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20/20: A Circular Vision for 2043

As we celebrate 20 years of Circular, we asked Dan, our founder, what’s important for him as we look toward the next 20.

Twenty years ago, Dan founded Circular&Co. with an ambition to break the linear approach to product design. Today we find ourselves in a world where the circular economy is growing in awareness, the principles of circular design are well established and our brand, while relatively small, punches above its weight thanks to some great products and partners.

That is quite a lot of ground to cover, but two decades into the Circular journey, there is still much to do. As such, we thought it would be critical to see what the future holds all things Circular&Co., and set our course accordingly. We sat down with Dan to find out where he plans to take the business, laying out his vision for the next two decades.

How we feel about the future is fairly important to our decision-making and what we plan for. Dan unapologetically rejects the nostalgia of years gone by, instead putting value on forward-facing ideas and activities:

A big part of that grand plan for the future is built on our three brand principles, design the very best products, make those products game-changingly good for the environment, and champion the cause of circular design as a solution to the climate crisis. The third element here is the responsibility we take for spreading the principles and knowledge of circular design as far and wide as possible.

This time 20 years from now, in 2043 we see ourselves as a fully circular business, with a range of 100% circular Reusables and Returnables. Almost more importantly however, we have a vision for the world we want to live in. It is a world where the concept of Circular Design is mainstream, an industry standard across the board. We want to live in a society where Circular Economy is thriving and where citizens understand and live circular lives. The bright and brilliant businesses of the world have also taken on the mantel, and collectively we have forged the Circular Design space. Collaboration across sectors, with key innovators and experts in circularity ensuring a global presence, application and use of circular products. 

We believe in the importance of being connected to the wider world, creating the next opportunity, and creating the future through progressive partnerships and commitment.

” A company can only make real scalable impact by either predicting the future or making it. Our human impact on the environment is hugely influenced and ultimately determined by design. Making good, sustainable design a reality is the responsibility of companies and corporations. As citizens, we can only be green with the products we are given. 

A company’s true environmental impact and legacy is ultimately shaped by the products they put into the world, not necessarily its CSR policy, B Corp status, or some intangible sustainability statement. 

Circular Design has the power to save the world. We’ve always known that, but we’ve always just got on with putting it into practice, rarely shouted about it. We now see that as the wrong approach.  The next 20 years will see the same determination to be Circular, but with even more gusto put into helping others adopt, whether it’s you, your family and community or big industry and governments.  A circular world is a fully sustainable one.

I’ve been to too many conferences where industry blames ‘consumer behaviour’ for many of today’s environmental issues, which is total poppycock! It’s our job to ensure ALL products are circular and sustainable, if you or I need a new pair of shoes, that’s fine because those shoes will be made from recycled materials, designed to last and be fully recyclable as standard. It’s not really about choices, it’s about good design.

As a keen designer, you spend your life trying to predict what’s around the corner, what’s the next big thing and what simply won’t be around in 20 years’ time; like blasted plugs, cars that only charge 300 miles, traffic jams (because we all use taxi drones), ownership of things, rubbish bins (because there isn’t such a thing as rubbish any more) but ‘resource’ bins that collect materials for tomorrow’s next new product. If we can imagine it, it is our job to make it a reality. Let’s get to work! “