Colin Webster



  • Natural Capitalism is a 1999 book by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins. In essence, it maps out an approach for business to work in harmony with the environment, rather than destroy it. This book, alongside other movements like Cradle to Cradle, Biomimicry, Performance Economy,and Industrial Ecology, were vital in helping shape how the Ellen...

  • nice response! If you wanted to go a step further, you could add something about policy and regulation being in alignment with all of these goals

  • ah but saying you agree with both is cheating ;)

  • yes, I agree that reading the comments of others adds to the whole experience :)

  • yes good point - just because something comes from a recycled material does not make it circular. It could just be a one-time repurposing...

  • we're glad you're enjoying it :)

  • in your hypothetical example, I think the startup would be encouraged to design the device in a circular way if (a) the legislation supported that action (eg stricter rules against creating ewaste), and/or (b) there was an economic benefit further down the line from the circular design (eg they could repurpose or sell the component parts)

  • Thanks for pointing this out Dave. I've now fixed the links :)

  • Worm farms are great things! While they don't get their own space on the butterfly diagram, I think they live alongside composting

  • Well, we choose to engage with the current system to drive change quickly. This means building strong relationships with decision-makers from business, government and academia, designers, innovators, NGOs and others. We believe businesses play a crucial role in shifting the system. We recognise that currently many businesses are part of the problem, but given...

  • It's great to have you here :)

  • Sounds like a win for the Utilitarians! I'm Scottish so genetically cannot comprehend cricket.

  • we should have called it the messy and squiggly economy?

  • maybe I shouldn't have written 'the aim is to win' but to have fun! I played football in a local park yesterday and it didn't matter who won. We participated for pleasure...but the key is we all understood the rules, and if we had decided not to use the offside rule then we would have played the game differently.

    Otherwise I fully agree! Policy and...

  • These are important points. On the matter of movies, haven't we already - with our Netflix contracts - moved away from ownership to access?

  • Come on Andrew, you have surely seen key differences between the linear and circular economy!
    I think the case study on washing machines, and the section on deriving value, showed where there can be economic benefits. Sure, it didn't expand the point to the whole population, but I think that's more of a political decision than a linear/circular one.

  • I'm not so sure education is the silver bullet. I believe it's important (it's my job after all!) but 45 years after the world first saw the recycling logo and yet less than 20% of plastic packaging is recycled. And that's only plastic we're talking about - it's much simpler to deal with that, post use, than, say, carpets or fridges.

  • I love 99PI! I think I listened to the one on peat...and some of the details have stayed with me. In particular that we destroyed peat bogs because planting trees was the big deal at the time. Classic lack of understanding and lack of systems thinking

  • I imagine you enjoyed, in particular, what Abby had to say in the podcast :)

  • I guess another concern is what should those people who cannot get credit do?

  • Interesting example. I hope they make it to market

  • @ClaireL they certainly did in that case! But I don't think there is enough of a parallel: covid immediately threatened lives and governments cracked down on behaviours with some stringent new laws. I think climate change will always seem like a distant problem rather than one we can avoid by each doing something differently.

  • great idea - make the companies responsible for their products' final resting places!

  • I like the idea of using it as a shared asset. I wonder how practical that is if you don't live in an apartment block..?

  • yes, this is definitely a concern. You might find this article of interest:

  • I agree with thee comments and would like to add this - the business case for future use needs to be calculated and must stack up, or we'll always only be thinking about sell-it-and-forget business models

  • nicely put

  • Yes, I agree! There are many ways we can benefit from this approach, which the article above hints at without being explicit - a regenerated biosphere, better environmental outcomes. The question at the end on economic value is to set you up for the next step ;)

  • yes, definitely!

  • However, the energy savings when you repair/resell/remanufacture a product are significant. Compared to creating something from virgin materials, of course. We need to keep technical cycle items in use so their embedded energy is utilised

  • yes, we cannot 'consume' washing machines, so why call ourselves consumers in that moment? I believe there is a problem with clothing mixing different fibres. They might sound good on the packet but no consideration is given to 'what's next?'

  • yes, I agree Joanne - I don't think a mass audience needs to be convinced (or maybe they couldn't be convinced) to do things differently from a moral or environmental standpoint, but if we put better options in front of them in terms of convenience, price and quality, then we could see a large shift

  • I wonder if convenience, performance and price trumps the notion of ownership. There are good examples of the shift away from ownership, such as in CDs ---> Spotify

  • you cannot, sorry. But it's on youtube :)

  • So happy to hear this :)

  • yes, I agree that established firms are likely to take small steps towards circularity, making use of the emerging system conditions. we tend to see that new firms, on the other hand, can be designed for circularity from the outset. Perhaps there is less 'linear lock-in' to overcome for them

  • This is a great example of how a change of policy can drive the behaviours you want to see.

  • nicely put Kate

  • Thanks :) There are lots of great insect-based initiatives around the world these days!

  • It's great to have you all here :)

  • I'm delighted to hear this :)

  • Hemp and mushrooms are answers we often see for good material solutions :)
    Interesting point about Burger King. I'm sure they won't be immune from criticism, but doing something that's noticeably different for their mass market customer base can only be a good thing when it comes to changing perceptions.

  • ok, it's just a metaphor and they are never perfect ;)
    You raise a really good point about context...what works in Andes may not work in the Amazon

  • I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

  • @MohammedEnghaIsah yeah, I prefer the language of eliminated to minimised :)

  • @TonyaLehtinen you might be interested in this case study from Brazil: