Circular Change 2016 milestones

Regional conference: Successful models of the Circular Economy based on collaboration

14 December 2016: Petrol Energetika and the Circular Change platform jointly organised the first regional conference focused on public-private partnerships for the Circular Economy. With the support of the Partnership for a Green Economy, led by Tadej Slapnik, State Secretary in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, the conference attracted more than 60 participants from business and local communities and gained a lot of media attention.

National Conference: Circular Economy in practice

 18 November 2016: “Circular economy fundamentally changes the relationship between stakeholders,” was the main message of this conference in Maribor. More than 70 stakeholders actively participated at the conference, which was one of the main events in November’s Circular Economy Roadshow. Six practical CE examples were presented to the audience by six companies: Petrol Energetika, Lumar, Oven, Valtex, Skaza and the project Wcycle. Each of them also described one main challenge, and the participants worked in groups to help them to deliver solutions. The event was organised by the Ministry of Environment, the Partnership for a Green Economy and the Municipality of Maribor, in cooperation with the platform Circular Change, moderated by Ladeja Godina Košir.

Awareness exhibition on re-use in the National Assembly

14 November 2016: The National Assembly of Slovenia hosted a unique exhibition: “Re-use and re-design”, introduced by Depo (store for used and refurbished items) and Komunala Vrnika (Municipal Waste Management Vrhnika). The exhibition was opened by the President of the National Assembly, Dr Milan Brglez, and Brigita Šen Kreže, General Manager at Komunala Vrnika. Circular Change supported the event with intense awareness communication on the importance of re-use as one of the main Circular Economy pillars that households should consider.  

November roadshow – Month of Circular Economy in Slovenia

November 2016: November was dedicated and publicly declared as the Month of Circular Economy in Slovenia by the governmental initiative Partnership for a Green Economy. Circular Change was an active partner and co-organiser of many events, with the aim of spreading the message of the Circular Economy – especially CE business models, success stories and CE best practice to different stakeholders, collaborating closely with government, companies and local communities. There were more than 15 different events all over Slovenia, and Circular Change leader Ladeja Godina Košir actively participated as a guest speaker and expert in round table talks.

Circular Change presented at a meeting of all Ministers dedicated to CE

3 November 2016: The Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar, invited Dr Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for Environment, to introduce the concept of the Circular Economy to all Ministers in the Government. Ladeja Godina Košir presented the Circular Change Platform and the results achieved in Slovenia in 2016. In a press conference after the publicly broadcast meeting, Dr Cerar and Dr Potočnik officially announced that the Slovenian Government strongly supports Slovenia heading towards a Circular Economy.


Slovenia joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 Programme

November 2016: The Republic of Slovenia joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s international Circular Economy 100 (CE100) programme. Representatives of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation emphasised in their statement that “The Circular Economy is already receiving exemplary attention across the government in Slovenia, with the Ministries of Environment, Finance, Agriculture, Economic Development, Transport and Education represented at the Slovenian CE100 kick-off workshop, held earlier this month”. Circular Change, as an expert platform connecting all stakeholders focused on the Circular Economy nationally and further connecting them internationally, took over the important role of orchestrator between all the Slovenia multiplayers.


Open Circles: Slovenia Circular Economy “Movers and Shakers”

September 2016: Circular Change runs quarterly events called Open Circles – to meet and talk openly about Circular Economy issues. At Open Circles we chat, connect and share ideas in a very informal atmosphere, hosted by Ladeja Godina Košir from Circular Change. The highlight of each event is the story of one of the CE “movers and shakers”. In September Avant2go, the first electric car sharing in the region, was in the spotlight. The concept was brought to Ljubljana in summer 2016 by visionary Matej Čer, from Avant car. In November we discussed the re-use of goods by upcycling, repair and recycling. This event was co-hosted by Marinka Vovk, Executive Director of a social enterprise with a network of 9 Reuse Centres, Doctor of Biological Sciences and a pioneer in re-use strategies in Slovenia.

Circular Change joined the Partnership for a Green Economy

3 October 2016: Circular Change platform joined the Partnership for a Green Economy and took an active role in designing its action plan for 2017/2018. The first national meeting was led by Tadej Slapnik, State Secretary in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, and seven other Ministries took part at the Congress Centre Brdo pri Kranju. More than 70 stakeholders from different sectors actively participated in this kick-off event. Their contributions and ideas will be included in the Partnership action plan for 2017/2018.

Advisory Board of CC met for the first time and elected a President

31 August 2016: On the last day of August, AquafilSLO Ljubljana hosted a constitutional meeting of the Circular Change Advisory Board. From September 2016 onwards, the Board, comprised of prominent international experts on the Circular Economy, has been advising and steering the Circular Change action plan and monitoring our progress. The Board members are: Josephine Green, UK, former Senior Director for Trends and Strategy at Philips, now a speaker and consultant on sustainability and Circular Economy culture (and author of Beyond 20:21st century stories); Guido Braam, NL is CEO at Powered by Meaning, and former CEO of Circle Economy and former Executive Director of the NL Circular Hotspot; Edi Kraus, ITA is General Manager at AquafilSLO; Tadej Slapnik , SLO serves as the State Secretary in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia; and Dr Janez Potočnik, SLO is Partner of SystemiQ and Co-Chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel, and between 2010-2014 was EU Commissioner for Environment. He was unanimously appointed the President of the Board. Ladeja Godina Košir, initiator of the Circular Change platform, was appointed as Executive Director of the platform.

Saying “Yes” to an Invitation to support The Circulars Awards 2017

August 2016: The World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders, in collaboration with Accenture Strategy, invited Circular Change to support The Circulars Awards. At the end of the summer, Circular Change officially became one of the supporters of the global Circular Economy awards, The Circulars 2017. In a limited time we identified around 20 potential projects and companies with well-implemented Circular Economy principles in Slovenia, and encouraged them to run for The Circulars Awards 2017. In the end 11 of them succeeded in completing their applications by the end of September, and this result ranked Slovenia in 4th place of all countries by number of participants in this year’s Award process.

International Conference: Embracing the Circular Economy

6 May 2016: At the first international conference, “Embracing Circular Change”, held in Ljubljana on May 6 2016, over 120 participants discussed the challenges of the transition to the new economic model of the Circular Economy. Aquafil, Datalab, Iskraemeco and Avant car – top Circular business cases from Slovenia – were presented at the Conference. The keynote speaker was Circular Economy pioneer Dr Janez Potočnik. At the conference programme director and host Ladeja Godina Košir officially introduced the newly established platform Circular Change and its website She emphasised the ambition of the platform – to connect stakeholders in Slovenia and in the wider region, and to enable them to cooperate, promote innovations and exchange best business practice. The pre-event of the Conference was an AmCham traditional Business Breakfast entitled Circular Economy as an Opportunity for Slovenia – a green reference country in digital Europe.

Šaleško-savinjsko kmetijstvo ima prihodnost v krožnem gospodarstvu

Velenje, 20. januar 2017 – Izzivi, s katerimi se sooča kmetijstvo v šaleško-savinjski regiji, in kako kmetijstvo še dodatno spodbuditi v smer krožnega gospodarstva, je bila rdeča nit drugega Evropskega pogovora, ki ga je na temo: »PRILOŽNOSTIH ŠALEŠKO-SAVINJSKEGA KMETIJSTVA V KROŽNEM GOSPODARSTVU« organiziral evropski poslanec Franc Bogovič (SLS/EPP).

Na pogovoru so svoje poglede, izkušnje in dobre prakse predstavili: direktor podjetja Simbio in predsednik SLS mag. Marko Zidanšek, prokuristka podjetja Bokri Eva Štraser, direktor Kmetijske zadruge Šaleška dolina Ivan Drev, sadjar in predsednik MO SLS Velenje Dani Gradišnik, direktor Kmetijsko gozdarskega zavoda Celje Stanko Jamnik in predsednik Obrtno – Podjetniške zbornice Slovenije Branko Meh. Pogovor je vodila Mateja Maja Ažman.

Evropski poslanec Franc Bogovič (SLS/PP), nekdanji minister za kmetijstvo in okolje, sedaj pa aktiven član Odbora Evropskega parlamenta za kmetijstvo in razvoj podeželja, je uvodoma predstavil osnovni pomen krožnega gospodarstva in njegove cilje, ter povzel ključne poudarke prezentacije Ladeje Godina Košir, iniciatorke in integratorke platforme Circular Change (Krožna sprememba), da je krožno gospodarstvo model povezovanja v kmetijstvu, ki kot nov ekonomski model razpira priložnosti za povezovanje in sodelovanje med različnimi deležniki s ciljem maksimiziranja vrednosti izdelkov in storitev, s čimer prispevajo k čim manjši izrabi naravnih virov ter ustvarjajo pozitivne družbene in okoljske učinke.

Bogovič je predstavil tudi svojo vizijo za slovensko kmetijstvo v letošnjem letu, kjer vidi potrebo po krepitvi družbene sprejemljivosti kmetijstva, pri čemer morata okoljska in kmetijska stroka ter praksa voditi več dialoga v smeri doseganja skupnih trajnostnih in hkrati gospodarskih ciljev. Poudaril je pomen inovacij in tehnološkega razvoja tudi za kmetijsko panogo, saj verjame, da je v tehnološki modernizaciji prihodnost tudi za slovenske kmete, ki pa jih v letošnjem letu čaka nujen krak naprej na področju boljše organiziranosti kmetijskih izobraževalnih sistemov, svetovalne službe, zavodov ter samih kmetov in vseh v kmetijski panogi (zadruge, organizacije pridelovalcev…). Izpostavil je tudi nujnost vzpostavitve dolgoročnih in pravičnih odnosov v prehranski verigi (kmet oz. pridelovalec – predelovalec – trgovina – potrošnik).

»V SLS kot dobri in odgovorni gospodarji podpiramo dobre prakse krožnega gospodarstva, saj si prizadevamo za oblikovanje razvojno usmerjenih politik, ukrepov in praks za zmanjševanje emisij toplogrednih plinov, da bi ublažili podnebne spremembe,« je uvodoma povedal predsednik SLS in direktor Simbia, družbe za ravnanje z odpadki, mag. Marko Zidanšek ter opozoril, da je treba več pozornosti nameniti prilagajanju in ne zgolj odpravljanju škode. Prepričan je tudi, da je posebno pozornost treba nameniti doseganju čim višje ravni kakovosti zraka, površinskih in podzemnih voda ter tal, kar zagotavlja ohranjanje biotske raznovrstnosti in kulturne krajine.

»Na Simbiu poskrbimo, da se skoraj 90 % nastalih odpadkov (88 %) snovno predela, le 12 % pa se jih še odloži. Iz mešanih komunalnih odpadkov se od decembra lani dalje s pomočjo nadgradnje/nove naprave izločijo še reciklabilni odpadki, del teh odpadkov pa tudi termično obdela v toplarni,  kjer pri tem nastajata toplotna in električna energija. S pomočjo sodobnih tehnologij želimo tako dati vsakemu odpadku možnost, da postane nova surovina in tako izkoristiti ves njegov potencial,« je primer dobre prakse v Simbiu opisal mag. Zidanšek ter dodal, da se na področju okoljskega ozaveščanja v podjetju vse bolj usmerjajo v najbolj zaželene načine ravnanja z odpadki skladno z EU lestvico, aktivno pa tudi sodelujejo v pobudi Skupaj za boljšo družbo komunalne zbornice. Slovenska komunalna podjetja si namreč prizadevajo spodbujati trajnostno gospodarstvo, odgovorno potrošnjo in ohranjanje naravnih virov, kar so tudi cilji krožnega gospodarstva.

»Sadjarji v zadnjem času ogromna sredstva vlagamo v prilagajanje podnebnim spremembam. Ker ocenjujem, da prehod v krožno gospodarjenje pomeni dražjo pridelavo, bo za približevanje temu cilju potrebno zavedanje slehernega posameznika,« pa je povedal sadjar in predsednik MO SLS Velenje Dani Gradišnik. EU zakonodaja mora po njegovem prepričanju kmetu pomagati ustvarjati konkurenčnejše okolje za pridelavo hrane, Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo, gozdarstvo in prehrano RS pa pripraviti jasno strategijo razvoja kmetijstva za naslednjih 20 let ter jo odločno podpreti s kakovostno javno svetovalno službo, ki se ne bo dušila z birokracijo. »V končni fazi pa je potrošnik tisti, ki lahko prek svojih nakupovalnih navad prisili proizvajalce v uporabo bolj trajnostnih tehnologij. Ko bo potrošnik ponotranjil krožno gospodarjenje, bo imel na razpolago dovolj visokokakovostne slovenske hrane iz slovenskega podeželja, ki bo trajnostno upravljalo z zemljišči, vodami, odpadki in energijo,« je še poudaril Gradišnik.

Italy’s ENEA proposes to launch nation-wide transition to Circular Economy

Federico Testa, President of the Italian national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable development, ENEA, is convinced that Italy is ready for a systemic change towards circular economy. Testa proposed, as recently stated at the convention on Italian innovation and competitiveness within circular economy (Innovazione e competitività: la via italiana alla circular economy), that ENEA could operate as the central coordinating body responsible for conjoining the collaborative efforts of institutions, research groups and consortiums to help companies reach more sustainable and efficient business models at a national level.

The strategy can potentially create 500,000 new jobs and attempts to harness Italy’s high quality manufacturing skills, thus prioritizing the ‘Made in Italy’ brand. While the plan targets to cut pollutant emissions by an estimated 450 million tons a year, the key aim remains that of creating a new innovation infrastructure that can restore a competitive edge to small and medium Italian firms, which often are “isolated” in the recycling process, as underlined by Roberto Morabito director of ENEA’s Sustainability Department.

ENEA’s plan is synthesized in a four-point programme. The first point consists in the creation of a dedicated agency following the examples of existing German, Japanese and American agency structures. Secondly, the agency would counsel firms on preventive waste strategies. Thirdly, it would provide technology to further the integration of innovative tools in the production cycle of businesses and, fourthly, the agency will focus on coordinating the activities and simplifying the procedures between firms and public administration.

Although the plan still needs to take hold, several Italian companies have already developed strongly around circular economy. It suffices to mention, for instance, Lavazza’s bio-degradable coffee capsules created from compost material, Novamont’s MaterBi plastic created from bio-refineries in Porto Torres or even Aquafil (turnover of €500million in 2015) with its line of eco-jeans and ‘green’ clothing derived exclusively from carpets and fishing nets using its advanced ‘ECONYL’ technology. These companies have acted as a pole of attraction for other businesses not only in Italy but world-wide, standing to show the strategic opportunity for economic growth that can be created from circular models in almost any sector.

Italy’s involvement in circular economy is further highlighted by the efforts of Banca Intesa and Enel which have bolstered their international recognition by being nominated as finalists in the Davos ‘The Circulars’ awards (organized by the World Economic Forum) in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

It is important for firms and stakeholders alike to embrace and learn about current successful circular strategies, although a stronger institutional and administrative involvement is needed, as ENEA’s plan wants to achieve, if a durable transformation to circular economy is to take place.

Povzetek konference: Krožno gospodarstvo in globalni izzivi za gradbeno panogo

Prva konferenca Evropske zveze za krožno gradbeništvo

Prva konferenca Evropske zveze za krožno gradbeništvo z naslovom Krožno gospodarstvo – globalni izziv za gradbeno industrijo se je 12.1.2017 odvijala v Ljubljani.

Konferenco je v okviru evropskega projekta ECCA – European Circular Construction Alliance  organiziral Slovenski gradbeni grozd – GIZ, kot koordinator projekta, ki ima za cilj vzpostaviti evropsko strateško partnerstvo grozdov za internacionalizacijo (na področju krožnega gospodarstva v gradbenem sektorju). ECCA je namenjena podpori evropskim grozdom in inovacijskim združenjem ter njihovim članom, predvsem majhnim in srednjim podjetjem, na poti k internacionalizaciji.

Konference so se udeležili predstavniki grozdov, podjetij, raziskovalnih inštitutov in javnega sektorja iz Slovenije, Španije, Belgije, Velike Britanije, Poljske, Portugalske in Mehike. Govorniki in udeleženci so bili enotnega mnenja, da je prehod iz linearnega v krožno gospodarstvo velik in hkrati globalni izziv za gradbeni sektor. Je pa tudi velika razvojna in poslovna priložnost.

Na konferenci so udeleženci osvetlili številne dobre prakse, ki tudi vključujejo načela krožnega gospodarstva. Te prakse so digitalizacija v gradbenem sektorju, ponovna uporaba predelanih gradbenih odpadkov, energetska učinkovitost in uporaba obnovljivih virov energije, uporaba naravnih in recikliranih materialov.

Tovrstne rešitve, tehnologije, proizvodi in storitve so tudi priložnosti za mednarodno razvojno sodelovanje in internacionalizacijo malih in srednjih podjetij.

Na konferenci so bile predstavljene že tudi prve iniciative za pripravo skupnih, evropskih in naprednih  rešitev s področja krožnega gradbeništva, ki povezujejo komplementarna znanja in tehnologije različnih partnerjev Evropske zveze za krožno gradbeništvo.

Več o Evropski zvezi za krožno gradbeništvo na spletni strani

Projekt podpira Evropska komisija v okviru Programa za konkurenčnost podjetij ter mala in srednja podjetja (COSME).


Vabilo k sodelovanju

Slovenski gradbeni grozd ( ) v okviru projekta ECCA vabi k sodelovanju slovenska podjetja, ki imajo rešitve, ki že upoštevajo načela krožne ekonomije in jih zanima internacionalizacija.  Vabimo tudi podjetja, ki načrtujejo ali pa razvojno že delujejo v smeri krožnega gospodarstva, so vključena v vrednostno verigo graditve ali pa se na njo lahko povežejo.

And Circular Economy Winners at The Circulars 2017 in Davos are…

Davos, January 17, 2017 – The World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders, in collaboration with Accenture Strategy (NYSE: ACN), has awarded the Circulars at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made notable contributions to the circular economy.

The third annual Circulars awards ceremony showcased advances from the private sector, public sector and civil society that drive innovation and growth while reducing dependence on scarce natural resources.  The seven Circulars were awarded as follows:

The Fortune Award for Circular Economy LeadershipWilliam McDonough, Chief Executive of McDonough Innovation, a globally recognized leader in sustainable development.  He advises leaders worldwide through McDonough Innovation and with MBDC and introduced the concepts of biological and technical cycles to the circular economy field.

The Accenture Strategy Award for Circular Economy Multinational (Joint Award):  NIKE, Inc., for leading work on material efficiency and waste reduction and aiming to double their business with half the impact through adopting circular economy principles. Patagonia, for a long track record of sustainable innovation in the industry and embedding the principles of the circular economy into their business strategy through the likes of their ‘Worn Wear’ initiatives.

The Young Global Leaders Award for Circular Economy SME: MBA Polymers, Inc., for up-cycling complex plastic waste streams to the same quality, and at the same price, as virgin plastic with the potential for scale and impact in plastics globally.

The AB InBev Award for Circular Economy Governments, Cities and Regions: Scottish Government, for leading a coalition across business and government to drive the circular economy in Scotland with clear impact demonstrated and ambitious targets for the future.

 The CNBC Award for Circular Economy Investor: SJF Ventures, for investing in circular economy businesses across their target sectors that simultaneously scale social and environmental impact whilst delivering sound financials.

The Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor:  Rubicon Global, for providing a sustainable waste and recycling solution that utilizes cloud-based technology and big data to connect customers with haulers.

“The Circulars demonstrate that the days of the ‘take, make, waste’ business models are over. The path to innovation, growth and competitiveness starts by creatively reducing the strain on scarce natural resources,” said Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy.

“Digital technology is increasingly critical to the success of the circular economy, and these awards also showcase technology innovation.”

The Circulars attracted 237 entries from 37 countries. The judging panel was drawn from the Young Global Leader community of the World Economic Forum and leading experts across business and civil society.  In addition to Accenture Strategy, The Circulars are sponsored by AB InBev, Dell and Ecolab. This year’s media partners are CNBC and Fortune Magazine.

“The circular economy is now established as one of the major ways organizations, cities and economies pursue sustainable growth. The rapid progress in advance sciences, industrial design and digital innovation has been matched by a swift application of circular models at a large scale.” said Dominic Waughray Head of Pubic Private Partnership at the World Economic Forum.

“The Circulars remain an important initiative of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders to recognize and celebrate such cutting edge innovation and impact.”

From Slovenia Ladeja Godina Košir, initiator and Executive Director of Circular Change was present at the Circulars Awards ceremony.

“It was true pleasure talking to Dame Ellen MacArthur, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Ida Auken, Member of Parliament of Denmark – The Young Global Leaders Circular Economy Taskforce, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders (YGL) initiative in Davos, at The Circulars Awards. Clear vision, amazing experiences, concrete actions on place for making this world more circular. Proud to be engaged in this movement with Circular Change,” Ladeja Godina Košir said after the event.




Wouter Veer: “We have to try millions of new things”

Wouter Veer takes impact entrepreneurship very seriously.  With his ifund located in the Netherlands – as is written in black and white on his business card – his mission and vision is to support impact entrepreneurship for both planet and people. He possesses a sharp mind and a lot of experience, which is evident the moment you meet him. First and foremost, he is an entrepreneur. He admits that as an entrepreneur you constantly have to ride “on new ideas like a maniac” – because that is what entrepreneurs do by instinct, and where progress lies.

But in the past few years he has been brave enough to go on a path of discovery to find out how ordinary businesses can adopt and flow with the principles of nature. After some time of researching and studying, he discovered the Blue Economy and the Circular Economy (CE), and since then he has been putting a lot of his time and money into projects which fit in to these models. One – the biggest at the moment – is called BlueCity, a special place where you are encouraged to “observe nature to create endless circles of value” and in this way to “redefine the economy”.

Wouter Veer believes we are at the beginning of a big, new wave. In January, when the renovation of the first wing of its building is completed, BlueCity will begin to accommodate new visionary entrepreneurs. Five years from now he would like to see 30 BlueCities across Europe.

Circular Change had a chance to speak with him during his recent business visit to Ljubljana. We discussed new startup hubs, why business should learn from nature, the new culture of sharing, why the financial system has to change, how corporations can keep pace with all this, and whether a startup industry where only some startups survive is just another form of waste.  

Wouter, this is what I read on your website: BlueCity is where startups create new waves, and where corporates can catch the tide. You integrate what’s working and skip what’s not. So, what is BlueCity?

We started with a simple idea, but now it is growing into a concept, which is to take an iconic building in the city centre that has lost its original function, and transform it into a hub for Circular Economy entrepreneurs. That is what we are trying to do in Rotterdam. In our case, we took a former tropical swimming pool and the dance club next to it – all together 12 000m2. We acquired it a year ago, and now we are in the middle of the renovation and at the same time also starting some partnerships, building a laboratory and so on.

Do you have any companies in the hub yet?

The idea came from one of the startups which was already in the building when it was still empty. They were in the basement, growing oyster mushrooms on local coffee waste. There were some other startups already there, and now we have some new ones as well. In January, when the renovation of the first wing of the building is completed, we will start to accommodate new entrepreneurs.

What kind of young entrepreneurs will you try to attract or select for the BlueCity hub?

We are saying no to a lot of startups. We are not trying to build yet another startup hub and rent office space. We are really doing this to build concepts around the Blue Economy and the Circular Economy, and each new entrepreneur will also have to have value for the other entrepreneurs.

There are a lot of companies which deliver services, for example, advertising agencies, architects, web designers or accountants. Even circular entrepreneurs need these types of company, but that is not our focus. We will have a maximum of 10% of the space for companies which offer services, and our requirement for them will be that they are focused on sustainability, or working for sustainable or social enterprises. Other startups will be Circular Economy companies, and of course they can’t be very big, because we don’t want to rent, for instance, 30% of our space to one company. So, we are looking for a good balance.

Startups mostly develop new apps to convince us, the consumers, to consume more – the exact opposite of the Circular Economy, which promotes concepts of producing and consuming less. How well do startups already understand CE?

I think timing is essential. I saw some research some time ago ranking maybe 40 to 100 past startups on various things – finance, team, strategy and timing. They discovered that timing is super important, the most important of all these factors. Before YouTube, there were other sites to share videos, but they failed because we were not ready for that technology. Now, and as I saw today also in Slovenia, the timing for Circular Change and the Circular Economy is right. If you had started three years ago, I think it would have been too early. Now I see people in politics are talking about it, and it is in the EU agenda. When I look at social enterprises in Holland, I notice that the segment is growing – companies that are focusing on circular challenges and environmental problems are increasing. So I think we are at the beginning of a new wave.

Are you optimistic that two years from now BlueCity will be full of Circular Economy companies?


What do you think about the young CE entrepreneurs, for example Dalibor Matijević, with his Project Robin Food, who you met today in Ljubljana?

I have just met one so far – after this interview I will meet some more, so I don’t know yet. I must get some more information on what they are doing. But that is why I’m here and it is my big interest. It is good news that politics in Slovenia shares this vision. That is something I still miss in the Netherlands. But for the Circular Economy you need bottom-up change – that entrepreneurs and students have the ambition, ideas and tools to do something.

You are an entrepreneur and an investor. By profession you are a mechanical engineer, very much interested in processes and process optimization, so where does the Circular Economy fit into all this?

I started business some 15 years ago, and I always had the feeling that I wanted to do something in the field of sustainability, combined with entrepreneurship and investing. But when you are running a company and you have family and friends, and a lot of worries everywhere, you don’t have much time. On the other hand, I constantly felt that there was something more, I wanted to do something else. And then at some point I said to my company that from the next month onwards I would only be there three days a week. It was big shock for them, of course, but that was four years ago. First, I took some time to relax, but also to educate myself about what is going on, and after two years I knew what I wanted to do. Then I took an even bigger step out of my company and started the foundation. I put the money I earned through the company into the foundation to help accelerate those entrepreneurs. ‘Circular’ was even not in the vocabulary back then! So, for me it was about the transition to sustainable food, water and energy systems, and these were big topics. In every solution we can find this angle and the Circular concept is a major part of that.

Do big companies already see the Circular Economy as their future?

This is a big issue. I’m a bit skeptical about big corporations. Most of them benefit the most by keeping everything as it is and just making it more efficient, producing a little bit more and in that way growing the economy a little bit more and more. But we need a transition to a whole new system, and that system will grow from the ground up. Now these initiatives are just a little bit cute, but in 10 years from now the big corporations will ask themselves, what happened? – and then they will be gone.

But of course, we still need them now, and when you change a big corporation by even 1% you make a big impact. We have to fight the battle in two ways. At BlueCity we try to be a platform for them – to educate them and to allow them to help us build the concept. We are also showing the development in innovations. In this way startups can learn from the corporates and the other way around.

Is the scaling of a Circular Economy startup different from the usual startups?

Yes and no. No, in the sense that in any startup you have the idea and then you go through some steps; first to show the principles, and then you go further and prove the concept when you show that you have a business case. After that you can start scaling. I really think we must scale these social and Circular Economy enterprises because they are starting their businesses not to be cute but because of their impact. For impact, you need scaling and for scaling you need a business case. This is one of the things I always put on the table first.

But we also have to think in terms of humanity, which is a big word of course, for another form of scaling. The scaling we are all hunting is a unicorn type of scaling – that you have an app based on an algorithm with zero marginal cost, and if it works you can scale infinitely and you become the unicorn. But in the type of entrepreneurship we are looking for in the Circular Economy, it is not only that kind of scaling we want, but also scaling by sharing; for instance by sharing the idea, so that others can copy it and do the same – that is also a way to scale.

Can you share some examples of good Circular Economy scaling?

One example is our guys who are growing oyster mushrooms on coffee waste. They refuse to collect coffee from other cities or to grow mushrooms elsewhere. Instead they say: ‘There is enough coffee waste there, so you can grow your own oyster mushrooms there. Come and visit us, we can teach you how.’ And they are earning money by teaching others. That is another way to scale.

CE entrepreneurs are bringing an absolutely new culture into the economy. How do corporations understand this process?

Some corporations are far away from it, but others are closer. The guys with the mushrooms on the coffee waste are really small in terms of how many kilogrammes of mushrooms they can produce each month, but they are getting more marketing attention at the moment than all the other mushroom producers in the Netherlands together. They have also been hired by the mushroom industry to tell them what to do with their marketing. In general, this new Circular culture is a big challenge and the transformation is also related to our financial system.

As our financial system works now, we don’t pay the real costs – a lot of costs are externalised. In the existing financial system it is really challenging to find corporates or investors to invest in those startups which try to do something good without externalising costs to somebody else. But this is also changing and we must find the way there.

Is BlueCity the only accelerator for Circular Economy companies at the moment?

There are some similar initiatives. In the south part of the Netherlands there is something called the Blue Innovation Centre. We are in good contact with Gunter Pauli, the pioneer and author of the Blue Economy. Also in Belgium, one group is working on the Blue Economy principles and something similar is growing in Berlin. But our concept is unique, and we want to replicate it. We get a lot of questions from other cities. We would like to have 30 BlueCities in the next 5 years.

So, if an initiative or person in Slovenia is prepared to invest and run a BlueCity in Ljubljana, are they welcome to contact you?

Of course, yes. From what I heard today, Ljubljana is a great location – we would be happy to share the concept and the lessons we have learned.

We have many so-called accelerators, and places where you can rent offices, tables or places if you are at the start of the entrepreneurial path. Can you share some advice on how those places can become unique, different from the others?

It is great news that you have many possibilities here for startups to rent cheap places, but our vison is that we don’t want to become one more of those places. We want to focus on a single theme – the Circular or Blue Economy. Our concept is that BlueCity is not just co-working space. We also have laboratories and production space.

In the Circular Economy the whole ecosystem is important. All the companies in CE have to find a new business model and they can and should be interconnected. They don’t have to have all the functions any more, but they must rely on each other. The waste streams or outputs of one company can be the input for another. In this way, we are building a network of companies. This we all have to learn. I hope that some years into the future big corporations with big waste streams, contaminated water or with a lot of waste heat will also start to work together and connect these streams. For this we have to change our accounting principles. So that is also something we try to learn, do and teach in BlueCity.

Is the BlueCity lab the heart of the BlueCity?

It is one of its functions, apart from the housing for the entrepreneurs, the production space and the event space. It is located in the former changing room of the swimming pool. The first phase of the lab will be completed in January. What is unique is that it will be partly a traditional ‘dry’ lab, a sort of ‘making space’ with laser cutters, 3D printers and equipment to work with wood and plastic, but a big part of it will be a ‘wet’ laboratory, where startups will be able to work with living organisms like algae and bacteria. There is a big group of biomarkers which are experimenting in that field.

In which industry, let’s say in the next three years, will Circular Economy entrepreneurs make the biggest changes – in the food industry, the biotech industry?

The biggest changes will be in ecosystems and in networks. Food entrepreneurs will connect with the bio industry, with high tech and with design. All these will work together as one system. In the Blue Economy the focus is to look into the processes in nature, and in nature there is no waste. There is always food and energy and water and everything goes in circles – from fungi to nutrients in the ground, and then life comes up again in plants. This is the way we must transform our economy to a smarter way.

In an ecosystem of startups, usually just one or two out of ten are real success stories, while all the rest usually don’t survive in the long term – this is a big waste of energy, creativity and money. Will the startup industry also change and become more circular?

No, no, I don’t see that as a waste. I’m an entrepreneur. When I have an idea – and I can look back on twenty years of my ideas – I got most of them under the shower. I was convinced at that moment they were true. I went after them like a maniac. When I look back now, many were rubbish. But you have to go after an idea – that is what startups do.

What I think we have to do is to validate these ideas as soon as we can – if it is a visible idea, we have to support teams to go further. Then as soon as we see this particular one isn’t going to work, we have to kill it, because if we don’t, then startups can become a waste. But we have to try millions of new things and give them a chance, not kill them off too soon.


Davos just before The Circulars 2017 Awards started tonight

Directly from Davos just before The Circulars 2017 awards started at 8 pm tonight with Circular Change and Ladeja Godina Košir attending gala ceremony. The Circulars Awards winners will to be announced soon. Circular Change is taking an active role as a supporter. Proud to have 11 Slovene entries among 237 entries from all around the globe.


Nocoj bodo v Davosu podelili prestižne nagrade The Circulars 2017 za krožno gospodarsto

Frans Timmermans Na povabilo organizatorjev v Davosu prvič tudi Circular Change (podpornik nagrad The Circulars) in mag. Ladeja Godina Košir.

Ljubljana/Davos, 16. januar 2017. Nocoj se s pozdravnim govorom generalnega direktorja Svetovnega gospodarskega foruma Klausa Schwaba ob 18.15 uri (prenos bo na voljo na povezavi tukaj) začenja tridnevni vrh Svetovnega gospodarskega foruma (World Economic Forum) v švicarskem Davosu. Večer se bo nadaljeval z razglasitvijo zmagovalcev za globalno nagrado The Circulars 2017 v sedmih kategorijah. Iz Slovenije se je v tekmovanje vključilo 11 podjetij.

Slovesne razglasitve zmagovalcev se na povabilo organizatorjev in ob podpori slovenskega premierja dr. Mira Cerarja udeležuje prvič tudi platforma Circular Change in sicer njena idejna ustanoviteljica in izvršna direktorica mag. Ladeja Godina Košir.

Globalno tekmovanje za najboljše prakse in projekte s področja krožnega gospodova The Circulars organizirata Svetovni gospodarski forum (World Economic Forum ) in Forum mladih globalnih voditeljev (Forum of Young Global Leaders ) in letos poteka že tretjič. Cilj projekta je širjenje in prepoznavanje najboljših praks krožnega gospodarstva v svetovnem merilu. Zmagovalci bodo znani danes okoli 20. ure. Finalisti po posameznih kategorijah so dostopni tukaj.

Slovenija se je v tekmovanje tokrat vključila prvič in sicer na povabilo organizatorjev nagrad, ki so k sodelovanju povabili platformo Circular Change kot podpornika The Circulars 2017.  

»Ponosni smo, da so se za prestižne nagrade letos prvič potegovala tudi slovenska podjetja. Po številu prijav smo četrta najbolje zastopana država. Po odzivih, ki jih prejemam, postajamo mednarodno prepoznavna država na področju krožnega gospodarstva. Zahvala velja v prvi vrsti podjetjem, ki so se odločila sodelovati, čeprav so imela le mesec dni časa za oddajo prijave svojih krožnih praks. Odločilna je tudi podpora predsednika vlade, dr. Mira Cerarja, ki je krožno gospodarstvo izpostavil kot ključno smer razvoja Slovenije in podprl nastanek Partnerstva za zeleno gospodarstvo. Tega zavzeto vodi državni sekretar v njegovem kabinetu, Tadej Slapnik. Po iniciativah za sodelovanje, ki prihajajo iz tujine, sem prepričana, da Slovenijo lahko pozicioniramo kot »Zeleno referenčno državo v digitalni Evorpi«, je pred današnjim odhodom v Davos poudarila Ladeja Godina Košir, izvršna direktorica platforme Circular Change, ki tja potuje tudi v imenu Slovenije in s podporo dr. Cerarja.

Letošnji finalisti tekmovanja The Circular 2017 po posameznih kategorijah so dostopni na tej povezavi. Iz Slovenije se v izbor The Circulars 2017 prijavili: v kategoriji People’s Choice Entrepreneur Donar in Kaaita; v kategoriji multinacionalk: Knauf Insulation in Aquafil (prijava je bila oddana s strani matičnega podjetja v Italiji), v kategoriji Government, Cities & Regions: EKO INICIATIVA (v konzorciju: VALTEX, Lucart, DROE Unirec, Mestna občina Novo mesto), v kategoriji malih in srednje velikih podjetij pa: socialno podjetje Center ponovne uporabe, Petrol Energetika (v konzorciju: SIJ, Metal Ravne, Inštitut Jožef Stefan in lokalna skupnost Ravne na Koroškem), Iskraemeco, Skaza, Smart Plastic in Avant Car.

Za nagrado voditelj na področju krožnega gospodarstva je platforma Circular Change predlagala Mojco Markizeti, ki v podjetju Iskraemeco vodi razvoj pravičnega pametnega števca za elektriko. Markizetijeva je tudi pomemben motor pri razvoju t. i. Transparency toola, posebnega orodja, ki bo v prihodnosti industriji omogočal popolno preglednost in sledljivost izdelkom: iz katerih surovin in materialov je, kje so bile surovine ali materiali pridobljeni in v kakšnih delovnih pogojih.

Slovenska podjetja se med finaliste sicer tokrat še niso uvrstila. Je pa VALTEX za projekt »Material flow cycle of BC – Novo Mesto« (Komunalni snovni krog Novega mesta) med številnimi prijavami podjetij, institucij, mest in regiji z vsega sveta prejel prav posebno pohvalo za sodelovanje – HIGHLY COMMENDED – v kategoriji najboljši vladni, mestni oz. regionalni projekt krožnega gospodarstva.

»Slovenija bi bila lahko v svetu prepoznavna ne le po bratih Prevc, ampak tudi po projektih na področju krožnega gospodarstva,« je prepričan Niko Kumar, direktor podjetja VALTEX in avtor krožnega projekta Komunalni snovni krog Novo mesto.

Letos kar 11 odstotkov več prijav

V prvih dveh letih je v izboru za globalne nagrade The Circulars sodelovalo preko 400 podjetij iz 36 držav. Koliko podjetij, organizacij in vladnih projektov sodeluje letos, organizatorji še niso razkrili, so pa potrdili, da so prejeli 11 odstotkov več prijav kot leto pred tem.

Leta 2015 nagrajen dr. Janez Potočnik

V 27 članski komisiji ekspertov, ki so ocenjevali prispele prijave, je tudi dr. Janez Potočnik, mednarodni ekspert za krožno gospodarstvo, nekdanji evropski komisar za okolje in predsednik posvetovalnega odbora platforme Circular Change.  Sicer pa je prav dr. Potočnik leta 2015 kot prvi prejel prestižno nagrado The Circulars 2015 za voditelja na področju krožnega gospodarstva – in sicer za svoje prebojno delo na področju krožnega gospodarstva, saj je kot evropski komisar za okolje predlagal prvi paket za prehod v krožno gospodarstvo na ravni EU.

V letošnjem letu je med kandidati za to nagrado Guido Braam, uspešen nizozemski podjetnik, pionir krožnega gospodarstva na Nizozemskem in tudi član posvetovalnega odbora platforme Circular Change.

Franc Bogovič: Priložnosti prleško – prekmurskega kmetijstva so tudi v krožnem gospodarstvu

Murska Sobota, 6. januar 2017 –  Družbena sprejemljivost kmetijstva, tehnološki napredek in boljši prenos znanja ter oblikovanje nove skupne kmetijske politike (SKP) v EU za obdobje po letu 2020 so po mnenju evropskega poslanca Franca Bogoviča (SLS/EPP) trije ključni izzivi kmetijstva v Sloveniji. Skupaj s krožnim gospodarstvom, ki se širi tudi v kmetijstvo, je o njih spregovoril na svojem prvem letošnjem evropskem pogovoru, ki je bil danes v Murski Soboti.

Gosti pogovora  z naslovom: »Priložnosti prleško – prekmurskega kmetijstva v krožnem gospodarstvu« so bili tokrat še: mag. Ladeja Godina Košir, iniciatorka in integratorka platforme Circular Change (Krožna sprememba), France Režonja, direktor KGZS Zavoda Murska Sobota, Alojz Štuhec ml., kmet s poljedelske kmetije v Bolehnečicih v Občini Sveti Jurij ob Ščavnici, Rok Šiftar, inovativni mladi kmet Pomurja v 2016 iz ekološke kmetije v Polani v Občini Murska Sobota, Branko Virag, direktor družbe Panvita Kmetijstvo ter Slavko Petovar, župan Občine Veržej in specialist za razvoj podeželja KGZS Zavod Murska Sobota, ki je bil tokrat v vlogi moderatorja.

Krožne priložnosti v kmetijstvu so

»Vire uporabljajmo tako, da jih v ciklu proizvodnje in potrošnje zadržimo čim dlje. To je osnovno vodilo krožnega gospodarstva. V kmetijstvu imamo na strani produkcije na primer priložnosti za optimizacijo pri upravljanju z zemljo in pri učinkovitejšem, bolj sistematičnem povezovanju kmetijstva in živinoreje. Na strani potrošnje pa so velike priložnosti pri zmanjševanju količin odpadne hrane, spreminjanju prehranskih navad kot tudi pri sami embalaži, ki naj bi je bilo čim manj, « je v svoji uvodni predstavitvi povedala Ladeja Godina Košir, iniciatorka in integratorka platforme Circular Change (Krožna sprememba)

Izpostavila je, da podatek, da potrošniki v razvitih državah letno zavržemo toliko hrane (222 milijonov ton) kot je Podsaharska Afrika proizvede (230 milijonov ton), sam po sebi govori o neracionalnosti obstoječih vzorcev proizvodnje in potrošnje. »Informiranje o priložnostih, ki jih krožno gospodarstvo kot nov ekonomski model prinaša na ekonomski, družbeni in okoljski ravni ter spodbujanje prehoda v trajnostno naravnano družbo, je eno osnovnih poslanstev platforme Circular Change,« je menila Ladeja Godina Košir.

Franc Bogovič, nekdanji kmetijsko-okoljski minister, danes pa kot poslanec v Evropskem parlamentu aktiven v Odboru za kmetijstvo in razvoj podeželja, je poudaril, da je družbena sprejemljivost kmetijstva pomemben vidik. »Kmetijstvo se sooča z vedno večjimi okoljevarstvenimi zahtevami, za nekatere je  uporaba pesticidov in celo mineralnih gnojil nesprejemljiva. Klasično, ekološko in biodinamično kmetijstvo lahko sobivajo na slovenskih poljih in travnikih,« meni. In dodaja, da je pri tem ključna komunikacija s potrošniki, da ti bolj spoznajo dobre kmetijske prakse, ki so večjemu številu ljudi premalo poznane.

Roboti, droni in traktorji na daljinsko vodenje

Spregovoril je tudi o tehnološkem napredku in boljšem prenosu znanja. Spomnil je, da je tudi kmetijstvo deležno velikega tehnološkega razvoja (roboti za molžo, daljinsko vodeni traktorji, droni v poljedeljstvu, tehnika za spremljanje bolezni in škodljivcev, mobilne aplikacije v trgovanju..) »Slovenija mora izboljšati prenos znanja na področju kmetijstva – tako z vidika izobraževalnih sistemov, kot boljše organiziranosti svetovalne službe, zavodov ter samih kmetov in deležnikov v kmetijski panogi,« je izpostavil Bogovič.

Kot tretji ključni izziv pa je navedel oblikovanje nove skupne kmetijske politike (SKP) v EU za obdobje po letu 2020. »Nova SKP mora poiskati rešitve za aktualne težave evropskega kmetijstva, kot so: upravljanje s  tveganji v kmetijstvu, ki so posledica naravnih katastrof (suše, poplave, toča,  pozebe) ali posledica velikega nihanja cen kmetijskih pridelkov. Pomembno je tudi vzpostavljanje dolgoročnih in pravičnih odnosov v prehranski verigi (od kmeta, predelovalca, trgovine do potrošnika) in boljša organiziranost kmetov (učinkovite zadruge, organizacije pridelovalcev),« poudarja Bogovič.

Število mladih kmetov se povečuje

Franc Režonja, direktor KGZS Zavoda Murska Sobota, je predstavil stanje kmetijstva v Pomurju ter opozoril, da se v Pomurju število hektarjev obdelovalnih površin zmanjšuje. »Prav tako se zmanjšuje število kmetijskih gospodarstev, in še posebej malih kmetijskih gospodarstev, kar je zaskrbljujoče. Res pa je, da se povečuje število hektarjev obdelovalnih površin na kmetijo, število mladih kmetov – prevzemnikov in število hektarjev pokritih površin,« je bil vseeno tudi optimističen Režonja.