Circular Economy, Cradle to Cradle, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Day Two: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 Workshop in Krickenbeck, Germany

Before I launch into a review of the day, let's take a look at our digs for the event. It's a castle. Yes, a castle. 

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Sunrise at the castle. 

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A room with a view. 

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The dining room. In our room…Yes a dining room. 

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The living room. In our room.

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And finally a place to sleep. The room in it's entirety is larger than our flat at home. I lost Kim for a full 30 minutes in here. 

Then we move into the common areas of the place.  

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The chapel becomes a bar / lounge…

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The TV has been replaced by an ocean of alcohol. 

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Google's research. 

 

Co:Projects. 

 

Grappling with issues of never-ending consumption and under-utilisation of all the stuff we own. 

 

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Wrapping up a "Troika" process. Super valuable. 

The City of London's efforts to get Circular. 

And finishing with the beginning in mind, today we started with a 6 km run. I am not sure I've been at a conference where so many runners came together. impressive!   

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Circular Economy, Cradle to Cradle, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Krickenbeck, Venlo

Day One: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 Workshop in Krickenbeck, Germany

The April Summit is being held in Krickenbeck, Germany in a forest, in a castle. As you do.

The Foundation's work is to bring the Circular Economy to life.  With gCycle, we are definitely in the right place and based on meetings last week in London and conversations on Day One here, there is a momentum around all things Circular, especially in Europe. Interestingly a friend from the US is doing something similar to us – an extreme focus on the UK and EU rather than the US to grow his Circular business such is the support / interest of it in these parts. 

Day One started with a tour of Venlo, NL a delightful town that is the very first Cradle to Cradle city in the world. gDiapers was the very first Cradle to Cradle certified consumer packaged good way back in 2007 so the principles are close to our hearts. Seeing the way the design principles have been incorporated into Venlo's new town hall was pretty remarkable. The building essentially breaths thanks to a solar chimney up top and internal and external vertical gardens. All the furniture – most by Herman Miller, was sold to the City for a 10 year period. After that time, Herman Miller buys it back for a predetermined price. During the 10 years, Herman Miller maintains the furniture. The furniture company will collect and repurpose rather than send to landfill. The air quality internally is better than externally and absenteeism is down. The building started saving the Town money as soon as it was built. They have gone on to build an elementary school and other buildings using this process. 

We then hit Ecor – a fellow Circular Economy 100 company who takes any cellulose fibre and creates a range of building and other products. It is beyond clever. Read their own write up about the time we spent with them here. They are one amazing company. 

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The original Town Hall. 

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The snazzy new Town Hall. Note the Solar Panels up top. 

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Fabulous furniture. 

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Internal gardens. The temperature in this space perfectly self-regulates. 

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Looking upwards, a central column allows air flow. 

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Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 

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Groovy Staircases. 

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A seat so cool I am not totally sure how to sit in it. And a mouse & keyboard looking for a monitor. And someone forgot their handout. 

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At Ecor we saw the process in action. An absolute Waste to Resource game changer. Slightly concerned about their gardening skills. 

We headed to Krickenbeck to check in and hear about Google's progress in creating healthy spaces for Googlers. I had no idea our indoor environments were just so bad for us. We also heard a progress update from the Foundation on their work with the EU and UN to garner support for the Circular Economy.  We wrapped up with dinner which included a chocolate fountain dessert.  I may or may not have returned to it 6 times. It's hard to remember after all the chocolate. 

This is a great community of action-oriented innovators with the ability to really change the world. Looking forward to Day Two.

Conferences, Cradle to Cradle, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

First week down in London

Last week was jam packed full of meetings. And there were tailwinds for us too. The UK Government announced significant funding to end single-use plastic waste, Sky (yes, Murdoch's outfit) announced their own funding to support new technologies to end ocean plastic waste and the full impact of China's ban on importing recyclables from around the world is now starting to hit home. And it's not pretty as stockpiles of waste start accumulating. 

We started north of London at Cranfield University and their Graduate students who are working with us on our gCycle business modelling. 

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I like to call it Strategery…

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We met with Milton Keynes council to figure out their nappy waste issues. Note the sustenance we offered from Australia. 

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Kim got all MBA like on us and started writing stuff on the white board. Really hope she didn't use a permanent marker!

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And we finished off with a Pub dinner. 

We then headed due west, nearly running into Wales to meet our engineering partners.  We have co-designed some great kit to make resources from dirty nappies. As a Bachelor of Arts graduate I did my very best to look informed and in-the-know as we saw machines whirr. I nodded heaps. 

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Stuart

Again, note the nutrition we brought to the table…

Then we headed South East and spent an afternoon with gTeam member Steph. A shocking hair day for me. Unforgivable really. 

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It wasn't all work.

Completely coincidentally I ran into a Mum of one of my son's best mates at a cafe in Chelsea. We also met up with my brother, hit a pub with our fabulous friend Tom who is putting us up and thanks to the power of social media, spent Friday night at an impromptu dinner party with old friends from Portland, Oregon and others all in the impact investing space. A remarkable group and much fun. 

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Just bumping into friends on the other side of the globe. 

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Mini family reunion. 

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Portland Reunion in London. 

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Pub

After work Pub time. 

Then the weekend hit and we headed to the Continent to meet up with the kids (a much longer story for later) and then headed to a conference in Germany on all things Cradle to Cradle & Circular. More updates to come!

 

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle in Vanity Fair

My colleague over at Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender posted his view on Monsanto after he read about it in Vanity Fair’s green issue this month. I couldn’t agree more with him. My mates on the land in Australia are facing identical battles with the company Down Under. The oncept of engineering a seed with a terminator gene so it can’t go forth and multiply beggars belief. That is evil.

On a happier note, one of the more optimistic articles in Vanity Fair was related to William McDonough and Cradle to Cradle design.
Even “g” gets a mention.

Cradle to Cradle, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Stories from the trenches, Sustainable Business

MBDC+Bill McDonough=C2C

Cradletocradle In Leonardo Di Caprio’s upcoming doco the 11th hour, he interviews 50 leading scientists including Bill McDonough, the cradle to cradle man. Bill says:
“We’re at a point in our history, with 6.4 billion of us, that we have to imagine what it would be like to redesign design itself, see design as the first signal of human intention, and realize that we need new intentions for our future where materials are seen as things that are highly valuable and need to go in closed cycles – what we call cradle to cradle instead of cradle to grave. And we have to agree that energy needs to come from renewable sources, prinicipally the sun, and that water needs to be clean and healthy as it comes in and out of the system, and that we should treat each other with justice and fairness. So, the design itself changes from mass production of things that are essentially destructive to mass utilization of things that are inherently assets instead of liabilities. “

Amen brother.

Cradle to Cradle, Eco-entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Green Business, Sustainable Business

Fast Company’s Fast 50

Fast50_06_badge gDiapers is up for recognition in Fast Company magazine as a part of their “Fast 50” companies.

Their sixth annual Fast 50 will spotlight businesses that are helping to save the world.

We have been “short”(!) listed down to about 1,000 entries. To make the cut and appear in their March edition, we need your help! If you feel so inclined, please click HERE, rate us a 10 and comment away – Thanks!