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Transcript: Circular Change and National Circular Economy Roadmaps with Ladeja Godina Košir

Transcript: Circular Change and National Circular Economy Roadmaps with Ladeja Godina Košir

SEE THE SHOW NOTES AND LISTEN AT:  Circular Change and National Circular Economy Roadmaps with Ladeja Godina Košir

Katie Whalen [00:00:06] Hi, I'm Katie Whalen and join me each week as I talk with experts around the globe about Circular Economy. You'll find out what's being done to make it a reality and if it can really solve the problems it promises. It's time for Getting in the Loop.

[00:00:27] Thanks for tuning into the Getting in the Loop Podcast. I'm your host, Katie, and I'm so happy to have you join me for today's episode of Getting in the Loop, where we're getting in the loop with Ladeja Godina Kosir. Ladeja is a circular economy expert, speaker and co creator of International Circular economy Events. She is the founder and director of Circular Change and chair of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform in Brussels. Last year, Ladeja was the finalist of the Circular Leadership Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos being recognized as the regional engine of circular economy transformation. Ladeja and I briefly met in person at the World Circular economy Forum in June of earlier this year, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with her afterwards on the podcast. To hear more about the amazing work that she is doing to bring people together around circular economy. In this episode, you'll hear about Ladeja's work to create a circular economy roadmap for Slovenia and how it has been used, not just make a plan for the country, but also create awareness and buy in for the concept. We also reflect on the importance of considering culture when discussing Circular economy and Ladeja. share some examples from her work partnering with people all over the globe, including the Nordic countries and the Americas. And last but not least, we talk about leadership for a circular economy and what it means to be a circular economy leader. This is something I was personally eager to hear from Ladeja about as I find her to be an inspirational Circular economy leader, and in the episode Ladeja shares her thoughts about the qualities and capabilities that she thinks are necessary for today's Circular economy leaders. It's a great episode and I promise you're going to want to be taking notes. So grab a pen and paper and towards the end of the episode, Ladeja shares a large list of events and projects and even books she has coauthored that are coming up in 2020. And I hope you'll be inspired to check them out even further. Now on to the episode.

[00:02:48] Before we get started with today's episode, I wanted to tell you about something awesome. If you're giving presentations related to Circular economy or if you just want to learn a little bit more about Circular economy basics, head over to slidedeck.gettinginthelooppodcast.com to grab a free presentation that I've created based off of presentations that I've given over the course of the last couple of years. And what it is is you can use it as a starting point for your own presentation. So it's PowerPoint presentation, you can add or adapt your own slides into it, or you can just go through the presentation and learn a little bit more about the basics behind Circular economy. So it's 20 slides. It starts off with why we need a circular economy, what is the concept and how can we implement this in practice, and then at the end it finishes with some links to different reports and other resources so you can learn a little bit more on your own. Okay. So now onto today's podcast.

[00:03:46] Ladeja, thank you so much for coming on Getting in the Loop podcast. I'm so excited that you are here today.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:03:54] Thank you for inviting me. So I'm really pleased that we have this opportunity to explore the backstage of Circular economy.

Katie Whalen [00:04:00] Yes. And before we get started, I have to tell all the listeners and you as well, that I was very much in awe of what you are doing regarding Circular economy. When we first met back in June at the World Circular economy Forum in Helsinki, you were giving presentations and then headed off to, I think, Kyoto or somewhere in Japan to do some more work. And so you're doing lots of international work, and I'm very excited to talk about that more in today's episode. But before we get started in diving into the topics that we're going to discuss today, could you just tell our listeners where you're calling from?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:04:41] This time I'm by chance in my hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia, just back from Norway, heading to North Macadonia tomorrow. So but I am based in Ljubljana today.

Katie Whalen [00:04:50] Okay. Well, it's great to catch you in your in your hometown. I hope you're having a little bit more daylight than we are up in the Scandinavian countries.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:04:58] Yeah. Just not much better than in Norway. I must say, short days here as well.

