Do you remember Jules Coignard and Raphael Masvigner from Circul'R? The two do-good entrepreneurs who started an organization to bring together companies from around the world in order to create solutions for a sustainable economy? Yeah! Those guys. We caught up with them while on surf trip in France to see how things are going.
SS: What's new at Circul'R?
C: It has been 5 years since we launched Circul’R, starting with a world tour to meet circular economy entrepreneurs. For 3 years now, we have worked to turn this project into a company. Our mission? To enable organizations to live in harmony with nature. And so far we have had a fantastic journey. We have launched impactful programs with companies so that they could drastically reduce their impact on the planet. One of our latest success stories is with Eurostar, the train that connects Paris to London. After a year of hard work, we managed to put in place the first zero single used plastic train in Europe. If this pilot project was replicated at a large scale, 5 million plastic bottles could be avoided every single year. And this is just one program we launched among many others to reduce the impact big companies have on the planet. The Circul’R team has also been growing and it’s mainly thanks to them that we are achieving these results.
SS: Wow! What other current projects do you have and how are they going?
C: Major trends are pushing companies to move from a linear business model (where you take, make and dispose) to a circular one, where you use resources in a smart way in order not to produce any waste. More than ever, companies have to reinvent their business so it’s not destructive but regenerative. Since the beginning of 2020, we have been working with many brands to help them change the rules of the game. We are working with the textile industry to give a second life to products that used to be burned or sent to landfill, we are looking for the future of packaging (reusable or compostable) for beverage companies, we are helping a successful startup to design a zero impact pair of glasses. Over the last two years, we have realized that the level of environmental consciousness has skyrocketed. It is a huge opportunity to change the way our current economical system works. This will move us away from a system that works against nature towards a system working for it. It gives us a lot of strength and motivation to keep on what we are doing at Circul’R.
SS: Anyway for regular people (like me) to get involved? Or you are focusing on the corporate level?
C: That has been one of the key questions over the past few years. Should we focus on giving tools to citizens to take action for the transition, or should we focus on companies that are the first polluters? We realized that many organizations and people were already acting to empower citizens such as Zero Waste, Extinction Rebellion, the World Clean Up Day and our beloved Greta Thunberg (what a warrior!). Regarding companies, we felt we could really change the way there are doing business with the help of our startup community. Today, our main focus is to transform big companies. At the same time, we also have a growing community of people, circular entrepreneurs or lovers that are sharing best practices and ideas to help each other to accelerate the transition towards a regenerative economy. This community can be found on Facebook (Circul’R Disruptors). There, more than 1,000 people are using collective intelligence for good and that’s beautiful.
SS: Which companies / people inspire you at Circul’R ?
C: An entrepreneur that has been a great source of inspiration for us is Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. His book “Let My People Go Surfing” was a great help to build the values at Circul’R and the way we work on a daily basis. The motto of Patagonia is the following: “We are in business to save the planet." And so are we at Circul’R. Some of our closest partners are re doing an amazing job to raise awareness on circular economy : Mud Jeans (created the first circular pair of jeans, reducing the amount of water needed to make a pair of jean by 70%); Fairphone (designed an ethical smartphone that is easy to repair);and last but not least SAOLA (thinking out of the box in order to design shoes while having a positive impact on the planet).
SS: What does it mean to you to be SAOLA Ambassadors?
C: Being a SAOLA ambassador is like being an environmental activist. When you talk about circular economy every single day, you need to show that concrete alternatives to the current economic model do exist. Clothes and shoes are our second skin and we use them every single day. It can be used as a topic to raise awareness on the environmental crisis. Especially knowing that the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries worldwide. Wearing shoes that match with what you are fighting for is key. SAOLA enables us to do this. This pair of shoes is a great way to communicate in a positive way with people about circular economy and about concrete solutions. It also a good fit with one of our core value at Circul’R: “explore to inspire." We need to be constantly on the lookout to discover new solutions, we need to test these solutions and learn about them. It is a continuous adventure. And for us, SAOLA also embodies this value.
SS: Thank you! Any fun plans for spring?
C: We are having fun everyday at Circul’R, no need to wait for spring. But if we had to give a guess, we would say a hiking or surfing trip with the team!
Touched by the commitment and support that this non-profit brings to the bonobos living in the Congo, we wanted to provide our support by making a donation throughout the year with every pair of shoes purchased.The money collected goes directly to the variety of local projects implemented by Friends of Bonobos to improve the living conditions of this endangered species.