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Community business models  reciprocity and circularity | Upload General

Business Models: Reciprocity And Circularity

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by: Sharai Hoekema
business models  reciprocity and circularity | Upload

An economic closed-loop system, where raw materials and components lose as little of their value as possible throughout the process - while using renewable energy as much as possible. This is the hallmark of the circular economy, that seeks to do better for the planet by minimizing waste and limiting the use of scarce resources. This includes extensive recycling and re-use of particular components or by-products. 

Business Models: Reciprocity Is The Way Forward

Yet there is one thing lacking in this schoolbook definition of a circular economy, and that is the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity towards nature and the environment, exchange to our neighbors. And not just exchange in the form of keeping life as it was and not doing any additional damage, as it is for the typical circular economy. 

drawing, 2 men, reciprocity

No, reciprocity is all about giving back and making nature just a little better. It is not just your bottom line that benefits. Through a reciprocal business model and, eventually, a complementary economy, we will do good for the planet by cleaning air or water, by providing healthy food, by re-building ecosystems, or instilling a sense of community. All those other things that look good in the larger picture.  

Recommended: Plastic Waste Turned Into Building Blocks: Circular Economy

Indications That We Are Running Out Of Planet

After all, this planet will not always be here for us, allowing us to take from her in any way we can. At some point, we have to start giving back if we want to create a world that all of us can keep on living in for many years to come. Already back in 1972, the Club of Rome recognized that there might be such a thing as a so-called collapse caused by exceeding our limits to growth. 

Graph recycling

Similarly, the Stockholm Resilience Center came up with nine planetary boundaries - limits that we ought to stay within. Unfortunately, our report card is not looking great thus far. Biodiversity and biochemical flows are big fat F’s, officially listed as ‘Beyond zone of uncertainty (high risk).’ Yet we are not doing much better on land-system change and climate change, ranked in the ‘In the zone of uncertainty (increasing risk),’ which means that they still crossed the borders of the safe zone. 


                       Five transformational policies for a prosperous and sustainable world | Johan Rockström


If you need more proof that we are running out of the planet, the Earth Overshoot Day will give it to you. The initiative itself claims that: “Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” This day was on July 29 in 2019, meaning that there are five months in the year that we cannot account for.

Recommended: Circular Architecture 'The GreenHouse': Utrecht, Netherlands

Circular Economy Falling Short

The problem is that the circular economy does nothing to address these issues. Sure, it tries to guarantee that the situation does not become worse. Yet making it better, that is where we fail. Most even use the wording ‘minimizing’ when it comes to discussing the use of scarce resources and waste. This is not really what we ought to be looking for if we want to make the world better.

Instead, we should be fighting to make the world better throughout our value chain - in doing so, creating a world that will give back to us in equal parts, while staying within her precious boundaries. One way of doing this is by ensuring that we only use abundantly available materials, preferably at a hand’s reach. Producing locally is another big thing, adhering to safe and socially acceptable business practices.

Locally Grown Organic Materials

If you are in production, find out what products grow in your area. Bamboo, perhaps. Seaweed, industrial hemp, nettles. Any of these could potentially be used to replace components or raw materials that are sourced or actively produced. If you are into building or construction, it is worth looking into fully biodegradable materials. Some innovators are already working on building materials composed of fungi and mycelium, fully organic products.

Then, we got to think about the end-stage of our product. Instead of ending up with waste, or items that need to be actively recycled, why not consider creating something that will have a practical use after its initial life is spent? Something that could potentially enhance nature and our local community.

Recommended: Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3)

Creating A Better World Through Reciprocity

Graph infinity

Reciprocity is more than just giving back. It is also living together with and finding synergy with nature and our local community. And while circular business models are a great way of at least preventing worse, we can do better by creating business models that try to find this synergy. To create a better world for us all.

Before you go!

Recommended: Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your article about circularity?
Click on 'Register' or push the button 'Write An Article' on the 'HomePage.'

Business Models: Reciprocity And Circularity

An economic closed-loop system, where raw materials and components lose as little of their value as possible throughout the process - while using renewable energy as much as possible. This is the hallmark of the circular economy, that seeks to do better for the planet by minimizing waste and limiting the use of scarce resources. This includes extensive recycling and re-use of particular components or by-products.   Business Models: Reciprocity Is The Way Forward Yet there is one thing lacking in this schoolbook definition of a circular economy, and that is the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity towards nature and the environment, exchange to our neighbors. And not just exchange in the form of keeping life as it was and not doing any additional damage, as it is for the typical circular economy.   No, reciprocity is all about giving back and making nature just a little better. It is not just your bottom line that benefits. Through a reciprocal business model and, eventually, a complementary economy, we will do good for the planet by cleaning air or water, by providing healthy food, by re-building ecosystems, or instilling a sense of community. All those other things that look good in the larger picture.   Recommended:  Plastic Waste Turned Into Building Blocks: Circular Economy Indications That We Are Running Out Of Planet After all, this planet will not always be here for us, allowing us to take from her in any way we can. At some point, we have to start giving back if we want to create a world that all of us can keep on living in for many years to come. Already back in 1972, the Club of Rome recognized that there might be such a thing as a so-called collapse caused by exceeding our limits to growth.   Similarly, the Stockholm Resilience Center came up with nine planetary boundaries - limits that we ought to stay within. Unfortunately, our report card is not looking great thus far. Biodiversity and biochemical flows are big fat F’s, officially listed as ‘Beyond zone of uncertainty (high risk).’ Yet we are not doing much better on land-system change and climate change, ranked in the ‘In the zone of uncertainty (increasing risk),’ which means that they still crossed the borders of the safe zone.   {youtube}                        Five transformational policies for a prosperous and sustainable world | Johan Rockström If you need more proof that we are running out of the planet, the Earth Overshoot Day will give it to you. The initiative itself claims that: “ Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. ” This day was on July 29 in 2019, meaning that there are five months in the year that we cannot account for. Recommended:  Circular Architecture 'The GreenHouse': Utrecht, Netherlands Circular Economy Falling Short The problem is that the circular economy does nothing to address these issues. Sure, it tries to guarantee that the situation does not become worse. Yet making it better, that is where we fail. Most even use the wording ‘minimizing’ when it comes to discussing the use of scarce resources and waste. This is not really what we ought to be looking for if we want to make the world better. Instead, we should be fighting to make the world better throughout our value chain - in doing so, creating a world that will give back to us in equal parts, while staying within her precious boundaries. One way of doing this is by ensuring that we only use abundantly available materials, preferably at a hand’s reach. Producing locally is another big thing, adhering to safe and socially acceptable business practices. Locally Grown Organic Materials If you are in production, find out what products grow in your area. Bamboo, perhaps. Seaweed, industrial hemp, nettles. Any of these could potentially be used to replace components or raw materials that are sourced or actively produced. If you are into building or construction, it is worth looking into fully biodegradable materials. Some innovators are already working on building materials composed of fungi and mycelium, fully organic products. Then, we got to think about the end-stage of our product. Instead of ending up with waste, or items that need to be actively recycled, why not consider creating something that will have a practical use after its initial life is spent? Something that could potentially enhance nature and our local community. Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Its Full Potential (Part 3 of 3) Creating A Better World Through Reciprocity Reciprocity is more than just giving back. It is also living together with and finding synergy with nature and our local community. And while circular business models are a great way of at least preventing worse, we can do better by creating business models that try to find this synergy. To create a better world for us all. Before you go! Recommended:  Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about circularity? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
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