From linear to circular: six questions for Stendahls’ sustainability expert

Meet Carina Sundqvist, copywriter and our resident expert on sustainability and circular economy. Topics embraced by a number of companies as more countries move towards a green, circular and resource efficient economy that uses renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. "Everyone can participate in this giant project to get our resources to last longer, and together create sustainable societies for today and future generations."

Seats are filled when Carina Sundqvist hosts her talks on sustainability and circular economy. Topics she's been passionate about since the 1990’s.

How long have you worked with sustainability?
– I’ve worked with sustainability in different ways since I was 16. This was in the 1990s, and we started to understand that something was not right. The environmental movement has always been active when it comes to sustainability, but with the business sector it’s been a slower progress. But I think that since 2015, it has really taken off. More people want to contribute as they start to understand that we’re putting ourselves in a serious situation if we don’t act forcefully.

Circular economy is on everyone's lips. But what is it, really?
– It’s an idea, a mind-set. The point is to find a better, more efficient way of taking care of our resources. How do you gain back the raw materials to use again? There’s also money to be made, because circular economy is a way of taking care of resources within economy.

Why is it important?
– Because it fills a gap. Many want to help society move towards sustainability, and this is a reasonable solution. And I think that the business sector wants to take responsibility, but they simply don’t know how. This is a solution that works perfectly for them. And the EU has big investments which allocates funds to help companies start working circular. Especially the textile business has jumped at this, since it requires so much water to produce cotton.

So, what is the biggest challenge when it comes to working with sustainability and circular economy?
– Time, and that society needs to work faster. We currently exceed four of the nine planetary boundaries, and we need to stay within those if we want to secure your planet’s future. We need to work together globally and show how we can create a positive, safe and sustainable social development. The business sector can really lead the way, and I see that they definitely want to. Companies who are transparent, honest and actively work with sustainability will be the winners of the future.

What reactions do you get when you’re out speaking about sustainability?
– That many companies really understand that working with these issues is a competitive advantage. They want to know more and to be inspired. But unfortunately, not everyone’s there yet. And they are at risk of falling behind as we move towards a green, circular and resource-efficient economy that uses renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

So how can companies work with sustainability?
– Everyone can participate in this giant sustainability project to get our resources to last longer and together create better societies for today and for future generations. To show that your company is actively working for sustainability strengthens your brand and generates new business.

Want to start working with sustainability and circular economy? Here are Carina’s tips:
- Move from linear to circular
- Design products that last, can be repaired and in the end recycled
- Sell services instead of products
- View your customers and clients as users instead of one-time buyers
- Sell a function instead of a gadget. For example, Phillips sell light subscriptions instead of lamps.

Further reading
- Cradlenet. A multisector network that works to support circular economy in Sweden.
- Circular economy on Wikipedia
- Finnish Sitra
- Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy
- Ellen MacArthur - Learning & The Circular Economy

Why we work with sustainability
Stendahls is place where good things happen. Our DNA is found in both the digital and creative world. We work together with brands to create cultural context, give value to people, and develop a total brand experience. And sustainability is an obvious part of this.

To strengthen Stendahls competence in sustainability and circular economy, Carina has held talks on the subject for Stendahls’ employees.

Are you and your comapny interested in learning more about sustainability and circular economy? Contact Carina at carina.sundqvist@stendahls.se