap forward”, i.e. ending it. And why not? But is the current linear economy helping us achieving this ambition? Aren’t we reaching the limits of a model that finds it hard to absorb the last 1 billion people living on $1.25 a day or less because it was not designed to do so? Where will the next growth engine be to improve people’s well-being?

  • Inability of thriving in an economy where our financial system has been developed by the very few for the very few without seeing the bigger picture of the market potentials and abundance of other regenerative values to be accounted for ;
  • Inaccessibility to human performance in an economy that has reduced the notion of labour to a very narrow and non-system thinking approach, where, as an alternative, manpower as a whole could be seen as the foundation of future ways to replenish our model ;
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  • How about saying that “developing tailored financial capacity is a priority”?
  • How about ensuring that “granting access to new forms of manpower is innovative”?

Collaborating to Survive, as businesses, as individuals

There is a last factor to consider when talking about poverty in a linear economy. At a macro level, we live in cyclical periods where changes occur over centuries and more. We are currently moving into the so-called “Conservation Phase” where resources are more difficult to access, being locked-up, and where things will change slowly. Humans will either fight for them, or develop an advanced collaborative way of accessing them. This new form of “Collaborativism” might be preferred for our survival. It also means that we might become more careful of one another, not so much out of care, but rather in our common interest of balancing a very interdependent survival system balanced. It will no longer be a question of “the haves” versus “the have not’s” but rather, about creating an economy of the ‘being’ away from materialistic goals and individualistic behavior.

People at its Core is Critical for Impact

If we want a Circular Economy designed to address the needs of all of us, we should ensure that services are accessible, affordable and generating bottom-line benefits. Hence, we, the people need to be at its circular core, not at its periphery.

  1. “Developing tailored financial capacity is a priority” — where one can access more with less as even with a low income, a decent life can still be possible in a versatile pay-as-you-grow service model away from the current pay-prior-to-own product-based one we have today. In a collaborative- and service-based framework where systems externalities are embedded attracting new breed of customers and keeping them the longest way possible as loyal clients becomes a priority. Diversified means of exchanges are preferred and would unleash huge self-potential for financial abundance: finance-as-you-access, bartering-as-you-need or alternative means of exchange that will flourish away from a standardized monetary format. The higher the diversity of exchange options the better for multiplying opportunities. This would create less dependency on financial credit since we would access-services-as-we-need-them. In “need” we understand benefits as in not putting a customer at risk of being trapped in a debt cycle. Corporate and governmental circular value creation could therefore be measured as a financial ratio that would calculate people’s “ability-to-benefit-from-the-economy” i.e. ability to financially access our economy, stay within it and grow in beneficial ways within it — instead of the current linear approach of driving people into a life at credit with an “inability-to-pay” mind-set. By designing services according from people’s pecuniary affordability, this could help us designing financial exclusion out;
  2. “Granting access to new forms of manpower (or re-manpower) is innovative”- where today’s work becomes tomorrow’s “activity-for-purpose” i.e. new forms of manpower aiming at creating new types of abundance (water, food replenished soil, CO2 integration, etc.) will appear and be rewarded given their regenerative and beneficial nature. In an economy where maintaining our many stocks of resources is of urgency, manpower — according to Professor Walter R. Stahel — is considered a renewable energy and therefore not be taxed since it becomes a desired resource. We, Humans, are now an endless source of energy that will help us maintain our biological and technical nutrients at their highest value at all times. Innovations would therefore come from a number of diverse activities and new forms of work that companies will create. Manpower could flourish exponentially (the re-manpower effect) by decoupling itself since it would be tax free and rewarded based on a stock replenishment ratio. Rewarded purposeful activities could become the norm since replenishment and circular value optimization would be preferred over the current ones that generate and externalize a number of environmental, social and economic issues in an exponential way.

What experts say about it:

@Janez Potočnik, former EU Environment Commissioner (1st CE Package): “I never forget to mention that angle in my presentations, but you went further and it is worth exploiting this logic.”

RECOGNITIONS:

Thanks to his Circular Economy 2.0 concept and his advocacy work in the circular economy field, Alexandre received the “Highly Commended in Circular Economy Leadership” recognition at “The Circulars 2016”, the premier circular economy award ceremony organised by the World Economic Forum.

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

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