We had a chance to talk to Soňa Jonášová, director and founder of Institut Cirkulární Ekonomiky, an organization that works hard to help Czechia recover from crisis in a sustainable way 🌿. Zajímej.se is a news portal focused on the circular economy ♻️.
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🤔 How was INCIEN established?
😃 INCIEN was founded five years ago after returning from studying in the Netherlands, where circularity was already seen as an important topic. Only one article about the circular economy existed in Czech at that time which was evidence of the fact that INCIEN was needed to drive change in the Czech Republic. We spent the first few years popularizing the topic, raising awareness of it and analyzing the current situation in the country. This included analyses of waste streams, talks in schools and various municipalities, organizing conferences, etc.
🤔 What is the main goal of your organization?
😃 Our main aim is to help our society transform into one that sees waste as a resource and that moves away from the current take-make-dispose model of the linear economy towards a fair, inclusive and sustainable circular economy instead.
🤔 What are the key values of the organization?
😃 Our key values are largely based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We believe in creating sustainable and resilient communities through effective partnerships.
🤔 What are the main activities that you do?
😃 We focus on innovative environmental management through cooperating with companies, municipalities, and other stakeholders, while working to promote circularity.
This year we divided our activities between us, INCIEN, and the newly established CIRA Advisory:
INCIEN will continue its mission as an NGO providing expertise, education, and innovations. We will be conducting research and sharing it with the relevant stakeholders. In terms of consulting and education, we will focus on the biggest projects with the greatest measurable impact.
CIRAA takes care of the production aspect of our activities (such as organizing conferences and webinars), multiplies our projects and provides strategic advisory services to both private and public entities.
🤔 What problem do you solve? What are the pain points?
😃 We are addressing the issues of the linear model that our economy is currently functioning on. At this point, the ‘normal’ is extracting resources, making them into something that we often do not even need and then disposing of it shortly afterwards. The product then often proceeds to the landfill and all of the resources that went into making it are wasted.
The circular economy is an approach to sustainability that can be used as a tool to close material loops and ensure that value is preserved, whilst protecting the environment and improving the living standards of the society.
🤔 Are you planning or already working on some exciting project?
😃 We are currently working on various publications on topics such as green public procurement, we’re working with multiple companies, and preparing conferences for this autumn which include ODPAD ZDROJEM (Waste as a Resource) in Brno (2.-3.9.2020) and Circular Economy: It’s CEO’s Agenda (9.9.2020).
🤔 What is the message you would like to deliver to the audience?
😃 The responsibility for the world we live in lies with each of us. It is important that everyone feels that and behaves according to it. If we change our practices and incorporate circular principles into our everyday life, it can change the way we think, consume, the way we do our business and in the final consequence, it can change the whole system into the system that’s sustainable economically, as well as, environmentally.