Tag Archives: circular

Facing Disasters

27 May

For a brief moment I hesitated.

Interviews with survivors of the Grenfell inferno reminded us of the horror and the tragic consequences of an avoidable and predicted disaster.

Last Wednesday the UK’s national news media was dominated by two events – the 1st anniversary commemorations of Manchester’s Arena bombing and the start of the Grenfell Tower fire enquiry.  Both sobering and intensely local.  Both respecting their community responses.

Last Wednesday I also hesitated – but not in the face of any disaster. On that day it might have been timely to reschedule the last two episodes of the Knowing Your Place Series.  It might, perhaps, have seemed right to bring forward the comments on Resilience and defer the scheduled episode on Sustainability.

But no. Manchester’s memorial moments needed no further comment at that sensitive time – the learning can follow.  West London’s respect for Grenfell’s grieving will, we are assured, gain the time it deserves.   Both are about aftermaths.  The ‘Knowing Your Place’ series is more forward looking.   I pressed ahead with publication of Keep on Running – in circles’.

It’s true that proper local consideration of the need for sustainability can be triggered in the pit of disasters.  In Part 8 of the series the primary example is of the renaissance of a rusting and decrepit steel town but, with evidence already to hand, we need hardly wait any longer for the very worst impacts of climate change to strike.  We’ve surely already waited long enough.  Alfred Russel Wallace (a contemporary of Charles Darwin) wrote of man-made environmental damage in 1898.

Working to avoid disasters – to bequeath to future generations an environment in better balance – doesn’t grab media and political attention with the same force as people perishing right now.  Two of the leading approaches to ecological sustainability are rooted in science and economics – and are closely intertwined.  The economist Kate Raworth questions underlying assumptions and Ellen MacArthur asks how resources can be re-used. The answers are being written not by national governments but by citizens, communities, city leaders and their local universities.

If you get the chance to read ‘Running in Circles’, do follow the links to Kate’s and Ellen’s work.  Both will inform future communities and city leaderships who do not want to sleepwalk towards disaster.

The final part of the series, ‘What If?’ will appear, as scheduled, next Wednesday – just in time to complete this primer ahead of the Intelligent Community Forum’s 2018 Summit in London.

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Circular Economy – a natural evolution

30 Sep

Groupe Intellex logoMy blog for the RSA, ‘Circular Economy – let the market decide‘, was prompted by calls for some enabling legislation and stronger market regulation.  Great minds are devoting themselves to puzzling out just what that legislation might look like.

I suggest that the Circular Economy concept is part of a natural evolution and what is needed (if anything) is less disabling regulation – a clearing away of outmoded rules that can (and probably will) be used obstructively.

There may be a case for cautious consumer protection as we enter uncharted waters – but apart from nuanced nudges, long live the evolution!

 

 

2015 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards: Sharing Economy

27 Aug

 

This is the last in our series of blogs for each of the awards categories in the 2015 Digital challenge.   Earlier in the year the Open Call for nominations signaled that the Sharing Economy deserved to be recognized as a significant new category.

NGShortlisthi-resSo, in this final Awards Blog we are delighted to introduce contenders with a wide range of approaches to collaborative endeavours.

The Sharing Economy is all about better use of resources – enabling folks to utilize spare capacity, share talent and expertise, and help individuals and communities to work in greater harmony.

The digital connection is that these projects are often made possible by greater online engagement with systems and platforms to connect resources to needs – and those resources may range from intangibles like expertise and data to tangible assets like a redundant Hard disk Drive or the driveway to your house.

The six 2015 Shortlisted Finalists for our Sharing Economy Trophy are:

Fairsay with eCampaigning Forum – sharing the talent for debating skills and social action.

Just Park – Pre-Book Parking – utilizing the value of your home driveway.

MyNeighbourhood – the Smart City and Sharing Communities initiative in Birmingham

Circular Data Solutions – Large-scale 100% recycling of redundant Hard Disc Drives whilst ensuring that no stored data can be inadvertently recovered or misused and full compliance with Data Privacy legislation.

