All posts by Bi02002

One Planet Loving: Six sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts to woo an environmentalist

Is your potential suitor a sustainability lover? Then check out these ideas for sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts that say ‘I love you (and the planet)’  

1.Show off your non-consumerist credentials and organise a day in nature – find a good green space near you, wrap up warm, grab some food and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors

2. Flowers are an environmental minefield (and only last a week). An air-purifying houseplant is a breath of fresh air!

3. Can’t resist the lure of the traditional box of chocolates? Opt for a Fairtrade, palm oil-free version – Divine has a great range.

4. Helping others more their cup of tea? Gifts in Action has an incredible range of presents to make a difference in the world – from literacy lessons to livestock (is there anything more romantic than a climate-resilient chicken?!)

5. If you were planning on splashing some cash, Cred Jewellery offers gorgeous ethical and Fairtrade jewellery.

6. Sometimes, nothing beats the personal touch (even if you are shockingly uncreative). Handwrite a poem, craft a card (anonymous for true authenticity) or shamelessly steal ideas for handmade gifts from Pinterest (with recycled materials, of course).

Share your ideas for sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts on Twitter with #oneplanetloving

Why Before the Flood is only the beginning of the story

Watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood has got Julia Hawkins thinking –  how can we inspire, rather than scare, people to make sustainable change?

I’ve been avoiding Leonardo DiCaprio of late. It’s not personal – it’s that new film he’s made about the environment, Before the Flood. Like the prospect of reading a George Monbiot column, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it, even though I know it’d make me a better person.

But this week I could no longer put off the inevitable. Acre Resources had kindly invited me and 100 or so other people working in sustainability to a private screening of the film, organised along with the Crowd.

I knew it was time for me to grit my teeth and do my duty as a responsible global citizen. To confront the climate crisis head on. To drink some free wine. So I went.

The film is a personal and humble account of the actor’s attempt to educate himself about the nature and scale of the crisis, and what can be done.

He helicopters over Canada’s deadly tar sands, tiptoes across the increasingly fragile ice of Greenland and dives into oceans to survey decaying coral reefs. He grills solar entrepreneurs, scientists, astronauts – and leaders of cities and island states that will soon be under water.

He talks to global climate champions Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis. And has what now feels like a heartbreakingly poignant chat with then US President Barack Obama about the impact of 2015’s Paris Climate Accords, strolling with him on the White House lawns on a sunny day.

The message was clear: it’s not too late. But if we don’t decarbonise our economies urgently – which means within the next few years, not the next few decades – we are heading for runaway climate change.

The film’s closing shots show DiCaprio urging governments at the end of the Paris talks to follow through with their historic promise: “The world is now watching. We ask you to protect it, or we and all living things we cherish are history.”

It’s a moving ending. But for most of the time I was watching, I have to confess that aside from being occasionally distracted by DiCaprio’s ever-changing facial hair, I just felt depressed and pretty scared.

And being scared is paralysing, not empowering. Yet feeling empowered – and inspired – is exactly the state we all need to be in to leap out of inertia and start transforming our lives to the extent that Before the Flood so clearly describes.

I read Jonah Sach’s brilliant book ‘Winning the Story Wars’ recently. If you haven’t read it yet (and you do really need to), Sachs explains how important stories are for motivating us to make big changes.

Note, these are not the stories told by what Sachs describes as ‘inadequacy marketers’ – that play on our darkest fears, treat us like passive consumers, and pretend they’re the heroes who can keep us safe (think “I will build a wall”).

Instead, they are the type of stories that remind each of us that we can be heroes, that show us how we can develop, mature, and work together to create change (think “Yes we can”). These stories are told by ‘empowerment marketers’. It might sound cheesy, but it’s grounded in neuroscience.

As Before the Flood shows, the science is crystal clear now. But scientists won’t create change. Storytellers – telling the truth, drawing on science, will. As Sachs says: “We have the means to design the future we want; what’s most needed are the stories that will engage millions of people to want to get there.”

I know the world won’t be saved alone just by telling stories – but it’s a good place to start. We need a vision to aspire to. We need to be able to see what a better world looks like, feel it, smell it, taste it, be inspired by it. This will help us to believe that we can all work together achieve it. Because despite the craziness of the past few months, it’s still possible.

So Leo – if you’re reading this, how about making that your next project?

Learn more about One Planet Living

One Planet Goals and Guidance for Companies and Organisations

This document is for any company or organisation (including local governments) that wants to design or transform its customer offer, operations and supply chain, so that it becomes truly sustainable.

