Today (19 March), Circle Economy, an Amsterdam-based social enterprise, with generous support from eBay Foundation, will launch Circle Lab, an online platform that utilises the power of the crowd to solve universal challenges with circular solutions. “Circle Lab is an ideation platform that leverages and combines the power of crowdsourcing with circular economy expertise, in an open access environment, to create circular solutions. If you are a problem solver, circular enthusiast, policy maker or finance specialist – Circle Lab is the place to make a real impact,” said Harald Friedl, CEO of Circle Economy.
The circular economy is a concept that provides new business strategies and economic policies to create value again and again and aims to achieve inclusive economic, social and environmental prosperity within the planet’s boundaries. The launch of Circle Lab follows the news that the global economy is only 9.1% circular and that the current linear system of production is failing people and the planet. “eBay has been at the heart of the circular economy since its founding over 20 years ago. The eBay Foundation believes that by using the power of technology to bring people together, the circular economy can help fuel the future of commerce. We are proud to support Circle Lab, a platform that accelerates creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial action towards a more circular economy,” said Amy Millington, President of eBay Foundation.
During the past five years, Circle Economy has worked on hundreds of business cases, and supported businesses, cities and regions in imagining a new “circular future”. After bringing to life countless pilot projects, they have identified the need for a platform that not only captures ideas and encourages collaboration, but also ensures that those ideas see the light of day and are actually implemented.
During a successful market validation phase last year, Circle Lab brought together a community of nearly 14,000 and co-created unique reverse logistics solutions for the mobile phone industry. Following this phase, Circle Economy launched the open-access knowledge portion of Circle Lab in August of 2017. The knowledge hub has since brought together nearly 2,000 circular economy enthusiasts who are now using the hub’s 750 case studies to share and further learn about the topic. “The launch of the knowledge hub and results of the market validation showed us that there is a high demand for a global community to engage and co-create circular solutions. The addition of a challenge environment is the next step,” said Friedl.
Circle Economy aims to mobilise a global community of circular economy experts, innovative entrepreneurs, forward-thinking businesses, citizens, cities and governments through Circle Lab. The power of this online accelerator for circularity comes to life by:
- Harnessing the global power of the crowd in a unique, open access, collaborative environment.
- Providing expertise to identify and accelerate circular solutions to the most pressing challenges of today.
- Ensuring that the best solutions see the light of day with support from local incubators to assuring implementation locally and shared learnings globally.
Also today the platform will launch its first challenge, hosted by Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Event Campus and the Glasgow Convention Bureau and Major Events team at Glasgow Life. This challenge will focus on how small to medium-sized businesses can improve the legacy of major city events and conferences. The city of Glasgow sees the circular economy as an essential tool to ensure that the city remains liveable, offers employment to its growing population, and attracts innovation. With the help of Circle Lab, they can provide a challenge that has a broad appeal to a diverse range of sectors and industries and to tackle a challenge faced by cities worldwide, enabling solutions that arise to be implemented both locally and internationally. Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is great potential for the circular economy to create a future-proof and resilient Glasgow through innovative ideas that will provide economic and social benefits to our city.”
Glasgow regularly hosts major events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Celtic Connections to this year’s European Championships, and has recently achieved a hat-trick of events industry award successes, reinforcing the city’s reputation. Whilst these events undoubtedly already benefit the city, there is still a significant financial opportunity for businesses to embrace and to prolong the impact made by these events. We look forward to seeing ideas from across Glasgow and the world coming together on Circle Lab to generate new methods that will change the way we host events and the way we collaborate.
The circular economy has the power 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. By breaking down information silos and fueling cross-industry collaboration and innovation, Circle Lab is calling upon a global community to engage and participate in creating a visionary future for the world.