The constant growth of our population, finite resources, and a linear flow of materials as we know it, are no longer compatible. Looking ahead, the human approach of take, make, and dispose must be replaced by a circular one, and science and entrepreneurship can help. In this Falling Walls Circle, sustainability experts, tech entrepreneurs, and investors reflect on today’s global sustainability challenges and explore: How can science-based tech solutions together with impact-driven mindsets promote a circular future?

“It is important for scientists to get into a circular mindset that they apply to every process and product design”, says Anne Lamp. For her start-up Traceless, she decided to not go down the corporate route. Instead, she put her circular values right at the core of the product, an alternative for plastics from natural biopolymers. For her, rethinking materials, products and optimizing their life cycle not only helps to sustain the environment, but also proves to be a forward-looking business model for visionary entrepreneurs and investors.

The circular economy offers huge opportunities for science and entrepreneurs

Instead of merely looking at business plans, Fridtjof Detzner, founder of Planet A Ventures, always takes the science into this investment decision: “Not everything that gets funded provides a solution unfortunately. That’s why you have to listen to the scientific voice”, he says. Especially in a paradigm-shifting field such as the circular economy, science and entrepreneurship play an important role, as do measurements and coalitions between established industries and politics.

“The circular economy can be a means to an end with climate change”, adds Helen Burdett. It is not just a new way to deal with waste, but a way to change huge industries on their way to reduce emissions. “It is breaking down the way our economy currently works” – and herein lies a huge opportunity for science, entrepreneurs and, most important, our planet.