You may be a small company, a multinational, a non-profit or public sector organisation. It shows you how One Planet Living can provide a framework for action in any sector – manufacturing, retail, service industry or a local government body for your own services. It also describes the process for co-creating a One Planet Action Plan with your stakeholders.

Click here to download your resource

Please fill in these details to gain access to this resource. We promise not to share them with anyone else and you can ask us to delete them anytime . If you can’t see the email, please check your junk folder. Once you click send, the resource will also be available via link under the send button.

Receive news and insights from Bioregional, and stay up to speed on sustainability

One Planet Goals and Guidance for Communities

This document is for anyone who wants to build or transform a real estate development or tourism destination into a truly sustainable one. You may be a landowner, developer, public body, architect, engineer or community group. It describes the process for co-creating a One Planet Action Plan with your stakeholders. It also tells you where you can get more information, help and training, and how you can become a partner in the One Planet Living initiative.

It lays out the ten One Planet Principles and provides detail on the One Planet Goals and Guidance, Indicators, KPIs and Targets. We describe what these mean in practice and include some tips we have picked up from our experience and that of others who have been using the One Planet framework.

Click here to download your resource

Please fill in these details to gain access to this resource. We promise not to share them with anyone else and you can ask us to delete them anytime . If you can’t see the email, please check your junk folder. Once you click send, the resource will also be available via link under the send button.

Receive news and insights from Bioregional, and stay up to speed on sustainability

One Planet Champions – Derek Bayless and Amelia Malpas at Credo High School

Derek Bayless and Amelia Malpas are two inspiring students at Credo High School, which will soon be based at One Planet Community SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, California. The have been working hard to bring the ten One Planet Principles to the school community and are committed to building a more sustainable future. 

1.How do you use One Planet Living and what do you like about it?

fullsizerender-1Derek: I do my best to involve myself in my work around One Planet Living – which I often juggle with my other schoolwork – and create momentum around sustainability. I use the opportunities that it presents to me, such as getting personally in touch with businesses and organisations and facilitating groups who wish to learn about One Planet Living and what we’re doing. I’ve also been able to attend summits such as Bioneers, and a local Green Teen Youth Summit. All these opportunities inspire me to keep doing the work I’m doing, give me even more opportunities for involvement with businesses, and more ideas for how to exponentially increase One Planet Living’s lasting effect at Credo!

Amelia: One Planet Living has become one of the most exciting and vital programs at our school, in part because it affects so many different disciplines and aspects of life and people feel compelled to participate.

2. What has been your biggest success while using One Planet Living?

Derek: This is hard to gauge because, as a team, our projects and events have been successful, such as our Zero Waste Winter Faire (which raised $200 in cookie sales to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock), and our school-wide eco-brick project. But I’m most impressed with the opportunities for involvement, teamwork and improvement in our school, and I would say that those opportunities represent Credo’s and my own success.

Amelia: Reducing the waste and making the science curriculum more green is one of my primary interests this year. My biggest success has been working with a toxic copper solution in an attempt to neutralise it. Instead of 400 millilitres of toxic waste destined for landfill for each class that passes through 11th grade chemistry, there will soon be next to none.

To detoxify the solution, I used aluminum foil from the garbage bin. There are trade-offs in this new experiment –  it uses more heat, for example – but overall the amount of waste is being significantly minimized. The solution without copper is ammonia and the hope is that it can be used as a harsh cleaning detergent, further making use of this one chemistry lab.

3. What has been your biggest challenge and what did you learn?

Amelia: The biggest challenge is trying to inspire change at the school and the student body through One Planet work without coming across as ‘police’ or snobs.

Derek: My biggest challenge – a side-effect of working in a high school environment – has partly been battling apathy towards sustainable initiative in an academic atmosphere. It is a battle I’m still fighting and learning, through garnering positive attention for small acts of environmentalism and showing a new way to talk about sustainability with younger people who wouldn’t otherwise be concerned.

4. What are you most proud of?

Derek: The progress we’ve already made has undoubtedly already produced a lasting effect within my school community. I am proud to be a part of this initiative in the centre of a group of people striving to move forward and bring the planet along for the ride.

Amelia: I’m most proud of the chemistry experiment and for sharing Credo and One Planet Living with the wider community through writing up an article in a local paper. These are the two activities that I have put the most effort into, and felt the most tangible reward.  

5. What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Amelia: Hopefully 2017 is the year that Credo will move to Sonoma Mountain Village. I will be a senior in the next school year, so I aspire to be a student leader of this process. I’m excited to spend the last year of my Waldorf education engaged with a project that will impact so many students in all the incoming classes.

Derek: I can’t wait to see where this will go. Even in the early stages, the progress being made gives me hope for the future of this initiative, and indeed for the entire human community and the planet.

