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The circular economy is quite a new concept to the general public, but if you think about it, it’s using natural resources smartly and not producing waste. Humankind has been doing it for thousands of years. It’s only since the Industrial Revolution that we’ve changed the way we do things

basic resources for their work. The company is now collecting

in developed countries, although it might face lobbies at first,’

uniforms from AccorHotels to provide people in rural India with

comments Jules. ‘Medicines are really hard to recycle, but those

textiles.

sitting on your shelf are just money sleeping or thrown away.

‘The majority of projects we’ve seen so far are start-ups because transitioning to a complete circular model for big companies is a big change and takes time,’ says

Keeping them in the loop is better for both the economy and the environment.’ From what the pair has seen, the Netherlands is

Jules, citing US carpet maker Interface as an

one of the most advanced countries in

example of a large company that took

terms of the circular economy. Jules

the plunge. When the CEO, Ray

was impressed by the number

Anderson, decided to switch

of projects they uncovered in

from a ‘take-make-waste’ to

only a week there. Examples

a circular model in 1994,

are

its share price dropped

Fairphone,

which

manufactures an easily-

drastically, but today it

reparable

phone,

is a world leader in the

and Philips with its

carpet industry.

circular project. Jules

Another purpose of

the

admits

world

tour is to look at

less

the

France.

differences

between

circular

economy

initiatives

in

emerging

developed

the

and

developed

in

However, government

an energy transition

countries. countries

the

is stepping in with bill that encourages a

Jules observes that in emerging

that

circular economy is

circular economy.

the

So far, the team has

circular economy often goes

already

hand in hand with social goals, such as access to electricity or

140

25 conferences in universities and

poverty reduction. While most of the

made over 100 connections between

initiatives they have come across could be replicated anywhere, they would have to be adapted

uncovered

circular economy projects, given

initiatives. When the tour ends in August, Circul’R will continue to promote the circular economy,

to the local culture, legislation and people, and because their

but to complement this, Jules and Raphaël plan to launch a social

needs diverge, some models from emerging countries wouldn’t

business with a global reach in Paris. ‘The way we do things now

have the same purpose as in developed countries. One example

is not sustainable. Companies will have to either adapt or die.

is a project in Senegal called JokkoSanté which launched

Those that change before the others will have a key advantage,’

a mobile App that acts as a virtual pharmacy distributing

says Jules. Drawing on their expertise and knowledge, their social

surplus medicines to poor people. People can return unused

business will help companies looking to develop activities along

medicines to a pharmacy and get points to use through the

circular economy principles by providing them with consultancy

App in exchange for medicines they will later need or to give to

and training, and help accelerate the development of circular

people who can’t afford them. ‘This initiative could be replicated

economy start-ups by giving them easier access to financing. I

Above: the landfill in Mbeubeuss, Senegal receives 2,000 tons of waste everyday

info

- july / august 2016 - 51

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