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Associations Advancing the Circular Economy

As we face a global climate emergency, associations have an environmental and moral responsibility to help advance the world to a circular economy.

In our inaugural IGNITE Masterclass (January 2021) we showcased the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the brilliant work that they do to promote the benefits of circular economy to their membership.

Sarah Poulter, CEO of CIWM and Chair of the IAL shares easy, practical steps which your organisation can deploy to help your association transition to a circular economy.

Sarah's Circular Economy Checklist:

Lead by example:

  • Stop unwanted mail
  • Post your magazines' naked' or digitally
  • Start a sharing shelf for colleagues to share books and other items
  • Share office space
  • Embrace the WFH opportunity
  • Find a green energy supplier
  • Share resources with other local organisations
  • Limit single-use items such as sachets, disposable cutlery, and cups at your events
  • Source materials and products from local suppliers
  • Refurbish your office with remanufactured furniture and donate old items
  • Rent equipment you only use occasionally
  • Reuse incoming packaging like boxes and envelopes for outgoing mail

Emphasise the Benefits:

  1. Environmental benefits – reduce reliance on using and disposing of natural resources and help tackle climate change
  2. Social benefits - customers are making sustainable buying choices, and high calibre employees are attracted to socially responsible organisations
  3. Economic benefits – circular economy driven organisations are more efficient and less wasteful, saving money

Competitors are working on it, CSR is ever more scrutinised, investors are becoming aware, and it's on the Board agenda (or it should be)...

 Encourage action:

  • Find out what your customers, external stakeholders, and staff think
  • Lead from the top and support your teams with resources
  • Define what circular means to your organisation and share it
  • Create a plan and business case
  • Educate and encourage employees to bring it to life
  • Involve all departments and business units early on
  • Innovate existing processes for quick wins then tackle the business model
  • Reach out to partners and suppliers who can and need to help
  • Measure progress and success with KPI's
  • Be proud of the success and share it

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