sustainability

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: A New Vision for a Positive Planet

cirplan.jpg

In 2015, the United Nations announced an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to assemble the world's private and public sectors to converge around the core problem areas that we must address as a collective society to move into a sustainable future.

The goals are universal and set ambitious targets for creating healthier, happier, and more positive lifestyle opportunities for all 7.4 billion people living on the planet.

sdgs.jpg

Our founder and lead creative changemaker at Disrupt Design was named Champion of the Earth by the United Nations in 2016 for her pioneering work in elevating science-led sustainability and innovation. All of our programs and initiatives align with the SDGs, especially with goal 12 in helping to bring about change in the way we design, produce, and consume products. 

 
https://www.globalgoals.org On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders will commit to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.

The Green Economy: A Future that is Sustainable, Regenerative and Circular

lincirc.jpg

THE GREEN ECONOMY

There is no doubt of the need to rapidly address the social and environmental issues facing humanity today. Thankfully, the global creative and business community has started to adapt and take action in moving toward the United Nations (and many others) calls the 'Green Economy'. An economy that is sustainable, regenerative and circular in nature.  

This is a global movement away from the ‘business as usual’ approach to the commodification of natural resources and the prioritization of profit over purpose, to circular and regenerative products and systems that provide economic growth and social equity all within the Earth's carrying capacity. 

Seeking to incorporate the ‘ability’ to ‘sustain’ life on Earth, the conjoined word ‘sustainability’ has taken on many cultural meanings since it started to become more widely used in the late 1990s. The concept of economic growth in line with biosystem constraints and in respect of social systems makes complete sense when you consider the fundamental principles of life of Earth. We are all sustained by food, air, and water – none of which we can make ourselves without the beautifully complex natural systems that flourish on Earth. 

The shift towards a circular, sustainable and regenerative economy is often referred to as being ignited in 1987 when the Our Common Future came out (called the Brundtland Report, crediting the main author). Then, at the Rio Earth Summit, the definition of sustainable development was catapulted into the public arena, setting the global agenda for a future that is sustainable and regenerative. 

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
— Definition of Sustainable Development in the Brundtland Report, 1987, p. 43
A new plan for people and planet has just launched - the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Tell everyone!
 

In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 17 global goals to be achieved over a 15-year plan. The Green Economy is critical to achieving these goals, with the Partnership for Action on the Green Economy bringing together nations, states and the private sector to rapidly transition to sustainable systems. 

Many organizations and industry leaders who are adapting to the Green Economy need to rapidly upskill in Circular Systems and Sustainable Design in order to build capacity in creating new business models, technologies, and service models that fit within this fundamentally different approach to generating wealth and serving global human needs. 

How are you making changes to be apart of the future economy? Circular Systems Design, life cycle, and systems thinking are all credible and powerful tools to enact organizational shifts towards a circular and green economy. 

Circular Economy Primer

the circular  economy by disrupt design

SHIFTING TO CIRCULAR SYSTEMS

The circular economy is a $4.5 trillion opportunity. It’s a new way of looking at the relationships between markets, customers and natural resources, leveraging innovative new business models and disruptive technologies to transform the current “take, make, dispose” economic model.
— World Business Council for Sustainable Development

It’s exciting when movements catalyze and bring together many great ideas. That is exactly what the Circular Economy Movement is doing. An overarching umbrella concept, it is used to describe the rapid, intentional shift from a linear take-make-waste economy to a circular one that values resources from pre-extraction to post-disposability.

Companies and governments around the world are embracing and integrating the many theories and approaches of the Circular Economy. Reports demonstrate the economic validity of this transition and the opportunities that designing products for circularity offers.

The circular economy aims to eradicate waste—not just from manufacturing processes, as lean management aspires to do, but systematically, throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components.
— Mckinsey and Company, 2016 report on the Circular Economy
from linear to circular economy

There are several key approaches that make up the Circular Economy, but the most important are:

  • Turning products into product service systems (PSS) that maintain value across the entire life of the product
  • Taking a scientific life cycle approach to understanding the impact of design and production decisions
  • Looking to nature for solutions through Biomimetics and natural principles
  • Understanding and working within the two main nutrient cycles: biological (things that degrade and contribute back to nature) and technological (things that go back into a production cycle)
  • Using systems thinking to understand feedback loops and dynamics while also avoiding unintended consequences
  • Viewing circular systems as regenerative, which means they offer positive elements back to the system rather than detract from it and destroy
  • Maximising effectiveness and efficiency of materials and resources through design, known as eco-design strategies or sustainable design principles 
 

Leyla Acaroglu explains systems thinking for the Circualr Economy at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's 2017 Summit in London. 

Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.
— Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The concept of the Circle Economy has been around since the late 1980’s, but right now is blooming into a global economic shift that will significantly change the way we do busines, consume products and design systems. The World Economic Forum and the European Commission have platforms and mandates to advance the Circular Economy. 

 
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming entire systems of production, distribution and consumption. Unprecedented levels of technological innovation are giving rise to new models of consumption – products and services – including where and how they are being accessed. This transformation will create significant economic opportunity across developed and emerging economies with the arrival of new business and operating models.
— World Economic Forum
 
How do we sustain economic growth in a world of finite natural resources and a growing population? With natural resources becoming ever more difficult to obtain and our industrial processes exponentially impacting our environment. Our future economies, by necessity will have to mimic the Earths Natural systems.