Interface, Inc. is a classic example of an organization working on sustainability. In this case study the role of The Natural Step framework is explored.
The circular economy and products of service
By Berend Aanraad
The circular economy is one of the biggest leverage points in our world today, where we can really make a difference moving towards a sustainable society. The Flexible Platform and The Natural Step are closely involved in initiatives giving shape to this so-called 'green economy'. As a member of the Green Economy Coalition we are trying to mobilize, build and share knowledge, influence policy discussions at a local level and source ideas and partnerships with local organisations who are seeing the benefits and leverage that this new economy inhibits.
On the 30th of November we will present a theme-session on Backcasting from Cradle to Cradle at the Nationaal Sustainability Congres in Den Bosch together with OPAi, DHV and a big leasing firm on how to make a circular economy operational and work together within the value chain to create a shared picture of success.
For the Rio+20 conference numerous partners, including The Natural Step, have filed proposals to use the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development as a framework to work towards visioning and implementation of the green economy. Other partners who have filed for the use of this Framework, are the Green Economy Coalition and VinylPlus (of which The Natural Step’s ambassador David Cook is happy to explain the challenges these industries are facing in this video).
Connected to these initiatives we are now exploring the possibility of organizing a National Dialogue with partners in The Netherlands based on the GEC-format already used in similar dialogues in India, Mali, the Caribbean and Brazil. Every country around the world has its own set of ecological, economic and cultural challenges and context. The dimensions of a green economy - and the road towards achieving it - will be specific to that unique context.
To build our understanding of these different landscapes, the Coalition is supporting a series of national dialogues, seeking to engage national stakeholders and emphasize that we are about 'exploration, dialogue and shared action', not a set of external mandates. The process is
- informing us about the reality of green economy debates and issues;
- helping us build a collective understanding of the challenges and opportunities of a transformation;
- directly shaping the messages that we take to governments ahead of Rio 2012;
- and explicitly helping in-country civil society organisations gain access to international processes.
But it is also helping to kick-start the longer-term deeper change, which goes beyond terminology. It is fundamental for the vitality and future of a green economy that it is owned, powered and defined by nations and their citizens.