You can follow along with Credo’s One Planet activities on Instagram

Photo caption: Cookies sold at the Zero Waste Fair raised $200 to support the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Students brought in 265 used items from home and 114 of those were exchanged and happily found new homes. 

Using circular thinking to decode eight great sustainable businesses

We’ve talked a lot about what the circular economy is – and isn’t. Now Claire Brady shows how some businesses have put it into practice to get you inspired!

There are lots of businesses making claims about being sustainable these days and the current trend is to go all out and make a big bold claim about how circular your business is – Ikea, P&G, Unilever to name a few in 2017 already.

In my blog six simple features of circular business models explained, I explored how businesses were starting to use circular thinking into their innovation process to rethink their products, services and ultimately business models and outlined our approach to decoding this through our ‘Six features of circular economy business models matrix’.

In this blog, we are going to examine the circular credentials of eight businesses from well-known global brands and ethical companies to innovative start-ups and disrupters, covering products and services we use daily.

Using our features of circular economy business models matrix, I have looked at these business to explore how they have applied circular thinking to make their business more sustainable, and ultimately (I hope) help to solve some of the big sustainability challenges we face globally. 

1.Patagonia

Why we love them

Patagonia is the outdoor clothing manufacturer which famously told customers not to buy their clothes on Black Friday in 2011. They have incorporated many aspects of circular thinking into their business. From addressing chemical use in their materials, to making durable and repairable products, and encouraging their customers to make use of their repair service, or reuse and recycle items through their Worn Wear programme.

Features: Circular value chain; collection & recycling; durable products; repair services

2. Splosh

Why we love them

Using plant derived and low toxicity ingredients this is more than just your “eco-friendly” cleaning products brand. Splosh has set out to disrupt how we buy our cleaning products. Customers first buy a starter pack containing well-designed bottles and add sachets of concentrated liquid and tap water to make up the product. The bottles can be used repeatedly, with refill sachets delivered by post. Some sachets dissolve completely in the reusable bottle, others can be posted back to to be reused again and again.

Features: Circular value chain; collection and recycling, personalisation & lock in.

3. Nike

Why we love them

It is great to see such a global brand championing circular thinking. They have created their own material named Nike Grind, made from recycled trainers, plastic bottles and off-cuts from the manufacturing process and it is used in over 71% of their range. They also offer a personalised, made to order option.

Features: Circular value chain; recycling, collection & industrial symbiosis; personalisation & made to order

4. Philips – pay per lux

Why we love them

In the Philips pay-per-lux model, Philips installs, maintains and upgrades the lighting system, maintaining responsibility for reusing/recycling the equipment. The customer pays a flat service fee for the lease of the lighting system and energy usage of a specified time period.  This model has been successfully trailed with high profile clients.

Features: Circular value chain; recycling & collection; product service system.

5. Liftshare

Why we love them

Liftshare is the UK’s largest car sharing community. The platform enables people to easily share their journeys, either through finding a driver or someone to share their own planned journey. Liftshare also works with corporate clients including big names like JLR, Diageo, National Grid. During the recent week long Southern Rail strike, more people registered trips between Brighton and London than in the whole of 2015.

Features: Collaborative/sharing economy and dematerialised services

6. ECOR

Why we love them

ECOR is an advanced sustainable building and design material designed to be 100% recycled and recyclable, completely non-toxic and 100% certified bio-based. Made from waste cellulose fibre, heat and pressure (by that we mean waste cardboard, paper etc.). It can be used as an alternative for traditional wood, plywood, corrugated cardboard and plastics. ECOR is already successfully replacing traditional wood-based and plastic materials in many applications including graphics/signage, packaging, construction, architecture and design, furniture, fixtures and consumer products.

Features: Circular value chain; recovery & collection including industrial symbiosis

7. GCycle

Why we love them

A subsidiary of GDiapers – a cradle to cradle certified nappy, GCycle is a new service that includes a 100% compostable nappy/diaper which allows childcare centres to divert around 80% of their waste stream (food waste and nappy waste) from landfill to valuable compost. By replacing the oil-based polypropylene plastic that makes up 80% of a nappy with non-GMO corn starch, the product can be composted. This creates an additional revenue source for childcare centres.

Features: Circular value chain; recovery & collection including industrial symbiosis; modularity & lock-in

8. Boom Eco Mug

Why we love them:

Designed by XD Design the Boom Eco Mug is completely recycled and cradle to cradle certified. No glue is used during the production process, it has been made in a modular fashion and designed for disassembly with each individual part having a symbol to explain how it can be recycled. XD Design have a 2020 Vision to become a 100% sustainable manufacturing company and the Boom Eco Mug is one of several sustainable products in their range.

