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© Hans Sauer Foundation

There is currently a lot of talk about the circular economy. However, the use of things and resources in the current social and economic model still largely follows the linear pattern of “take, make, waste”. This means that natural raw materials as well as processed products are largely dumped or thermally recycled instead of being consistently reused and recycled further. Resource scarcity, climate change, water, air and soil pollution are some of the consequences. In its thematic focus “Circular Society”, the Hans Sauer Foundation asks how prevailing structures and practices of linearity can be substantially changed, even if the linear, consumptive use of resources continues to be the globally prevailing pattern.

The starting point is the thesis that a concept that continues to focus on economic value creation and technical innovations neglects other fields of social action and merely relies on the greening of existing economic forms. If one wants to reshape thinking and action along linear production and consumption patterns, this requires much more than technical or product-oriented approaches: “Rather”, they say, “it is also about a redesign of social practices, societal structures and cultural patterns along the different value creation steps, from raw material extraction to reuse and recycling”. Since the current Circular Economy approaches do not do justice to the scope of social change, it is more appropriate to speak of a “Circular Society” instead of a “Circular Economy”.

On 22 and 23 September 2022, the Hans Sauer Foundation invites you to the second Circular Society Forum. The forum, which will take place digitally, is aimed at all those interested in the concept of the “Circular Society” and a socio-ecological transformation of society according to the principles of circularity. In an interdisciplinary and intersectoral framework, research results, practical experiences, artistic-creative works as well as project examples will be presented and discussed. The main topics are: Circular Society, Citizens & Communities, Open Source & Open Design, Collaborative Value Creation and Circular Literacy. Specifically, the following topics will be addressed in project presentations and workshops in German and English: “Circular Communities: Practices and Spaces of Circularity”, “Exercising Change” and “The next big thing will be a lot of small things”. On the second day, the programme includes: “Art, clothing and communities – circular literacy in practice”, “Ways to reduce e-waste” and “International Perspectives on Circularity”. The focal points correspond to those of the project “Roadmap to a Circular Society – A co-design project for the further development of the Circular Society in terms of content and organisation”, which is currently being developed by the Hans Sauer Foundation and the BTU Cottbus with the support of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and in collaboration with around 40 experts, and in the context of which this year’s forum is taking place. (An event on the afternoon of 22 September will provide an insight into the status of the work of the working groups and invites participation).

To contribute to networking outside the events, you can register via the conference tool Mighty Networks on the Circular Society website. The platform provides all dial-in links to participate in the events as well as access to literature, recordings and forums. A detailed programme can be downloaded, including links to publications that can be used to introduce the topics.

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