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  • Nicoleta Talpes

Climate Change Champions Spotlight - interview Vojtech Vosecky

The ecological education platform GuerrillaVerde.ro is a partner of the Climate Change Summit, the first and largest event in Central and Eastern Europe dedicated to climate change, and brings to the public's attention a series of interviews with key guests of the Climate Change Summit, an editorial extension called Climate Change Champions Spotlight.



In the Spotlight: interview with Vojtech Vosecky, Associate at Circle Economy, LinkedIn Top Green Voice, Co-founder of the Institute of Circular Economy

In your opinion, what are the most significant barriers or misconceptions that prevent wider adoption of circular economy practices, and how can these obstacles be addressed?


Circularity is largely misunderstood. That's the biggest barrier. How can we do the right thing, if we focus on the wrong end of it? We need to go beyond recycling and turn it around. We should invest 80% of our efforts to not produce waste in the first place. All the exciting stuff, like design and circular business models, unfold from there.


Circular economy principles can be applied to various industries, from manufacturing to agriculture. Can you share some examples of industries where the circular approach has the most potential for transformative change?


Every industry is looking into this, but the bigger the material flow, the bigger the waste follows, and the bigger the potential. Food, manufacturing, construction, mobility, water - those are usually the sectors we work with, just for the sheer volume they need to produce. These industries are also at the forefront. I think fashion and fast-moving consumer goods (like food and beverages) are moving the fastest, but they also have a lot of challenges to fix.


As we look to the future, how do you envision the role of governments, businesses, and individuals in driving the transition to a more circular economy, and what steps should they take to contribute to this shift?


We all have a role to play. But as individuals, we can only do little. Sure, we can spend money better, but it's really the businesses and governments who have the lion's share of responsibility on their shoulders. We need bolder steps from big corporates in terms of design for circularity. I wish to see more focus on quality instead of quantity-based sales. And we need governments to keep up with the pace, provide the right interventions where needed, or take away policies, where not needed. As individuals, the best thing we can do is to get engaged. Via our work, our community, or we can vote. There's a lot more than just the money we have in our pockets.


Circular economy practices often emphasize the importance of product design with reuse and recycling in mind. Can you highlight some innovative examples of products or materials that have been designed with circular principles, and how have these innovations impacted sustainability?


Nature is 100% circular - everything in there is a huge source of inspiration to us. In the world of humans, there are companies pioneering the way forward. Fairphone with their ethical, modular, and upgradable smartphones. Lynk&Co with their cars that you can use, instead of buy. Even Coca-Cola has a hugely successful refillable scheme in Brazil and other Latam countries. Often, it's actually the startups and B2B SMEs that are the real champs. My favorite right now is CYRKL - a digital waste-to-resource marketplace.


Waste management and recycling are key components of the circular economy. What strategies or technologies do you see as particularly promising for improving recycling rates and reducing waste in the coming years?


I think we really need to go beyond recycling. We can't recycle our way out of this. We must change our single-use, throw-away culture. 75% of circular interventions should be happening "upstream" in the design and sourcing phase or during consumption. The best waste is no waste. We should find ways to make money by not producing waste in the first place, and only then think about recycling What works really well on a household level to reduce waste is pay-as-you-throw systems, as well as deposit schemes for all kinds of products and packaging out there.


The circular economy has the potential to create new economic opportunities. Can you share some insights into the types of jobs and industries that may see growth because of the circular economy's expansion?


We will see a lot more service jobs in the field of reuse, repair, refurbishment, and new designer roles as well. And of course more people in resource handling and waste management. I'd say we mostly need to educate our designers to do things differently. From architecture to automotive.


Consumer behavior plays a significant role in the success of circular economy initiatives. How can individuals and households contribute to the circular economy in their daily lives, and what are some practical steps they can take to reduce waste and promote recycling?


We all have a role to play. But as individuals, we can only do little. Sure, we can spend money better, but it's really the businesses and governments who have the lion's share of responsibility on their shoulders. We need bolder steps from big corporates in terms of design for circularity. I wish to see more focus on quality instead of quantity-based sales. And we need governments to keep up with the pace, provide the right interventions where needed, or take away policies, where not needed. As individuals, the best thing we can do is to get engaged. Via our work, our community, or we can vote. There's a lot more than just the money we have in our pockets.


About Vojtech Vosecky


Vojtech Vosecky is an award-winning circular economist. He co-founded the Institute of Circular Economy and worked on related issues in the European Parliament. He is in charge of Prague's transition toward the circular economy as Chairman of the Steering Committee for Circular Economy. He also works with the world-leading organization Circle Economy as an Associate focused on the Nordics and the CEE. Vojtech privately advises a number of organizations in their circular transition and is a member of several initiatives such as the Nordic Circular Hotspot, CradleNet, Circular Economy Club, and Visegrad for Sustainability.


The ecological education platform GuerrillaVerde.ro is a partner of this initiative and brings to the public's attention a series of interviews with key guests of the Climate Change Summit, an editorial extension called Climate Change Champions Spotlight. Interview conducted by Nicoleta Talpeș, Guerrilla Verde.

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