Meaningful Business (MB:) Can you explain what the Circular Economy is in one sentence?
Martin Allen Morales (MM:) The Circular Economy is a way to design, make and use products and materials within the boundaries of our resources, keeping them in use, eliminating waste, regenerating natural systems and ending the take-make-waste model which currently prevails.
MB: Who needs to engage with this within businesses?
MM: Circular innovation companies perform more strongly than linear ones and withstand volatility better in the long term as they:
a. Accelerate growth: Spur innovation of new products and services where nothing is wasted. Reduce operating costs by creating additional income from waste.
b. Enhance competitiveness: Beat linear products in terms of cost of goods by using AI and technology to improve efficiency and reduce waste. Engage customers and employees by differentiating from the linear competition.
c. Mitigate risk: Adapt business models to address economic changes, resource scarcity, commodity price volatility, consumer pressure, new policy changes and PR disasters caused by negative linear practices.
The economy and operating system for the way we work is currently 99% linear and so everyone involved in business needs to transition to a circular economy. This is because in its true form the circular economy has a focus not just on regenerating natural systems but it also seeks renewed social and economic balances for all. So everyone within a business needs to consider all these aspects to, as shown above, ensure the performance of the business maximised, all stakeholders including partners and suppliers are engaged and incentivised, the wellbeing of their teams are considered and their products and services are as attractive as possible for its customers.
MB: Why is the circular economy gaining so much momentum and attention now?
MM: Climate change is real and we are in a health, economic, environmental and employment crisis. The pandemic has shown us that we have an opportunity now to build back in a better way to ensure that our companies are resilient to future challenges, our systems don’t collapse and we can manage future crises better. As a result smarter governments, cities, countries and companies are increasing their circular focus to make it the chosen method of working, operating and thinking. Large corporations are signing up to circular economy models and beginning to slowly pivot and transform but it’s the new companies and innovators that are the ones forging ahead fast with new ideas and ground breaking, pioneering innovation.
Photo credit: Michelle Marshall for Something Curated
MB: After a successful career across many industries, what drew you to focus on circularity?
MM: I loved my granny. She was an environmentalist and social purpose leader admired by her community. She taught me about sustainable, regenerative, fair trade, co-operative farming and zero waste way before it was cool. That’s because it was crucial to her Andean indigenous community and the land she worked on and she knew that wherever I lived in the world, I’d use this knowledge to make others happy. And so that’s what I do. This combines with my deep respect and appreciation for mother nature, my frustration with an out of control consumerist system, my growing knowledge of the circular economy and solutions, and my passion for purpose-led business.
To see the change I wish to see I knew I couldn’t carry on working solo; we had to create a collective, and then an organization. At 2N Management, we are pro-active changemakers using circularity as a vehicle to help innovators reach success, have hit products and services and change our system into a conscious consumerist society.
MB: Given its relevance, how can we make the circular economy more of a mainstream and practical conversation?
MM: We can do this by the following 9 ways:
- By understand that systemic change is needed. No single product, method nor person will solve the crisis we are in.
- By creating vehicles for values-aligned, funding, skills, people and expertise.
- By using behavioural science to understand consumer behaviour.
- By creating accessible communication that move from academic to practical application communication.
- By focusing on inclusivity.
- By building trust and transparency showing financial ROI as well as social and environmental ROI.
- By building resilient circular companies that perform more strongly than linear ones and withstand volatility better.
- By seeking to change policy through proven test cases of circular hit products and services
- By collaborating and partnering to drive the circularity ecosystem.
MB: What do you hope that ‘Regenerate’ will achieve?
MM: I hope it will:
- Highlight the beacons, including leading companies, innovators and innovations of the circular economy so as to inspire others..Show how accessible and simple it can be to be circular if the right key methods and guidelines are followed.
- Show the tangible and immediate benefits that the circular economy provides.
- Become an inclusive hub for the circular economy community and all those interested to know more about it.
- Provide insights both small and game changing which in turn will turn into practical application for all those who engage in some way wit Regenerate.
- Present new ideas, methods and processes which haven’t as yet been highlighted by other circular economy platforms or hubs.
- Help transform businesses and consumers into being more conscious about their work and actions.
MB: What is your call to action for business leaders?
MM: Join us at Regenerate to find accessible, quick and immediate opportunities to enhance your work, business and life. The circular economy is alive and kicking; we are ‘in action’ and fit for purpose. We are looking at the now, and the future, not the past. We are taking the best from the past and either evolving and transitioning or designing from scratch; it’s all valid in the circular economy and we owe it to our company, team, partners, investors, customers and especially our children to make urgent and immediate progress. We must change. Or start again – and at Regenerate you will find both the changemakers and the innovators who will help you get into action.
to join the regenerate community, apply to become a member of meaningful business here