When we read about and deal with circular economy and circulation approaches in general, one point quickly becomes clear. A “closed loop” solution for a company that tries to recycle its own products and materials over and over again will hardly lead to success. After all, keeping the entire circular value creation under control is too much for the organisation. However, I often find that the need for intensive cooperation and collaboration with the partners within this value chain also overwhelms many companies.
Where does the lack of cooperation orientation come from?
Because we have internalized the mantra of competition as the basis for success in our socialization – through school, university and professional life. Although most of us would much rather work together with people than against them, many companies are polarized on the idea of displacement. Moreover, cooperation is often equated with collusion or unfair behaviour. But why is it so difficult to see trust and the pursuit of common interests as an act of meaningful business?
Why do we have to build instruments and control mechanisms that replace trust at much higher costs? This is mainly because individuals abuse and exploit trust in order to be better off themselves. Unfortunately, we then do not stop at punishing those who act against the rules, but we adapt the rules to the misconduct. And this often leads to the feeling that trust must be “earned”. Especially at the beginning of an intensive cooperation for Circular Economy, this requires an elaborate set of instruments. You have to regulate the cooperation and foresee and regulate possible problems.
Other starting points for common good oriented companies
If companies work for the common good, this starting point is different. Companies understand the value of cooperation and transparency. Joint decisions are important values of companies oriented towards the common good. It is therefore much easier to set up circular processes with several partners. In this way, everyone can start working on the basis of these and improve them continuously. Solution-oriented thinking is easier when it is clear to everyone that the best solution can only be achieved jointly. And that optimising my own situation at the expense of my partner will not help me in the end. Because I am dependent on my partner also being well.
Take furniture. They are created, handed over to the customer for use, repaired in between and later reconditioned. If the customer treats them badly, the costs are higher for all other partners who work with the used furniture. This would then lead to higher prices for the customer in the future. If this process is transparent to the customer, it can lead to lower costs in the entire value-added cycle, which benefits everyone. And he could still receive a surcharge if the condition of the material is still very good after use. Such a sense of community promotes circular economy solutions and in some cases makes them possible in the first place.
So what does that mean for you?
Are you a company that works according to the principles of the common good and would like to build circular solutions? Then get in touch with us to find potential partners and take the path to the Circular Economy.