Our current system is not longer working for businesses, people or the environment, thats why the SDG’s promote the elaboration of disruptive solutions that allow prosperity of the people and the planet. In this search, must of the times change makers come up with a the same promising proposal, the Circular Economy. A system that generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.
According to Ellen MacArthur, circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. But to make the transition it not only means reducing the negative impacts of the linear economy, it requires a global systemic shift for business models and the production processes redesigning their entire supply chain.
Circular Economy promotes the use of as many biodegradable materials as possible in any manufacturing process so they can get back to nature without causing environmental damage at the end of their useful life. If using these materials is not possible, its necessary to reintroduce them into the production cycle and compose a new piece, going for zero waste. Even if thats neither possible, this material is expected to be recycled, always finding it a sustainable usage.
Besides changing private business models, circular economy is supported by entrepreneurship too, with different projects of different sector getting attention nowadays. 2 outstanding ones: Fairphone and Teemil
The Fairphone is a smartphone developed by the dutch company of the same name that engages a holistic circular design. It’s changing not just the way smartphones and electronics can be produced but also consumer practices around the world based on the real meaning of “fair.
From the beginning of the supply chain process, the phone is produced with recycled and environmental friendly materials, later manufactured in fair working conditions for employees and following waste reduction, and at the end, it provides a modular design. This means all pieces are totally replaceable and purchasable if its required, having the highest score of repairability by the web page iFixit.
On the other hand, there is Teemil, a project that aims to the fashion industry, and industry with a significant negative environmental impact, having a production process that turns old t-shirts into new ones and regenerates natural systems. This supply chain increases material utilisation, reduces chemical and water inputs and emissions, and shares the benefits with customers and other businesses, spreading the message. They are even collaborating with different brands to produce t-shirts in real time after they’re ordered, all designed to be sent back and remade when they’re worn out.
Projects like this are changing the system, the consumer way of thinking. We need to disrupt the system, transform all the elements of the it, how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving economy that can provide prosperity of the people and the planet.