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Supporting a shift to inclusive circular economies around the world

By actively and consistently creating new values, and changing our approaches, we all contribute to building a circular society where nature and humans co-exist 

At the Roundtable event hosted by the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi, 25 participants highlighted local innovative circular economy solutions to global challenges that are also contributing towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Photo: Wyss Academy


On May 8, 2024, The Wyss Academy convened a collaborative multi-stakeholder roundtable on Business Models for an Inclusive Circular Economy, hosted at the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi. The event was the first of a series of regional roundtables across WA Hubs in Kenya, Thailand, Peru, and Switzerland, organized in partnership with Chatham House and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.  


The circular society model is rooted in principles of regeneration and social justice, and is a call to action for solutions that directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Together with local entrepreneurs, policymakers, civil society, and private sector players, the event gathered unique insights on inclusive circular practices in Kenya, which will provide input for pivotal discussions at the upcoming UN Summit for the Future in September, 2024. Additionally, they provide a critical contribution to the planned policy paper “Circular Economy Futures” to ensure the inclusion of perspectives from various geographies and disciplines.  

Martina Durrer, Regional Head of International Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi, opened the session by highlighting the importance of public-private sector partnerships, saying, “The concept of circular economies speaks to what we do as a development agency, and I would like to thank the Wyss Academy for taking up this very important topic. If we want to be more sustainable and efficient, we need innovative solutions that work for both people and the environment. In our work as a development actor, we therefore also increasingly focus on private sector engagement. With better public-private sector collaboration, we have greater capacity to push for innovation and a just circular society.” 

Sheila Funnell, Head of Innovation and Impact at the Wyss Academy’s Hub East Africa, remarked, “A just and sustainable future is really about reinforcing the relationship between human well-being and nature conservation, without achieving one at the cost of the other. As we quickly approach tipping points for climate and other systems, solutions are not only necessary, but they are urgent. At the Hub East Africa, our goal is to develop and test local solutions such as the semi-circular bunds, and eventually apply them at global scale. Systems change demands justice for people and nature, and circular economies can be one of those pathways to transformation.” 

The collaborative efforts led by the Wyss Academy for Nature and its partners underscore a collective commitment to advancing the SDGs through practical action and policy advocacy. By harnessing the power of innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.   

"Through these roundtable discussions, we strive to foster exchanges between those implementing inclusive circular economy initiatives every day, and also provide access for the global community to this rich pool of existing knowledge," explained Tatjana von Steiger, Head of Global Policy Outreach at the Wyss Academy.   


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