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How to Innovate Towards A Circular Economy

How to Innovate Towards A Circular Economy

Written by Michael Gizicki-Neundlinger | Reviewed by Angelo Spörk

Created on: 30 Oct 2020 | Updated on: 30 Oct 2020

News category: "News on Living Innovation"

Ken Webster on the building blocks of a more sustainable economy

Our guest in this week's Responsible Innovation Story is Ken Webster. Ken is a global thought leader on Circular Economy. Together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leading organization promoting circularity worldwide, and consultancy powerhouse McKinsey, he developed a groundbreaking understanding of Circular Economy. For him, it is about creating a concept that sparks the imagination of business leaders and policy makers.


“We wanted to frame circular economy as a narrative that had strong impact on business and policy.”


Their conceptualization of circularity strongly draws on the manifold, living systems we find in nature.

“A circular economy builds on myriads of small and medium-sized businesses. One's waste is another one's food. Everything is something useful cascading through the living system.”

Our most important insights from this interview with Ken Webster:

  • The Circular Economy framework that draws on insights from living systems has strongly gained momentum.
  • However, subsidies, taxes and business models that we have established within a linear economy still prevail.
  • Only if we change the systems conditions, we can achieve the urgently needed transition towards Circular Economy.

Enjoy watching the full interview with Ken Webster at

Click on the time stamps to watch the respective topics:

00:00 A Framework for Sustainable Business

04:13 A Boost for Circular Business Models

05:37 The Sectoral Perspective

07:12 System Conditions Hinder a Circular Transformation

08:57 Interplay between Efficiency and Resilience

12:10 A New Narrative Based on Living Systems

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