Roomlala – a flat and room-share platform new to the UK and very popular in student communities where the property rental market needs greater flexibility.

Made Open Monmouthshire from Monmouthshire County Council & Made Open Communications – creating the conditions for communities and businesses to raise challenges, start projects and play a part in tackling the challenges that impact their place.

Research suggests that the emergence of Sharing Economy is a significant step in the long transition towards a more sustainable ‘circular economy’ where resources are not wasted but are re-used or re-purposed – designed to be ‘made to be made again’.

The independent judging panel will review all the shortlisted contenders during September. The winner will be announced at a dinner in the House of Lords following the NextGen 15 event on November 5th.

For details of event sponsorship opportunities contact Marit Hendriks

( marith@nextgenevents.co.uk ) or call David Brunnen on +44 (0) 7714 325 657

 

 

 

Growth – Who Needs It?

20 May

Green sprout in an eggAdam Lusby, Founder of CE-optimal, writing as a guest contributor for Groupe Intellex, tackles a common concern – the addiction of our economic systems to growth.

He argues that the debate should not be between a choice of growth or decline but should more about the way we achieve growth.

Very much in line with the thinking behind the Circular Economy he argues for a more ‘restorative’ economy – and cites natural systems as the best guide.

Full Story here

Tackling Brick Walls – the challenges of Circular Economies

19 May

Brick Wall

 

From our observations following a recent discussion on Sustainability, we suggest that tackling the challenges head on is not an effective use of resources.

 

Given time and the natural inventiveness of citizens and enterprises, today’s brick walls will rot through their own irrelevance – a process that is being accelerated within digitalised economies.

Full Story here

Adapt or Mitigate or Rethink? Creating an environment for fresh thinking

31 Mar

On the day when a report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prompted headline writers to debate Adaptation versus Mitigation we highlight an altogether different approach – one that demands that we rethink the way economies work.

In ‘A few words about a Circular Economy‘ we consider the challenges of communicating fresh ideas in an environment where words like ‘green’ are no longer helpful.   New digitally-enabled capabilities are hastening the end of mechanistic ‘linear’ economics but expertise in understanding Whole Systems’ and ‘Ordered Complexity’ is only just emerging.

Our editorial gives just a glimpse of the potential for fresh thinking being pioneered by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and comments on how we must also rethink our choice of words to describe the journey.

A New Dynamic - coverThe footnotes include a link to ‘Booms and Boomerangs’ – our January review of ‘A New Dynamic’ (the set text for MBA students at the Bradford University School of Management) and other material from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

 

 

A New Dynamic – effective business in a circular economy

24 Jan

A New Dynamic - coverAs the Ellen MacArthur Foundation crew headed to Davos they had at least two reasons to be cheerful; Unilever joining the foundation’s ranks of enlightened major players and the publication of their latest MBA textbook, ‘A New Dynamic’.

The Circular Economy concept has been well rehearsed  – notably in brilliantly animated productions for schools – and this new book is very much directed at graduates and business strategists.  It not only gives a thorough grounding in the concept’s gestation – how economies must move on from the wastefulness of outmoded ‘linear’ models – but also maps the scale of new sustainable opportunities.  This goes way beyond conventional recycling – it heralds both an entirely new way of designing products and the ways that these products (or the use of them) will be delivered to future consumers.

Converting the radical Circular Economy concepts into reality is a long term challenge that will increasingly be addressed by the enterprise managers of tomorrow.  Volatility in raw material and energy prices is just one of the drivers behind the shift from Ownership to Access and shifts in design to enable ‘things that are made to be made again’.

In ‘Booms and Boomerangs‘ we review ‘A new Dynamic’ in the context of Irene Ng’s ‘Value & Worth’ and John Kay’s recent RSA Journal essay ‘Circular Thinking’.