15 Feb 2023

How to apply real circularity to your business? 

Rachel Kan, founder of Circular Earth, Pure London

Rachel Sheila Kan is a Sustainable Fashion Consultant and Founder of Circular Earth, that supports businesses to embrace circularity and move forward in their sustainability journey.


In her live seminar at Pure London, she encouraged brands and retailers to see circularity as a regenerative process and consider different ways of operating their business.


She said some of our waste can become food and fuel for other industries, and that a lot of people are utilising waste from one industry to create amazing new stuff.


From water consumption to where you source your energy from and your social impact, many elements come into play when adopting circular economy principles into your business.


“Circularity is more than just a product. A lot of times people focus on products as being what needs to become circular, but it’s good to have a whole system’s perspective.” Rachel Kan



Circularity is also part of how we create companies, how we can create new business functions that work for the future and are nor only about GDP.  Growth is necessary but one thing that is underestimated is locality. Your business can be part of generating economies all over the world. This is a huge element of circularity that is lost in today’s world of constant focus on products and materials.


“Where do your products come from and how is your business impacting communities in that area?” Rachel Kan


Rachel has worked with Ken Alston on the original Cradle to Cradle model, and he joined the Pure London seminar virtually. He said that we are arguably less sustainable now than when the World Commission on Environment and Development first coined the phrase Sustainable Development in 1987.

The definition at the time was all about meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Ken mentioned that most people have a simplistic notion of sustainability. It’s often depicted as an equilateral triangle with three Ps – People, Planet and Profit.

This is a flat two-dimensional model that doesn’t give you any real clues about what to do when facing the complexities of the real world. Circularity isn’t automatically sustainable, it’s important to build multi-dimensional models with a combination of both circularity and sustainability. Ken Alston’s work is about developing an approach of looking deeply at how nature is self-sustaining.


“Personally, I'm very optimistic about designing a more sustainable future. There's a new dissatisfaction with the status quo. There are new emergence standards, new behaviours, new markets, and new companies.” Ken Alston


Rachel compares circularity to a tree recreating synergy, where CO2 is transformed into oxygen, so it’s important to contemplate the many ways a business can make the world a better place, by creating constant positive or recessionary benefits. It’s all about moving away from the liner economy and increasing the beneficial impact with sustainably circular business models.


“Circularity is a journey, a constant learning journey. You can be part of this change.” Rachel Kan


There’s currently a strong interest in ESG, from legislation to policies and financial systems, so it’s important to consider what your business is doing about sustainability and circularity.  



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