Biomimetic business modelling?

If McKinsey‘s believe in it, then even if you are unsure, you’d better get the best briefing you can: these videos may raise just as many questions as answers, but they’re a good starting point

Before you get to hear from McKinsey’s, it might be a good idea to watch a brief introduction:

Ok, so that’s the theory. You might call it Recycling Theory 2.0

Now it’s time to hear what it’s like when you try to put this into practice:

Things mentioned in the second video:

First a magazine article:

The NEXT Industrial Revolution

William McDonough and  Michael Braungart

Article in The Atlantic Magazine October 1998

Next a book (this is the Wikipedia entry for it):

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a 2002 non-fiction book by German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough.

It is a manifesto detailing how to achieve their Cradle to Cradle Designmodel.

It calls for a radical change in industry: a switch from a cradle-to-grave pattern to a cradle-to-cradle pattern.

It suggests that the “reduce reuse recycle” methods perpetuate this cradle-to-grave strategy, and that more changes need to be made.

The book discourages downcycling, but rather encourages the manufacture of products with the goal of upcycling in mind.

This vision of upcycling is based on a system of “lifecycle development” initiated by Braungart and colleagues at the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency in the 1990s: after products have reached the end of their useful life, they become either “biological nutrients” or “technical nutrients”.

Biological nutrients are materials that can re-enter the environment.

Technical nutrients are materials that remain within closed-loop industrial cycles.

Another book which came up in the second video (this is the Wikipedia entry for it):

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution is a 1999 book co-authored by Paul HawkenAmory Lovinsand Hunter Lovins.

It has been translated into a dozen languages and was the subject of a Harvard Business Reviewsummary.[2]

In Natural Capitalism the authors describe the global economy as being dependent on natural resources and ecosystem services that nature provides.

Natural Capitalism is a critique of traditional “Industrial Capitalism”, saying that the traditional system of capitalism “does not fully conform to its own accounting principles. It liquidates its capital and calls it income.

It neglects to assign any value to the largest stocks of capital it employs- the natural resources and living systems, as well as the social and cultural systems that are the basis of human capital.”

Natural capitalism recognizes the critical interdependency between the production and use of human-made capital and the maintenance and supply of natural capital.

The authors argue that only through recognizing this essential relationship with the Earth’s valuable resources can businesses, and the people they support, continue to exist.

The event was called:

The B4E (Business for the environment) Climate Summit 2011, London

The session was a plenary discussion panel called:

Closed-loop business models for the future

Here are the details:

Closed loop thinking – striving to keep materials within the economic system, without negative impact on health or environment – is the next step in resource management.

Achieving this requires a dramatic redesign of existing processes.

The panellists in this session will identify what is required in terms of financing, innovation and performance along the entire value chain, and discuss the extent to which the effort is worth the prize.

Moderator: Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change, The World Bank

Ramon Arratia, Sustainability Director, Europe, Middle East, Africa & India, InterfaceFlor

Steve Evans, Director, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Industrial Sustainability

Giles Hutchins, Global Director, Sustainability Solutions, AtoS

Jeremy Oppenheim, Director & Global Lead, Sustainability & Resource Productivity, McKinsey & Company

Steffan Saecker, Business Manager, SAFECHEM Europe

The first video was called:

Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy

It was issued by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation