We hear a lot about efficiency, but not enough about circular economy. Which is strange, because circular economy is a no-brainer in my view. Starting a conversation with efficiency is starting in the wrong place, in a use-it-up and throw-it-away kind of place. Starting a conversation with circular economy starts it in a better place.
First we had recycle, when we knew we had to reduce the amount of stuff being "thrown away", usually into landfill.
Then we had repair and recycle. Why throw it away at all if you could repair it, delaying the inevitable moment when it would have to be thrown away?
Then we had reuse, repair and recycle, when we could turn an existing object to a new use, or repurpose it, when it was no longer suitable for its previous use.
Then we had reduce - use less of something - less in equals less to throw away at the end.
All these were about efficiency - reducing the amount thrown away for each unit of material that was an input to produce a thing we first started to use.
So we had reduce - reuse - repair - recycle.
Now we need to reconceive - to re-imagine the whole. Not just the inputs and outputs from a process, but a holistic approach to our need/want and how it is satisfied (or redirected) between self and surroundings. That's what will bring a circular economy. When the first question is about the relationship between self and non-self. Between Me and Us and All (all living things, all material things and the only world we will ever fully experience - the planet). In this re-imagining, we are not only served by the circular economy, but we are also a servant to it as well. In the same way that there are numerous symbioses in nature, we are part of the circular economy, contributing to it as well as receiving from it. This is a new mindset. One that will help us find a sustainable future together, rather than a narrow, efficient but ultimately unsustainable one.
The Planetary CFO - working towards a sustainable World Balance Sheet.