At this year's Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, there was no shortage of inspiring speakers and panels. Hearing about the work that some of the world's largest corporations are doing in the name of sustainability adds a dash of hope to the grim fact that global concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have reached 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history.
During the conference, few topics were left untouched; even international sporting events were fair game.
One of the concepts that many of these companies are taking to heart is that of a circular economy, as was discussed in the keynote speech, "Reimagining True North: The Circular Economy," by Alexander Collot d'Escury, CEO of the global carpet and sports systems company Desso.
As part of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy, a circular economy dispenses with the linear model whereby goods are made from newly extracted finite natural materials, used and then thrown away. Instead, a product is made with reuse in mind; it is designed smartly with materials that have the ability to be reborn over and over again. As Michael Braungart and William McDonough explain in their book, "The Upcycle":
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