Engaging in the Circular economy within organisations

How to adapt as an organisation to the concept of Circular economy?

In February 2020 we organised an international Business Think Tank to start providing answers to that question and learn about the current state of understanding and experiencing of the concept of Circular economy in our organisations. 

We had a very lively and productive discussion (messages posted per minute were significantly above our reference norm) with just more than 20 participants from Europe and North America.

Today, a significantly exerted pressure from society to move towards a circular and sustainable business model is only felt by half of participating organisations. Its impact in terms of adapted vision, strategies or values are declared rather low (30%) as taking internal action and advocating is limited. However, a few organisations successfully take innovative measures for a more circular and sustainable business. Interesting enough, all participants expect corporate organisations to significantly take more initiatives and move ahead to a circular and recycling shaped model.


The key hurdles for change are first of all the perceived lack of financial incentives. Indeed, today customers are not ready to pay for sustainability. People’s behaviour have not adapted and furthermore, access to low cost resources makes it hard to move away from.

Change is needed at 3 levels:

  1. Overall, a fundamental rethinking of business models, products and economic system is suggested for corporations to improve a move to circular and sustainability. A coalition of winning initiatives may help to push forward this agenda item.
  2. According to participants, a necessary condition are new governments’ policies based on vision, strong fiscal supporting measures as well as other financial incentives and/or penalties.
  3. Businesses are expected to pro-actively lead their change towards circularity and sustainability. They are expected to lead the change: have a vision, a clear roadmap and communicate it both internally and externally. But this will only succeed if corporate “educates”: the culture is adapted at the same time and that implies new behaviour and results being measured, rewarded and sanctioned. Finally, corporations are expected to focus on eco-efficiency actions: reduce energy and other resources, develop products for circularity, adopting clever mobility policies and allowing for more remote working.