Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish positive social impact. A circular economy focuses on reducing waste at all stages of production, whilst also minimising environmental impacts. This month we’re looking at some great initiatives which encourage the reduce, reuse and recycle concept.
Launched in 2010, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation was set up to “accelerate the transition to a circular economy”. The foundation works across a number of different areas to help teach, educate and influence. With many inspiring initiatives in progress, it was their intentions around food caught our eye recently. More than twenty countries (plus London, New York, and São Paulo as Strategic Partners) will be engaged to consider regenerative food systems, eliminating food waste and healthier products. If you're interested, the vision for this work can be found in the Cities and Circular Economy for Food report. We love that so many countries will be engaged in this process, it opens up so many great opportunities to learn from one another and share intentions.
AFRY is an international engineering, design and advisory company who specialise in sustainability and digitalisation. They’re doing some great things to help businesses explore circular economy opportunities by encouraging them to re-use their resources in a closed loop, moving away from the use of new raw materials. An increased population coupled with increasing prices of raw materials, will, AFRY believes, send many businesses seeking out a circular economy approach. Businesses would also do well to remember that many consumers are becoming more conscious about who they buy from, depending on a number of factors, including sustainability credentials.
Just this month (June 2020) Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency announced funding of €600,000 for Irish innovators to come up with “business ready” solutions to support the circular economy. It appears that Ireland is looking to utliise the effects of lockdown which witnessed a number of environmental improvements. There’s arguably never a better time to push innovative thinking: our way of life has been turned upside down and it would be wise to exploit any benefits we might have observed during this extraordinary situation.
Business accelerator Food System 6 has recently announced they’ll be launching a startup program with Huhtamaki, a sustainable packaging company. The two businesses have come together to support entrepreneurs whose businesses encourage a circular economy approach towards our food system. We might expect to see initiatives which challenge the way in which we currently produce food (including promoting waste reduction), or ways in which we can encourage and support local, transparent supply chains. We also might see some propositions which explore new sustainable food sources, similar to the idea of eating insects for protein. We look forward to seeing what they come up with!
Many large consumer driven retailers come under fire when it comes to their ethical and sustainable practices. Often the sheer size of the business can mean they’re prone to large amounts of waste. So we’re interested in seeing what will happen with IKEA’s new partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation: the furniture giant aims to be a fully circular business by 2030. IKEA’s chief sustainability officer is calling it a “transformational shift of our entire business” with plans to ensure that their products can be reused, refurbished, remanufactured, and recycled where necessary. This got us thinking about how important it is to educate consumers about how a circular economy should work. Ultimately it will require action from customers to ensure their purchases are either reused and refurbished and don't find their way into landfill.