For the 4th GIN symposium in Mexico City, partnership among Sustainability front-runners from academia (EGADE Business School of Tecnológico de Monterrey and University of Twente), business (UNILEVER Mexico) and NGOs (Greening of Industry) aim to facilitate the discussions of multiple stakeholders about the Circular Economy understandings and best practices. Since 1991, greening and sustainability represent the core of GIN with the purpose to support the creation and promotion of innovative perspectives at the business level towards the environmental and societal improvement.
GIN acknowledges the current challenges that businesses face for being competitive and green simultaneously. Hence, the theme for this symposium is on “Circular Economy (CE)” which has proved to bridge economic and environmental performances.
The Circular Economy (CE) tenets are waste reduction and resource efficiency, which try to end the current linear economy model of “taking, making, using and disposing”. The CE’s production and consumption trends favour “closed loop” approaches that see raw materials continually recycled and reused.
The practice of the CE principles calls for taking coordinated action in three areas: the economy, policy & politics, and innovation. Coordination among actors from those areas is crucial for scaling towards the CE. The best progress has been observed in the area of innovation as it was stated in the report of “House of Lords’ Waste Opportunities”, particularly, in novel biomaterials and circular biotechnologies.
One of the fundamental challenges for the circular economy is to strengthen the policy frameworks which lack of strong rule of law in many developing and emerging markets, which restricts investment and business opportunities. It is well known that strong policy and governance decreases risk, making commercial investments in those markets more attractive and safer and creating an enabling environment for responsible business growth.
Moreover, at the regional scale, a circular economy promotes also economic and social innovations to enhance flow of goods and services. One example is community business development, another is introducing local currencies (e.g. BerkShares in the USA). This latter is used within a defined area and promotes demand for local goods and services. The main local currency benefits are: (1) self-sufficiency and community interdependence; (2) independence from financial systems which are mostly far from local control and benefit; (3) reducing transportation costs of products, and; (4) reduction of carbon emissions.
Social, economic and eco-technological innovations represent an enormous niche of business opportunities along rolling out the CE tenets. Although it is still a long way to observe the suitable conditions for its blossom. In view of that, the core question driving the aim of this symposium is:
This question on the theme “Circular economy inspiring sustainable innovation” will be addressed along the presentations and discussions among stakeholders by sharing experiences illustrating the CE understanding and the conditions for the CE operationalization.