With increasing consumption of needless consumer goods, global supply chain issues and predicted food shortages – the circular economy is a much needed antidote to address impending doom on planet earth.
As humans it’s the perfect time to take stock of our situation. We urgently need to reduce our impact on the planet by using less stuff and closing the loop on the products we make by doing clever things like;
• Redesign product life cycles to either keep materials in flow, or design out waste entirely. Seeing waste bi-products as an opportunity for further product development and new economies.
• Regenerate our land and soils with natives, organic waste and natural fertilisers to help grow bio-diverse natural environments safe from mono-culture and chemicals that degrade our land.
• Redesign manufacturing processes to use less fuel or energy to create things, or even better designed with green energy in mind.
• Develop sustainable and alternative food proteins, like the self-propagating Duckweed, the smallest and fastest growing vegetable on earth that is self-propagating and packed full of micro-nutrients.
• Utilise technology for good, to either scale your idea, monitor and refine your processes, to better predict consumer demands based on data variables to minimise food wastage – ensuring we are producing only what is needed.
There is no waste in nature.
We all know nature has it worked out already, so let’s try and mimic it. It’s just logical, sustainable business thinking and it’s being adopted by the likes of;
the good people at Peregrine Organic Winery. They give their grape harvest waste to their cows who devour it, returning manure for soil enrichment to start the growing cycle again. They also use lambs and chickens to clean up the vineyard after harvest, keeping away pests and helping them avoid nasty chemical sprays.
To the local lady I talked to at the Thames market this weekend – sustaining herself with a dog chew business that utilises unwanted animal hooves, ears and horns – giving a waste product a new life and profit stream.
Meeting customer demands
At the end of the day, reducing your impact helps reduce your customer’s impact. And from a customer perspective they are looking for brands that help them feel (and do) good with their purchase. This is where purpose-led storytelling can help set your credentials as an ethical brand.
87% of customers would like to be informed of companies efforts to address the environmental situation.Forbes
But without creativity, nothing much sticks. Being distinctive, having a strong voice and connecting emotionally or visually are ways to give yourself the best ways to stand out and wake people up to your product or service.
I’m working on an amazing soap product that has redesigned it’s packaging to avoid waste and transporting needless water. A great idea and with scale something that could make real impact. But without a great brand it’s just a commodity that will struggle to connect with potential customers. So from a strategic and creative POV it was a chance to emotionally challenge ourselves and customers to revaluate not just the NeedlessTM stuff in their soap, but also the NeedlessTM stuff in their lives. To make them think and feel.
This creative solution helps align the brand connect to its target customers values. Ultimately giving it the best chance of them choosing it over another brand and actually want it in their lives.
I’m really looking forward to getting around the teams at the X Labs program run by Circularity later this month. 6+ NZ businesses tackling current sustainability problems with circular design. I’m looking forward to helping them design and communicate their solution, as well as provide customer validation insights for when they take it to the board, or to market.
You can also check my listing on the Circular Economy Directory alongside other like-minded businesses helping make a positive impact to the planet.
Circular design. What a time to be alive! Every product or service requires a different solution and redesigning it with purpose and creativity will set you apart from crowd. If you want to move towards a circular future, let’s chat.