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Gregory Giavarina

Gregory
Giavarina

Circular economy executive for the Deloitte Sustainable Development Group.

Circular economy expert
Gregory Giavarina

What does circular consumption mean?

 

How would you define circular consumption? Is it limited only to ‘consumer citizens’?

 

Consuming in a circular way means consuming in such a way that a maximum of resources can be preserved. Beyond the act of purchasing, it is in particular about preventing waste, extending the lifespan of products or multiplying their uses.

 

This is a mainly a concern for businesses and public players, in particular regarding their purchases and supplies. All over the world pioneers have proven such strategies to be capable of creating added value, as much economic as environmental or social.

 

What are the most effective strategies for raising awareness regarding the importance of sustainable consumption?

 

The last years have seen a multiplication of public awareness raising campaigns regarding sustainable development. Such campaigns, which work to create an increased awareness of environmental issues, have lost momentum in the context of the current economic crisis. Yet this context actually fosters collaborative consumption and even reuse. Labels are an effective strategy but one to watch, as too many labels spoil the label…

 

Do governments encourage circular consumption?

 

Regulations and incentives have been put in place by countries convinced by this model and committed to its implication. These encourage a form of consumption adapted to the effective and sustainable management of resources. There are many examples. We might mention Sweden where a reduction on VAT for repair work was introduced, or France, where planned obsolescence was recently declared a criminal offence.

 

Can we speak of “responsible circular consumption”?

 

The scope of responsible consumption is wider than that of sustainable consumption. Sustainability refers more specifically to the environmental dimension whilst responsible consumption goes beyond this by integrating social and economic justice. In my eyes, circular economy necessarily integrates these issues but everyone has a different way of interpreting the term. I was recently on a panel which awarded a prize for the recuperation of waste heat from an oil well so as to heat greenhouses, where tomatoes were being grown in winter. For me this is no circular economy; it is neither sustainable nor responsible.

 

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