‘Looking closely at the principles of the circular economy, you can only conclude that one single product can’t be circular’

‘Looking closely at the principles of the circular economy, you can only conclude that one single product can’t be circular’

THE GREAT 8 OF CE

‘THE GREAT 8 OF CE’ is a blog series in which we ask Gispen employees eight questions about the circular economy. From our managing director to our factory workers, from the receptionist to the Support Manager. Every department is paid a visit, going through all layers of the origination. Transparency is vital for making the circular economy a success, and for this reason we are showing you how we are transitioning towards fully circular entrepreneurship.

The professional’s thoughts

When I think of the circular economy, I think of the drive that makes you conscious of everything you do. It also applies to working with the right products, when referring to Gispen, as well as treating people in a sustainable way. It not only concerns the business models of the circular economy, it also affects the people that are involved in the process.

Egbert Bos Business Manager

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What is the definition of CE in your opinion?

I think that we at Gispen have summarised it quite well: loss prevention, less waste production and reuse. It is quite comprehensive, but it does capture the essence of what the circular economy represents. This means making sure that what you produce will last for as long as possible, but also using the right materials for the job, if possible recycled and eligible for reuse later on.

What does the circular economy mean to you?

When I think of the circular economy, I think of the drive that makes you conscious of everything you do. It also applies to working with the right products, when referring to Gispen, as well as treating people in a sustainable way. It not only concerns the business models of the circular economy, it also affects the people that are involved in the process; being social, considering each other’s wishes, building sustainable relations with clients. I believe this is important when it comes to the circular economy.

How do you apply this philosophy at home?

In all kinds of enjoyable ways. I have just purchased a new house and that allows you to do it right the first time. You can save some energy by adding insulation and having solar panels installed on the roof, for example. Choosing an energy supplier, or any supplier for that matter, gives you the opportunity to be critical whom you do business with: how sustainable are they? I also enjoy getting my hands dirty and fixing up old products. I am actually an upholsterer by trade and like to refurbish worn out sofas by stripping them, sewing and reupholstering them in a new fabric and being left with a completely new and great-looking sofa.

Why are you engaged in this at home?

From intrinsic motivation. My partner is not as enthusiastic about it as I am, which often leads to interesting discussions. At the same time these discussions result in us making things as easy as possible for ourselves. You really don’t have to change your entire way of life in order to live sustainably.

Are you noticing that Gispen is in a transition toward a circular economy?

Yes, I certainly do. After all, we are beyond the early stages of the transition; our way of thinking has evolved quite a bit and we have completed several projects that prove this. I have also noticed that our clients have been asking us more questions about the principles of CE. Gispen’s philosophy is a solid one. We have also made progress when it comes to the implementation of CE, but there is always room for improvement, of course.

Which country/company/initiative serves as an inspiration to you?

I think that the example of Danone is a good one when it comes to the social aspect of CE. The company’s employees are given the opportunity to develop themselves and to carry out social initiatives. Another great example is that of Tipping Point, which is an organisation that supports and realises social initiatives, while using their own network of people to do so.

What is the best possible circular service for our clients?

Looking closely at the principles of the circular economy, you can only conclude that one single product can’t be circular. The perfect service is the total package: fully unburdening your client, providing good after service and making sure they don’t have to worry about anything. Preferably retaining ownership of the products and carrying out all the maintenance automatically. Such maintenance agreements can be made at the time of purchase.

Please share your CE success story

My success story is the NS project. What we do for NS is exactly what I meant by providing a full-service package and unburdening the client. The NS has published many tenders over the years, has had many suppliers and has a variety of large and small locations with all kinds of furniture pieces. This is why NS went looking for a single partner who can take it all off their hands. We won the contract. We do the maintenance, repairs, refurbishment – even when it concerns furniture that was supplied by third parties! – and supply new furniture that consist of the right materials. I think this is a very tangible example of how Gispen’s principle is applied in practice; fully unburdening the client and making sure that the furniture stays at its highest utility.

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