We have heard about the circular economy since quite a while ago – first hints dated back to 1966, with a more structured and ‘palatable’ approach for modern people in 1996.
Still… today the circular economy is on everyone’s agenda and part of high-end speeches and strategic thinking – from World Economic Forum to McKinsey discussing the future of fashion and the ‘end of ownership’.
The little problem here is about the discrepancy between what seems to be an economic model – or approach – very much idealistic and the reality of the ‘consumer’ mindset. I would suggest having a deep look at the tension we are experiencing these days between ‘central’ management of the macro-environment at social and economic levels and the inadequacy of those management practices at the micro-environment (read: people) level.
The individualistic society we have built to foster hyper-consumerism is now firing back at us when we have to control and act against planetary-level threats. We simply do not respond as individuals in what would be logical, community-oriented ways, simply because we are not educated or – better – we have not trained ourselves to think in terms of community.
Therefore, seems to be that before singing the praises of the circular economy or the end of ownership (this being the ultimate and fundamental pillar of what you do see around) I would try to understand how and what should be modified at the cultural level to move such triple-somersault changes from the wishful thinking to a real, globally impactful trend, and no longer an item we use to sound clever and à la page – with a delay of several decades.