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February 20, 2018updated 12 Apr 2021 2:23pm

New online platform to drive circular economy

A non-profit organisation in the Netherlands is to launch a new online platform that aims to mobilise a global community of cities, businesses, and citizens to solve universal challenges with circular solutions.

By Beth Wright

A non-profit organisation in the Netherlands is to launch a new online platform that aims to mobilise a global community of cities, businesses, and citizens to solve universal challenges with circular solutions.

With a focus on end-of life and systems redesign, Amsterdam-based Circle Economy aims to achieve a zero-waste industry by developing and establishing a commercial and scalable model for closing the loop on post-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer textiles. It has previously received funding from C&A Foundation, the corporate foundation affiliated with global retailer C&A, to the tune of EUR250,000 (US$278,000) in 2016.

Now, on 19 March, it will launch Circle Lab, an online platform that it says will help everyone, from entrepreneurs to big brands, help play a role in making the circular economy a reality.

Alongside its launching challenge initiator Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the non-profit will hosting the first challenge, ‘How can small to medium sized local businesses improve the legacy of major city events and conferences?’

“Nearly two years ago we started on a journey to create a platform that would enable the mass adoption of the circular economy and empower everyone, from kids to grandparents, to play a role in creating a circular economy on a global scale,” says Circle Economy. “As trends in nationalism and dissatisfaction of globalisation, that started nearly 30 years ago, continues to rise we are seeing the need, more than ever, for collaborative and inclusive solutions to the challenges our world is facing today.”

According to the World Economic Forum’s, Global Risks Report 2017 there are five key areas where urgent action is needed, the non-profit adds. Among those are rebuilding communities, so that we can “find inclusive ways to bridge sharp cultural divides while preserving individual rights” and strengthening global cooperation so that we can discover “new collaborative systems to minimise the risks of dramatic social disruption and increasing income disparity”.

With the support of eBay Foundation, Circle Lab aims to address these risk areas that are slowing down the ability to create a visionary future for our planet in three ways:

Open access knowledge

The concept of the circular economy has cultivated countless reports and successful case studies, however, there is no central location to house this knowledge digitally, says Circle Economy. On Circle Lab this “abundance of learnings” will be removed from its current silos and placed in an open access environment for everyone to explore, learn from and become inspired by.

Collective ideation

Through increasing global connectivity we are now able to reach the remote regions of the world that have long been left out of conversations regarding the economic, environmental and social issues we face today. By harnessing the power of the crowd, Circle Lab’s vibrant and diverse online community will be called upon to strengthen, discuss or formulate new, circular solutions to the challenges faced by cities, companies, and individuals worldwide.

Global community

Finally, while workshops and hackathons across the globe are bringing together residents, businesses, and government officials to solve issues that prohibit the adoption of the circular economy locally, upon completion of these events, Circle Economy says there is a lack of momentum to carry on the solutions that these events help to define. Through Circle Lab a global community of circular economy experts, innovative entrepreneurs, forward-thinking businesses, citizens, cities and governments will play a role in ideating, incubating and scaling circular solutions.

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