Features: Circular value chain; recovery & collection including industrial symbiosis; modularity

Each of the business featured above is taking at least one aspect of circular thinking and applying it to their product or service development to make their business more circular. From longer lasting shoes and clothes made with less chemicals and more recycled content to non-toxic cleaning products that you can refill via mail-order and building materials made with absolutely no chemicals, companies are finding innovative ways to get the same great results without the expected negatives.

Other businesses are addressing what seem like intractable problems, such as the frightening levels of waste created by our need for convenience. This is at the root of our reliance on disposable nappies and our obsession with ‘coffee on the go’. Others are challenging us even more, by selling us “light” rather than lightbulbs or taking us away from our love affair with our own cars by enticing us to be like James Corden running our own carpool Karaoke!

If you want some more inspiration on what other leading circular businesses and governments are doing then check out the winners of the 2017 Circular Awards. I hope that it won’t be long before it’s harder to do business with an “unsustainable businesses” than it is to work with one that is on the road to becoming circular.

Check out our blog Six simple features of circular economy business models explained

See our work on the Circular Economy

What’s your favourite circular business? Tweet us @Bioregional #thinkcircular

Six simple features of circular economy business models explained

We hear a lot of questions about the circular economy and how to embed it in a business. To make things clearer, Claire Brady identifies – and explains – six simple features of circular economy business models (in a handy matrix!)

As humans, we like simplicity – so we like neat solutions to problems. This is probably why it’s appealing to define the circular economy simply as closed-loop production, as many seem to do.

If you’re new to the concept of ‘closing the loop’, I define it as collecting post-consumer waste, recycling it and turning it back into the same product (or if we are being less pure then turning it into something new).

But while closing the loop plays a critical role in the circular economy story, the two concepts shouldn’t be conflated. Thinking of it solely in these terms misses out the truly transformative potential of circular thinking.

To understand the full potential of the circular economy I reviewed a wide range of useful circular economy business model frameworks and tools, including those created by Forum for the Future, WRAP and Accenture. I also reviewed the draft BSI circular Economy Standard.

Across all these versions I identified six simple features of circular businesses which are presented in the matrix below. These are grouped into three categories: features that relate to processes, features that relate to product-life extension, and finally features that relate to service models.

To make your business circular you will need at least one of the features outlined below; although bear in mind that the presence of any one feature on its own is by no means a guarantee that your business is now circular.

Download our guide to help your business get cracking on the circular economy

From my perspective, it is a misnomer to suggest there is such a thing as a “circular” business model that you can just take off a shelf, apply to your business, and hey presto – suddenly your business is “circular”. It is more the case that through increasing your circular thinking and understanding, you can correctly apply one or more of the features outlined below to make your business more circular. I would also argue that for an incumbent business, this is going to be an iterative process, starting with small pilot projects to test out ideas and then moving onto more fundamental rethinking of the entire business purpose and operating model.

Bioregionals-circular-economy-business-models-features

I hope this matrix shows that closing the loop is by no means the Holy Grail of the circular economy. Taking such a narrow perspective on the circular economy, focused solely resource efficiency and designing out waste, is clearly not going to address the major sustainability problems that we face.

When we take into account all the different dimensions of circular economy business models we begin to see just how transformative it could be – from totally rethinking the design process, to enabling fairer access to products and services through collaborative consumption.

Circular thinking could completely change the way we work, consume and even travel, and in my opinion has the potential to enable us to live happier, healthier lives within the means of our one planet. However, for businesses, governments and others to maximise the potential of circular thinking we need to ensure we are taking into account all the dimensions outlined above.

This may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Watch this space for another blog that explains how to get started on circular thinking.

This is the first of a two-part blog on circular economy business models. The second blog provides more detailed examples of companies that are employing different aspects of the circular economy in their business models.

Check out our Twitter Chat about how to get started on the circular economy.

Learn more about Bioregional’s circular economy services

Have a comment on our matrix? Email us on claire.brady@bioregional.com

Tom Schuurman

Head of Finance and Resources
Tom leads our finance and resources department with a focus on developing efficient and effective systems to help Bioregional champion a better way to work and live.
Previously at the Institution of Structural Engineers, Tom has over 10 years’ experience working within the not-for-profit sector. He has always tried to use his professional qualifications to benefit communities.
 
Coming from a farming family and growing up on a smallholding in South Africa, the value of nature and caring for the environment were embedded in Tom from an early age. He is a great fan of researching new technologies and opportunities which could be of benefit to others. Recently, he encouraged his cousin to install solar panels on their fruit farm. The installation of solar panels has reduced their carbon footprint, by mainly using sustainable energy to power the cold storage facilities.

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