Circular Economy and Magic

The last couple of days, I’ve attended a number of inspiring sessions at an official affiliate event, the Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF).

SIF brings together 600 delegates who are focused on developing the green economy. Circular economy was one of the four tracks at the event, and with Best Buy’s focus on extending the life of technology, I made a point to attend those sessions. Here I am with some of my fellow Climate Generation business delegates also attending SIF.

delegates standing together in U.S. Climate Action CenterThere have been many definitions of the circular economy floating around the past couple of days. Joel Makower of GreenBiz defines it as “keeping molecules in play.” IKEA CEO and President Jesper Brodin said, “Circular economy means we can fulfill our mission in the future.”

And others have defined it as Reduce, Reuse, Recycling, plus Rethink and Renewal.

At Best Buy, we aspire to drive forward the circular economy — in which we maximize the value of the resources in consumer electronics. Some of our circular economy programs include:

  • In collaboration with our vendor partners, we redesigned TV package labels to reduce product damage. These labels have been implemented across all brands to drive consistent safe handling practices.
  • Through our Repair program, we have helped our customers extend the life of their products. In FY18, Best Buy and our nearly 20,000 Geek Squad agents repaired nearly 5 million customer devices.
  • Our Best Buy Trade-In program enables customers to upgrade to a new product while ensuring their old product continues its useful life. It also brings good, working technology onto the market for those who might not be able to afford brand-new technology.
  • We continue to operate the most comprehensive consumer electronics takeback program in the U.S. Since we established our recycling program in 2009, we have collected more than 1.7 billion pounds of consumer electronics and appliances for recycling, putting us on track to achieve our goal to collect 2 billion pounds by 2020.

We are proud of our programs that contribute to a more circular economy.

At the same time, we know that there is so much more to do. One panel discussed the importance of infrastructure to achieving a circular economy at scale.

panel speakers talking

Another panel on circular economy featured entrepreneurs that were developing business solutions for a circular economy. Some of the featured innovations included:

  • a method for chefs to weigh food to monitor and reduce waste
  • a technology to erase printed paper for reuse
  • a barrier of air bubbles that blocks river plastic from entering the ocean
  • a 100% compostable coffee capsule

magician using bubbles

At this historic COP24, it is important to explore both innovation and what will sustain a circular economy in the long-term. As Harald Friedl, CEO of the Circle Economy, said, “You can’t reach the Paris Agreement without a circular economy.”

Closing out the Sustainable Innovation Forum was a magical demonstration of climate change through making bubbles. I was mesmerized by this creative display of the science of climate change!

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