Tell a story – Making sense of Circular Economy

Research Team
Kirjoitti Research Team

How to make Circular Economy more interesting? In this article we tell what it means to tell a story and make sense of Circular Economy.

The concept of Circular Economy is often touted as a panacea for recurring environmental disasters and economic recession; countless papers, articles and magazines have extolled its virtues in propelling exponential growth and alleviating poverty.   

Although challenges abound in the successful implementation of Circular Economy measures, the chief obstacle to overcome, arguably, is one of clear communication. Do people have a good grasp of what Circular Economy entails? Why should they even care about it? And ultimately, what can they as individuals do to contribute? 

Persuade the audience

Telling a story is a time-honoured and proven method of exciting people’s imagination. It is also a common marketing ploy used by brands to convey their heritage – real or imagined; to make individuals care about the product and build a community. Creating a narrative allows one to make sense of complex information and abstract ideas. 

Yet this is precisely what is often neglected in communications on Circular Economy. Alas, much of the discourse on Circular Economy is laden with jargon, complicated charts and convoluted concepts that serve to confound rather than simplify. Often, the discourse is purely academic; trite, dry and full of platitudes.  

We must make Circular Economy more accessible, perhaps even with a touch of sense of humor. Educators, experts and politicians therefore should assume greater responsibility in delivering a coherent message in a way that is not just educational, but also inspirational. A message that is conveyed by a credible authority (ethos), arouses emotions (pathos), and appeals to logic (logos), stands a greater chance of persuading the audience than a mundane summary of facts.  

Company has successfully implemented Circular Economy measures to unearth a proverbial goldmine.

From waste to wealth 

Another aspect that seldom receives much attention is the value-proposition that a Circular Economy overhaul presents. Notwithstanding its environmental benefits, Circular Economy has much to offer to the profit driven company that seeks to increase its revenue through innovation and product development.  

The Finnish tractor gearbox manufacturer Valtra is a perfect example of such a company that has successfully implemented Circular Economy measures to unearth a proverbial goldmine. Seeing a business opportunity, the company founded a new subsidiary, Valtra Reman, that overhauls and re-manufactures gearboxes using old parts. Besides creating new jobs and reducing waste, since 2012 the company’s turnover has grown about 25–35 % annually. 

Parts that previously would have been discarded or recycled, are refurbished to sow seeds for future harvests. Yet, the formula: ‘recover, re-manufacture, resell’ is not a trade secret, but rather something that can easily be emulated by others. 

It is only through well-crafted communication strategies that we can positively change people’s perception of Circular Economy. For people and businesses to adopt the Circular Economy lifestyle then, it must first be made attractive.  We want to tell a story of circular economy.

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