Reflections from the 4th Circular Change Conference by Beatriz Luz, Exchange4Change Brazil


The Circular roller coaster journey

by Beatriz Luz, Founder of Echange 4 Change Brazil

Original text:

I have always liked the excitement of going on a roller coaster. That anxious feeling of the unknown when you are going up and the heart beating sensation when you are going down.

Life is no different, specially if you are on an "evangelist" mission as I was told by Vikas Pandey from Excess Material Exchange during the 4th Circular Change Conference last week.

The overall feeling that more and more companies are taking action and governments are coming on board, was felt among all participants throughout the 2-day conference.

Simon Zajc, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, was very direct on his speech:

"We have to act together. Circular Economy business models can play an important role to meet climate targets and make companies more competitive. Working towards the transition has become a priority for us".


This was my second time in Slovenia and a special moment to reflect on our Brazilian Circular journey and everything that we have achieved in the last 4 years. The methodology set up back in 2015 based on international knowledge exchange, cooperation, co-creation and adaptation of global solutions to Brazilian reality was difficult to explain at that time. However, day after day, as the discussion evolves, it becomes clear that this is the only way forward to achieve global sustainable development.

At our panel "Circular Economy around the world" we could learn from cases in Slovenia, France and England. In fact, we were very happy to remember the time that we have worked at NISP - The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme and how important was that experience to develop our systemic mind set as they were there presenting on how the UK programme has developed and the role of industrial symbiosis into the circular economy transition.

The main element for worldwide circularity is COLLABORATION. 

These is what we have seen during these 2 days and hence why, international events like this, as well as leaders like Ladeja Godina Košir from Circular Change, are so important to drive change, not only on their own country, but also to inspire and influence change all around.

She has been an inspiration to me since we have met during the launch of the Netherlands as a Circular Hotspot in 2016, an initiative led by another great circular leader and also an inspiration Guido Braam. He has reminded us all of that event and how this has contributed to bring people together and triggered a lot of important decisions within their country and abroad. 

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The Dutch Government

They aim to be totally circular by 2050 and play a key role in international cooperation."Small steps are not enough anymore. Circular thinking should be thought to our kids in school as soon as possible. It is about commitment from all of us. We must step up for a more circular future" said H.E. Bart Twaalfhoven, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of Slovenia.

It is a "Hypothesis driven game" as highlighted by Ronja Wolf from SYSTEMiQ a specialized German consultancy organization behind the positive movement held in the country that led to the development of the recently launched 2-year programme to design the German circular road map.

"We are all learning from each other, developing indicators as we go along and creating evidence. There are no rules and no technically proven return on the investment. We are in the process of creating frameworks and sharing global successful examples."

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A very special time in our society: Less talk and more action.

Despite the political distress overall, the worldwide economy, business survival and climate change control are demanding practical hands on global cooperation. The point is not going "left" or "right", it is about finding an equilibrium.

Our society is learning how to work with multi-disciplinary teams and to trust each other for a common good. "The present interconnected and integrated world do not accept any other development model, but to go circular" as said by Janez Potocnik, Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel.

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lobal Hubs, collaborative research and regional ecosystems

All around the world ecosystems are being established gathering business alongside the value chain with public authorities, professional federations, academy and finance bodies to work together in specific technological solutions, systemic discussions and/or sector specific initiatives.

A few examples were presented at the event:

1.CINDERELA: Circular Economy Business Model for more sustainable urban construction, 48 month initiative with 14 partners 

2. Resyntex: working for circular textiles, 20 partners from across different EU member states

3. The National Institute for Circular Economy in Paris, 200 members involved in carrying out the National Road Map for Circular Economy. They have agreed on 10 proposals from kids education to a new circular tax system.

4. Slovenian Road Map and strategy: funded by the government becoming a role model for other countries 

Not too impossible after all

Such event has demonstrated that I was on the right path when I decided to go on my mission to bring circularity to Brazil and, it is just about the right moment to establish our Brazilian ecosystem bringing all stakeholders together for the transition.

International Knowledge exchange

We have started learning from the Dutch, can now follow the steps of Slovenia and France and walk almost side by side with the German.

Looking forward to the circular rollercoaster!!

Check out the amazing work from Mireille van Bremen and how she has captured all the emotions and energy of the debate.

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Circular Change