A win-win solution is out there!

Circular economy will work if supported by favourable and efficient national laws

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The recent success of the circular economy approach to materials management is nothing short of amazing: it appears to be omnipresent these days. In June, the first World Circular Economy Forum took place in Helsinki, with the aim of kick-starting the transition towards a circular economy. In May, BIR, the global recyclers’ association, announced the organization of the first Global Recycling Day on 8 March 2018. BIR President Ranjit Baxi presented his vision of recyclables as the planet’s 7th important resource, in addition to water, air, coal, natural gas, and minerals. There is a multitude of similar initiatives around the globe. Considering that not so long ago, waste was at the very bottom of the political agenda, this is not a step but a leap forward.

The circular economy has definitely moved from the realm of wishful thinking to becoming a generally embraced objective for both policy and the corporate world. But while companies are developing technologies that can make it happen, the law often lags behind. A jungle of complex and contradictory legal rules in countries around the world makes it extremely difficult and costly for a legitimate operator to move used electronics across national borders for centralized repair and refurbishment, while illegal traders can very easily exploit the loopholes. A development project aiming to turn dirty recycling into a clean business that provides a livelihood for local people is confronted with a prohibition on the import of the material to be recycled. These are but two examples.

Last year, I had the pleasure of co-editing a book with interdisciplinary authorship from academia and practice, which investigates the potential of waste becoming a pilot area for a green economy. The key conclusion is that the first step must be the creation of a legal and economic framework conducive to investment in the relevant operations.

The law is, by its very nature, slow in encompassing new ideas, approaches, and realities. And yet legal frameworks that support a circular economy on the ground are urgently needed for taking the crucial step from policy support to implementation on the ground. The next leap forward will depend on national laws catching up with the requirements of a circular economy.



Author: kummerpeiry

The way forward is often blocked by endless discussions without decisions, or sabotaged by premature actions. Both end in frustration and waste. As a natural negotiator, I give exploratory discussions, concrete decisions and structured action plans their due place. This has been key to my successes throughout my career, both as a leader and when sitting at the negotiating table. I actively listen to others in order to enhance my perspective and understanding of the bigger picture. Innovative, unconventional ideas and methods are part of my toolkit when seeking solutions everyone can live by. In tense situations, a touch of humour can shift the space and work wonders. My passion and current professional focus is to find that win-win solution: industrial development that will protect the environment and create jobs, turning wastes from a problem into a solution. Both, I believe, are entirely possible - if the negotiation is managed right. I am at my best when communicating, building relationships and solving problems. My extensive experience in multi-cultural environments has convinced me that treating people as individuals rather than parts of a system gets the best results. I find that inspiring and motivating others supports them in achieving excellence.

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