As this new decade dawns, we are witnessing the deepening of paradigm shifts locally, nationally and globally. Like green shoots on scorched trees, we see new systems growing and superseding the old. Fresh models of prosperity are taking root, showing us how we can manage our shared household within the laws of our ecology.
A circular economy is an example of this—a closed loop system that is a restorative and regenerative by design, and moves us beyond the extractive “take-make-waste” industrial model we currently have. It represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and enables people and planet to flourish.
Echoing biological systems, these practices are shifting linear business models into closed loops; where environmental protection and progression are integrated with economic growth. What was once waste becomes nutrients in the cycle. Rather than the environment existing as “‘refuse reservoir,” it is tantamount to the production system.
The urgent need to move away from economies of extraction is no better illustrated than by the petrochemical industry. Ubiquitous with modern life, alternatives to the harmful production processes and short product life cycle has never been more important.
Our friends at ecostore are leading the way in beginning to close these loops. Ecostore’s packaging is made from renewable sugar cane. Just like trees, as sugarcane grows it takes carbon out of the atmosphere. Planted on degraded pasture land in Brazil, sugarcane helps recover the soil—and sugarcane bagasse, a waste product from the crushing process, even generates bio-electricity in the factory that makes the bottles.
In addition, ecostore’s New Zealand factory has been certified carbon neutral by CarbonNZero since 2010; offsetting emissions through renewable energy and native forest programs.
The case for circular economies are purely rational. The increased lifecycle of a product through recycling and reducing waste output makes sound economic sense. With increasing pressure and volatility in procuring petrochemicals, the business case for regenerative models has never been more relevant.
As we walk into the next decade, every day, choice and purchase is critical in shaping the future we wish to see. The new models of success are already here, it is up to us to help them grow.