“Closing the Loop”: A Close Look at Circular Economy
Circular economy has gained considerable momentum in the past couple of years. It entails a restorative and regenerative approach by design and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times (The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2015). By decoupling growth from scarce resource use, circular economy presents both a macro and micro strategy for a sustainable economy with a strong business case in its favor. A new study by the Club of Rome showed that circular economy can help to achieve a 70 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and estimates place circular economy’s economic benefits at anywhere between $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion dollars.
“If we continue with the linear economy we are, to use a technical term, totally screwed” - John Elkington
Circular economy opposes the linear economy and its concomitant “take, make, waste” mentality and instead puts forth circular thinking and a “cradle to cradle” mindset. Going circular can happen through five strategies: reduce, reuse, recycle, renew and reinvent. In the documentary, “Closing the Loop”, these five approaches to circular economy are explored by taking a look at the businesses that have implemented them in practice. Dr. Wayne Visser, the BASF-Port of Antwerp-Randstad Chair in Sustainable Transformation at Antwerp Management School in Belgium, travels to countries in Europe, South America, and Africa to see first-hand how they have gone circular and how they are planning to sally forth towards zero waste. In addition, he talks to global experts from business executives to journalists and academics about the importance of circular economy and the possibilities it offers.
The businesses portrayed in the film range from large corporations such as M&S, General Motors, and Interface to SMEs that are managing their activities around the idea of circularity and even include cities that are moving towards circular economy. The movie emphasizes on the urgency of the problem as well as the business opportunity it provides to the most perceptive of executives. In the movie, it is argued that circular economy can be more apposite for developing countries given that most of these countries are not pinned down by already established industries, and therefore, can move to circular economy faster than the developed countries. Furthermore, the barriers and benefits of going circular are examined matter-of-the-factly at the end of the film to enable the audience to weigh in the pros and cons.
The film is directed by a two-time Telly® Award and Emmy® Award winning filmmaker Graham Sheldon and presented by global sustainability expert, Professor Wayne Visser. “Closing the Loop” is the world’s first feature-length documentary film on circular economy and provides useful insights into the inner workings of this emerging field. I recommend watching “Closing the Loop” to circular economy buffs and sustainability experts. You can start watching on Amazon (US or UK) or Vimeo (worldwide).
More information on the film is available at www.closingtheloopfilm.com and anyone can get permission to arrange a free screening event by contacting the filmmakers via the website. Already more than 100 events in around 40 countries are planned.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (2015). Delivering the circular economy: a toolkit for policymakers. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation.