Circular Economy, Cradle to Cradle, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Krickenbeck, Venlo

Day One: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 Workshop in Krickenbeck, Germany

The April Summit is being held in Krickenbeck, Germany in a forest, in a castle. As you do.

The Foundation's work is to bring the Circular Economy to life.  With gCycle, we are definitely in the right place and based on meetings last week in London and conversations on Day One here, there is a momentum around all things Circular, especially in Europe. Interestingly a friend from the US is doing something similar to us – an extreme focus on the UK and EU rather than the US to grow his Circular business such is the support / interest of it in these parts. 

Day One started with a tour of Venlo, NL a delightful town that is the very first Cradle to Cradle city in the world. gDiapers was the very first Cradle to Cradle certified consumer packaged good way back in 2007 so the principles are close to our hearts. Seeing the way the design principles have been incorporated into Venlo's new town hall was pretty remarkable. The building essentially breaths thanks to a solar chimney up top and internal and external vertical gardens. All the furniture – most by Herman Miller, was sold to the City for a 10 year period. After that time, Herman Miller buys it back for a predetermined price. During the 10 years, Herman Miller maintains the furniture. The furniture company will collect and repurpose rather than send to landfill. The air quality internally is better than externally and absenteeism is down. The building started saving the Town money as soon as it was built. They have gone on to build an elementary school and other buildings using this process. 

We then hit Ecor – a fellow Circular Economy 100 company who takes any cellulose fibre and creates a range of building and other products. It is beyond clever. Read their own write up about the time we spent with them here. They are one amazing company. 

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The original Town Hall. 


The snazzy new Town Hall. Note the Solar Panels up top. 


Fabulous furniture. 


Internal gardens. The temperature in this space perfectly self-regulates. 


Looking upwards, a central column allows air flow. 


Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 


Groovy Staircases. 

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A seat so cool I am not totally sure how to sit in it. And a mouse & keyboard looking for a monitor. And someone forgot their handout. 


At Ecor we saw the process in action. An absolute Waste to Resource game changer. Slightly concerned about their gardening skills. 

We headed to Krickenbeck to check in and hear about Google's progress in creating healthy spaces for Googlers. I had no idea our indoor environments were just so bad for us. We also heard a progress update from the Foundation on their work with the EU and UN to garner support for the Circular Economy.  We wrapped up with dinner which included a chocolate fountain dessert.  I may or may not have returned to it 6 times. It's hard to remember after all the chocolate. 

This is a great community of action-oriented innovators with the ability to really change the world. Looking forward to Day Two.