The enormous worldwide increase in the use of raw materials in the linear economy is leading to the depletion of natural resources and a decrease in biodiversity. Climate change and environmental pollution are also being intensified. The circular economy has the potential to guarantee a high standard of living for the world’s population within the carrying capacity of the earth.
The business community plays a major role in the transition to a circular economy, but how are companies going to tackle this? It is the people who ultimately have to do other things, namely work in a circular and climate-neutral way. Many of the large companies have a CSR or sustainability manager who directs, advises or supports this. This is a relatively new function that is still under development. Research has shown that these professionals deploy different skills and roles for climate transition, for example, than when they are engaged in the circular economy. What we want to know is what skills these are and how we further develop them: what is needed to accelerate and consolidate the circular economy within organizations? This is being investigated in this two-year research project.
“New competences play a crucial role in accelerating and directing the circular transition.”
– Carola Wijdoogen
Insights from the network
In the first year, the focus of the research is on gaining more insights within the network of CSR managers in the Netherlands. This is done by distributing a survey, based on the existing “State of the Sustainability Profession” survey, to more than 250 larger Dutch companies and the professionals working there who work on the theme. The results of this research are supplemented in the second year with the development of the necessary competences, aimed at the circular economy. Various meetings will also be organized, aimed at developing competences, peer-to-peer learning and intervision.
The results of the research are described in a white paper, widely shared with professionals from the professional group in the Netherlands and introduced in various (existing) courses for students, professionals, boards and supervisors. Dissemination and valorisation also takes place internationally. In addition, results are described in the book “7 Roles for Sustainable Success”, the international edition of “How to do CSR”.