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Youth-led program to power circular economy around world

Updated: Mar 24


WEF, Scale360°, Global Shapers
Hub-led approaches powered by technologists, political leaders, researchers and more can help jumpstart circular innovation. PHOTO: ImageCollab

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, a new circular approach is needed to transform the goods and services we have and the pipeline of innovations still to come.

To support this effort, the World Economic Forum announced on 8 February that Scale360°, their circular economy initiative, and Global Shapers, a network of change-makers, will launch a youth-led, grassroots program in cities around the world.

Linda Lacina, public engagement at World Economic Forum, says innovation is critical to triggering a much-needed shift in how products are made and consumed. She says hub-led approaches powered by technologists, political leaders, researchers and more can help jumpstart circular innovation.

“Innovators in four Global Shaper hubs in Mexico City, Brussels, Turin and Bangkok will design, organize and deliver interventions that support circular economy solutions tailored to local needs. She says Scale360° leverages innovation hubs to bring together leaders in science, policy and business to trigger circular change,” she says. According to Lacina, leaders and collaborators in Global Shaper hub cities will use the Scale360° Circular Innovation Playbook, a unique tested methodology to fast-track Fourth Industrial Revolution impact. She says hub cities were selected from a pool of over 40 applications and the initiative will facilitate connections from across its networks of experts and leaders in civil society, government and industry.

“Leveraging young change-makers from the Global Shapers community ensures a grass-roots approach to triggering local solutions to circular change and such efforts are key to triggering systems change. As new research from the WEF and ScaleUp Nation explains, finding trailblazing companies looking for scalable circular solutions can have a cascading effect throughout their industries, one not possible through traditional commercial solutions,” says the public engagement manager. Helen Burdett, global lead of Scale360°, says each of the selected Global Shaper pilot leaders brings a different perspective and recognize circular innovation as not only an environmental imperative, but also as a business opportunity. She says we are eager to see how each city delivers its Scale360° programme during this sprint. Jamie Butterworth, partner at Circularity Capital and board member at Scale360°, says the launch also marks a potential turning point for circular change, we’re at an inflection point in today’s very linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economy. He says the Scale360° hubs will play an important role in further fostering collaborative innovation and accelerating the transition towards a more restorative, circular economy. “This initiative allows each of us to have local impact while imagining the global possibilities of our actions. Considering the local and the global will help us make progress for a circular future,” says Sara Lee, project co-lead at Mexico City Scale360° Hub.

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