By Katie Hans
On March 19th, 2018, Circle Economy will launch Circle Lab, an online platform that aims to mobilise a global community of cities, businesses, and citizens to solve universal challenges with circular solutions. We believe that the circular economy has the potential to change the world and the time is now to bring the concept to the kitchen table so that everyone, from entrepreneurs to big brands can, play a role in making it a reality. Alongside our launching challenge initiator Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, we will be hosting the first challenge, “How can small to medium sized local businesses improve the legacy of major city events and conferences?”
Nearly 2 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. 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 5 key areas where urgent action is needed. 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 our 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. 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.
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. We believe that everyone has a role to play in creating the circular economy. 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.
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. However, upon completion of these events, 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.
Many of you may have already participated in the Mobile Mining Challenge, the first challenge of its kind, during which we sought to find solutions that utilise reverse logistics to collect mobile phones. Challenge winners, eWaste Arcades have since partnered with mobile phone service provider KPN to collect mobile phones during major ice skating events throughout the Netherlands. The phones that have been collected were recycled and the recovered materials are now being used to make the medals for the Dutch ice-skating Championship in 2018, an inspiring example of how ideas can be brought to life by bringing together the right partners and nurturing the right ideas.
“I was inspired by the creativity of the eWaste Arcades concept[…]. We have since placed the arcade games at every major ice skating event we sponsor throughout the country and are proud to be playing a role in bringing the circular economy to life by creating medals from the e-waste collected for the 2018 Dutch ice-skating Championship.”
– Maurijn Wognum, Manager Trading Mobile Devices, KPN
Through Circle Lab, we continue to create circular solutions such as this by breaking down information silos and fueling cross-industry collaboration and innovation to turn intent into action and close the circularity gap.
Join us on our journey and play your part in creating the circular economy.
Circle Lab has been made possible in part by a grant from the eBay Foundation Corporate Advised Fund, a corporate advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.