Today, we’re taking a closer look into the ‘Reduce’ principle of circular design. For those of you who are just joining our circular journey, the ten principles have been created by the work of the City of Amsterdam, as part of their Circular City Strategy. We are taking a deeper look into circular design from the lens of the consumer, choosing to challenge the traditional linear model, and view waste as a resource.
Reduce: Increase the efficiency of the machines in the production process or use fewer raw materials for the same product
For many companies today, this may seem like a daunting task. And we don’t disagree. Making big changes on the manufacturing floor can be costly, there’s no question. However, we believe that in order for businesses to future-proof themselves, they must adapt to the sustainable processes that not only the circular economy demands, but a growing number of consumers do too. Big investments such as this are difficult to justify, because the returns can sometimes take many years to be seen. Unfortunately, the current economics system promotes the idea of constant growth, which pressures businesses even more to search for quick solutions that offer fast returns.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it only offers a band-aid solution to the greater problem at hand. These short-term investments may offer resolve for the next 2–3 years, and by that time, policy will have caught up to sustainability demands, and these businesses are immediately at a loss.
Our planet can no longer afford to take the “quick and dirty” approach to production and manufacturing.
As with all of the principles of circular design, the solutions available to increase the efficiency in production are in abundance.
In each one of our circular design posts, we’ve showcased a circular business leading the way. Today, we’ve taken a deeper dive into one of our favourite circular shoe companies, Allbirds. And they sure do embody the Reduce principle for us:
“Our ambition is to be like a tree, leaving the environment cleaner than we found it. That’s why we believe in the power of natural materials, and their potential to transform ecosystems. We’re looking beyond carbon neutrality, which means eventually, our business will be carbon negative.”-Allbirds
Be like a tree. Imagine every community, business, individual set their ambitions that high?
Allbirds prides themselves in using (and re-using) natural materials, while continuously working towards their goal of emitting zero carbon at all.
We can speak for the comfort of these shoes, and if you haven’t had the chance to try a pair on, you can likely imagine the comfort level when we tell you that they are made from superfine merino wool (breathable, temperature-regulating & moisture wicking)
Our process uses 60% less energy than materials used in typical synthetic shoes.-Allbirds
Like Patagonia, Allbirds has used the power of their retail platform to not only sell products, but educate their consumers on the importance of supporting sustainable, circular brands. We believe that education is the number one solution to creating a sustainable future, and that when it comes to climate communications, things can become a little overwhelming with the language of scientists.
Allbirds speaks human when explaining how they are measuring, reducing and offsetting their carbon footprint:
Chocolate bars? Now you’re speaking our language.
We highly recommend you take a deeper dive into Allbirds sustainability page here: https://www.allbirds.ca/pages/sustainability
The solutions to realizing a fully circular future exist, and it’s our job as citizens and as business owners to invest and support them now.
We hope you’ve enjoyed part 9 of our ten part circular design series. If you know of a circular company, brand, community or even individual that you think we should write about, don’t be a stranger! It takes a village.