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Circular Economy

Good discussion on changes needed for a sustainable economy

I had the pleasure last night of speaking on a panel at the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Our topic was broad, the sustainable economy and what can/might drive it.

Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy & Sustainability Services kicked off with a good speech on the state of play and a new way of looking at sustainability strategy.

Then I was invited to comment along with Emma Howard Boyd, director of stewardship, Jupiter Asset Management and Niall Dunne, chief sustainability officer at BT.

We focused a lot on a reality check of where the sustainability movement in business is today, but also tried to come up with some solutions and predictions on what will drive the next phase of sustainable business.

(continues below)

Don’t get them mixed up people

As Peter Lacy put it, it’s about moving from incrementalism to transformation in sustainable business.

Very hard to do as we all know. My contribution, having had a bit of a rant about silly terminology in the field and the limitations of the consulting world, was to point out that we are seeing companies we’ve never heard of, committing to genuinely game changing targets. I used the example of Wilmar.

Later I tried to encourage the other speakers to fund further research as to how we get beyond wonderful but small company examples, such as Interface (check out my eight part podcast series with the company here) to a much larger scale. (Here’s a recent blog post on Interface)

My three minute bit is about 46 mins in with a bit more later.

We all agreed the notion of the circular economy is a good, simple (in concept) way of looking at how R&D, design, manufacturing and re-use can work.

Niall Dunne from BT offered this example, which is worth a look (short, quite cool video on BT’s sustainable home hub product, despite the sometimes painful 1980s style rap rhymes)

Here’s the video, the panel starts about 20 minutes in. I hope you have time to watch it. We had some good reviews on twitter, if that means anything.

Finding True North for a Sustainable Economy

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the Blog mention of the BT Home Hub 4 video. It took a great deal of prior R&D input to achieve this but we have already moved the standards higher. We certainly haven't ceased innovation in the application of the principles of the Circular Economy. – Matt Polaine, Lead Researcher, Circular Economy, BT.