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Design and the Circular Economy

March 31, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Today, most of our designs for consumer products and packaging only survive a very short time, usually a few uses. In industries like fashion and plastics, more than 80% of materials end up in landfill or have negative consequences for our ecosystem. In our linear world, we extract precious natural resources, use them briefly, then take them out of circulation in our economy, along with all the creativity, labour and energy that was invested in them in the first place.

There has got to be a better way. A more efficient and productive approach for creating our products, services and systems, grasping the intricacies of the bigger picture and being inspired by a vision that will serve us better in the long run.

The circular economy is that solution. It provides the economic framework for eliminating waste and pollution from the start, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating our natural systems. The more “circular” we become, the better it is for everybody—for customers, businesses, society and the ecosystem. And in this system, design is the key in creating the next phase in building more sustainable solutions for people and meeting their needs within this perfect regenerative system.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, becoming circular is almost within our reach. To get there, our society needs to take the step of ending its dependency on scarce natural resources and embrace circular economy principles as the foundation of economic growth. That means thinking differently about how we create the products, services and systems around us. Ensuring waste and pollution are designed out of the system and prioritizing circular economy principles in all of our designs.

Design needs to take a firm stand on the issue. Getting to where we need to be is going to take time. And while much still needs to be figured out, our industry must make a start and get on the path to a more resilient economic future by securing a profound and permanent connection with nature.

Design and the circular economy is our future. Join us in the conversation.

Thibaut Wautelet
Project Manager at Positive ImpaKT

Thibaut is a passionate sustainability leader at the interface of circularity and innovation. He loves to challenge the status-quo to strive the transition towards a regenerative, resilient & circular economy. His leitmotiv: "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." (Wayne Dyer).

As project manager at Positive ImpaKT, Thibaut contributed to several strategic circular economy projects in Luxembourg, including the national zero-waste strategy and a national guide for sustainable neighborhood development. Since 2018, he is in charge of leading the international initiative called Product Circularity Data Sheet (PCDS) launched by the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg, which aims at developing an industry standard for communicating circularity data of product throughout the supply chain.

Prior to Positive ImpaKT, Thibaut worked five years in the automotive industry, holding different positions in R&D and in Business Model Innovation.

He holds a Master of Science in Engineering as well as a Master of Business Administration.

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