Author: Martí Rufí-Salís

Quantification is key to make grounded decisions. Stating that a chair, a house or even a country is performing better than another is not possible without quantifying a certain parameter, call it size, productivity or durability. Quantifying the sustainability of a system is no exception, but it is easier said than done. It is quite tricky to analyze complex production systems such as food supply chains with multiple sources of data. It gets even trickier when scientists do not agree on the methods and tools we should use to quantify sustainability. And it gets even trickier when…


Machteld Simoens, our newest Circulus team member, won first prize in the 2020 3MT Competition of the Graduate School for Environment, Society and Global Change. Curious about Machteld’s approach to studying sustainable packaging, her research goals, and the 3MT competition? Then read on and enjoy the video below!

“An 80.000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present. You have 180 seconds. Make them count.” With this announcement, the Graduate School for Environment, Society and Global Change at the University of Freiburg invited graduate students to participate in its annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition on March 4th, 2020. Machteld…


Authors: Anran Luo, Hanna Helander & Machteld Simoens

Visual documentation from Seminar on Sustainable Economies by Jakob Kohlbrenner

As PhD colleagues in the interdisciplinary circular economy project Circulus, Hanna, Machteld, and I organized a seminar for early-career researchers working on alternative sustainable economy concepts such as circular, bio or low-carbon economy. Although we come from different disciplines and our research focuses on different dimensions of the circular economy, we share the idea that our research can and should impact policy and a broader social transformation. …


Author: Hanna Helander

In 2015, the European Commission launched “Closing the loop — An EU action plan for the Circular Economy”. It states that the circular economy will create jobs and “help avoid the irreversible damages caused by using up resources at a rate that exceeds the Earth’s capacity”. Sounds like a concept worthwhile pursuing! But how does this magic pill work, and how can we make sure it does not have side effects?

Obviously, the communication from the Commission is a result of political negotiation between stakeholders with a wide range of interests. At the same time, the circular…


Authors: Sina Leipold & Anna Petit-Boix

After all the hype around the Game of Thrones finale, one particular line might stick in our minds. Quoting Tyrion Lannister, “there’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story”. We’re not going to discuss whether this was the best way of choosing the next Warden of the Six Kingdoms, but the power of stories does have an effect in the real world — the one where survival does depend on climate change. …


Author: Anna Petit-Boix

Storms, flooding, drought, pollution… Lately, the media are full of stories showing us how challenging it is for cities to manage environmental events. Behind the bad news though, there are also good news. Local authorities around the world are strongly committed to adapting cities to the changing climate and to redefining urban lifestyles. In summary, cities wish to become more sustainable. What this means in reality remains oftentimes a mystery. Why? Well, if we take a look at local agendas, we get an idea of the number of sustainability concepts decision-makers deal with on a regular basis…


Author: Marius Hohl

Given that nowadays even VOGUE Magazine publishes articles about Circular Economy, one can truly say the concept has become fashionable. Issued from the realm of environmental economics, Circular Economy is commonly depicted as “[…] an economic system that replaces the ‘end-of -life’ concept with reducing, alternatively reusing, recycling and recovering materials in production/distribution and consumption processes.”.

Source: pixabay.com

Frequently presented as a pathway to a brighter future, one advantage of Circular Economy seems to be its connectivity to a wide range of crosscutting goals. In other words, adopting a Circular Economy seems quite desirable, since it offers economic, ecological…

Circular economy stories

By the Chair of Societal Transition and Circular Economy of the University of Freiburg

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