In the continuous quest to spread the word about sustainability and inspire climate confidence, in today’s episode of the Climate Confident podcast I spoke with Stephen Jamieson, the Global Head of Circular Economy Solutions at SAP. We delved into the intriguing world of the circular economy, a concept that’s becoming increasingly crucial in our fight against climate change.
Stephen painted a vivid picture of our current global economy – one that is shockingly only 7.3% circular. To grasp the gravity of this, imagine that a staggering 93 gigatons of materials are extracted each year, most of which are mishandled, resulting in detrimental environmental impacts. From contributing to 90% of the world’s biodiversity loss to 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the way we manage materials today is cause for serious concern.
What stood out during our chat was the enormity of the problem, but also the potential solutions at our fingertips. It’s not just about waste reduction; it’s a broader climate change story. One significant revelation was that we’re ingesting a credit card size amount of plastic each week, which is an alarming testament to our current practices.
Stephen brought into focus the substantial role of businesses in promoting circularity, saying, “80% of sustainability impact is baked in at design time.” In essence, companies need to integrate sustainability from the design stage itself, and technologies can aid in streamlining this process. He shared an encouraging story about Henkel, a consumer goods company that swiftly adapted to Spain’s plastic packaging tax requirements, highlighting the power of digital transformation in the circular economy.
A significant part of our conversation centered around Extended Producer Responsibility regulations and the impact they have on shifting the cost of downstream waste management. Jamieson mentioned that the cost, which is currently shouldered by local authorities, would soon be handled by the production system, marking a considerable shift in incentive.
There’s a strong sense of urgency in our chat, but also a ray of hope. The circular economy holds the key to unlocking a sustainable future, and it’s evident that we are on the right track, but the journey has just begun.
Want to hear more about Stephen’s insights and why people often liken his voice to that a certain famous actor? Tune into this episode of the Climate Confident podcast and join the conversation. Let’s drive the change together!
You can listen to the full episode here. Your feedback and ideas are always appreciated, so feel free to drop a comment below. And remember, every small step towards sustainability counts!
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Full disclosure – SAP sponsored this episode of the podcast