1. Why does this topic have to be on the agenda of every company? Or to put it another way: Why is it worthwhile?
Looking back in the history of man, the principal and most original forms of economy were circular. Today, we’ve come a long way, but have we really advanced that far? The last two years have shown us how fragile our modern supply chains are and how our production processes depend on a multitude of constraints and impacting factors to work out perfectly fine. So our economic actions today are not just not sustainable, but also unstable, and therefore highly dangerous – in a short term as well as a long term perspective. This calls for all of us in responsible positions to think about changing the paradigms; for the sake of what we intend to leave to our children and grandchildren, yes, but also more immediate – for our sake and the positive, stabilizing, and stimulating impacts we can create through circularity even in the short and midterm.
Our economic actions today are not just not sustainable, but also unstable, and therefore highly dangerous – in a short term as well as a long term perspective.
2. What are the biggest challenges?
Before I, myself, explored the Circular Economy (CE) in more detail and got into the implementation, I probably would have answered: the necessary foresight. After all, a CE does not just start with us in our companies. Especially in the case of IT and mobile devices, production and procurement already have a significant influence on the life cycle. Today, however, I no longer see implementation as the biggest challenge, but rather the mindset of executives on this topic. Many feel overwhelmed, don't know where to start, and are uncertain about the consequences of the change towards a CE.
3. How would you convince people who are still critical of the topic?
I think there is no need to point out the challenges of achieving a Circular Economy in principal. Challenges that need to be tackled as a society, in combined efforts of politics, enterprises, and people. But given that mountain in front of us, it is a major challenge to define first small sensible goals and steps within the company, and to win supporters and convince contributors to invest from their individual time-budget – not in a client project, a solution or a PoC, but still vague.
4. A thought leader, book, or podcast you would recommend?
To be honest, my approach to this topic is still very much driven and influenced by the original studies and discussions sparked by The Club of Rome publications (together with Dennis Meadows) on the Limits to Growth. Already painting a very dire picture in 1972, nearly 50 years ago, this report pointed – among other points – very clearly towards the effects of depleting nonrenewable resources, of industrial production and pollution that we experience today. But it also indicated, that man can create a society in which we can live indefinitely on earth if man limits himself and his production of material goods to achieve a state of global equilibrium with population and production in carefully selected balance. Today, The Club of Rome is still a valuable source to turn to.
Each and every one of us is initially important in creating an entry point, understanding that we need a change and can make a difference, but, also, that change starts with each of us.
5. What are the key requirements for the Circular Economy to be successful and eventually become the norm?
This is for much wiser people to decide and for experts on that topic to discuss, essentially when we are talking about underlying principles that once might define standards. For me, each and every one of us is initially important in creating an entry point, understanding that we need a change and can make a difference, but, also, that change starts with each of us. If we are lucky enough to run companies or impact decisions on sourcing, sustainability, circularity, and long term strategies, our contribution might be bigger and more forceful, accelerating the advance of showcases and best practices. But in the end, as companies, we need to define and monitor a set of relevant KPIs, that display or better, even quantify the effect and impact of our actions and decisions.
CIRCULAZE, an initiative launched by business network CURAZE, connects pioneers in sustainable business management in Germany and thought leaders to form a network together with the most relevant start- and scale-ups in the field of Circular Economy.
The goal of the community is to establish a powerful ecosystem, to exchange good practices, and inspire each other on the path to an even more sustainable company.
Interested in doing more to promote the Circular Economy and to make it a part of your everyday business? Then consider joining CIRCULAZE.
Made possible with the friendly support of our amazing partners: DB CIRCULAZE is made possible with the friendly support of our amazing partners: DB Cargo, DATEV, 4PCapital, hemmersbach, VP Group, ODDO BHF, DEFACTO, Rödl & Partner, Jack Wolfskin, Beiersdorf, Messe München, and foodaffairs.