Katie Whalen [00:05:02] Okay. Well, that's that's a little bit too bad. But we're going to brighten up the day, I guess, by talking a little bit about what you're doing. And you are the founder and director of Circular Change. So I'd love to have you introduce this organization and how it started.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:05:19] Okay, so circular change started five years ago purely from my enthusiasm for Circular economy. It is a private nonprofit organization and we are circular change institutes for Circular economy. And what we are doing is really encouraging people to join us on this journey towards Circular economy. And what we realized is that actually we are best entry point for your circular economy journey. That is a kind of slogan that we are using. And I would like to add to that that we have a constant. We are not all alone. We have five members of the council and the president is Yna. But former commissioner who is a kind of circular economy best sport. That is how we see him and he is really someone who is helping us and he is the kind of boat door opener also on our journey around the globe.

Katie Whalen [00:06:11] I can imagine that is definitely a good person to have when you're trying to open doors. So could you tell us a little bit more about how you work with organizations? Are you working with companies? Are you working with governments, nonprofits?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:06:30] Yeah, absolutely. We are working with the different stakeholders. As I said, it is not that we are experts in Circular economy in certain areas, but we are definitely good in connecting different sectors, different countries, different cities and so on. So among the stakeholders that we are addressing are governments, CTO or these businesses and Jos. Then we have of course, a lot of links to scientists and media as well. So what we do is actually cure rate or this process of the circle or transition. And we have a kind of four, let's say, points on this journey. First is to inspire. The second is to engage. The third is to connect. And the fourth is to act and have an impact. So this the fourth one is the most important. We want to have an impact at the end of our activities, and that is how we work. And we are better much purpose driven.

Katie Whalen [00:07:24] And are you working? I imagine that there probably are other similar platforms in other countries. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but do you work with these in collaboration or or link up with them in any way?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:07:41] That is very good question. You know, because you have always this challenge in a way. Should you grow as an organization, as a company, and become bigger and bigger and stronger?

[00:07:51] And then this her advocacy starts to happen? Or do you connect with others who ordered the exist on the market or who are emerging in the market? So we definitely decided for the second option, because even I personally believe that it's very important that we maintain the identity of certain country, of certain company and so on, and then connect and do what we can do together in the best way we both can do. So we are members of different networks. One very important is circular hotspots that started in Holland during the EU presidency. It was quoted that I'm content circular hotspot, but now it became a network of several similar designations, a circular change. The other one is at what economic forum? This is the whole program courts pace and within this hour, several organizations, of course, from all around the globe and. For me personally and for circular change is very important that we are members of European Circular economy stakeholder platform where I'm also a chair now. So there are others organizations that we collaborate with. But I would really like to emphasize the role of the networks.

Katie Whalen [00:09:03] Maybe we we could talk a little bit about the fact that you were elected as the chair of the European Circular economy stakeholder platform since you brought that up.

[00:09:14] And I'd love to just talk a little bit about the I think the acronym is E C E S P. Maybe everyone just calls it the Circular economy stakeholder platform. Could you just introduce that to the listeners? And also to me, because I was actually, I have to admit, not so familiar about it before we had our little talk prior to this. Yeah.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:09:36] So, yes, as you said, this is European Circular economy stakeholder platform and it was established in 2017. It is very unique and special because this is the collaboration between European Commission and European Economic and Social Committee. So they both agreed on that, that there is a need for this kind of platform and they open to kind of call for organizations from civil society. So different realisations like Ellen MacArthur Foundation or C, threat from Finland or smaller organizations like Circular Change. And then we have 24 members were then selected and we are presenting this platform. But it does not mean that the platform is closed for others. So what is good to know is that this platform is available for everyone to join. If you just go to the web page and you you Google Circular economy or the platform, you can find the link, of course. And what we do and what we encourage everyone is first you can only take a look and see what their goods practice is, which events are going on and so on. So this is to have an insight into a circular economy community, what is happening and so on. And the second thing is that you can submit your event to your best practice, your challenge as well, because there is also a forum where you can start a discussion. So the ambition of this platform is a bee to network of networks, really to connect those that are in this circular economy, let's say bubble to to break it and to include others as well. So if you are interested in circular economy, check the link.

Katie Whalen [00:11:26] Yeah, definitely. And I will have that included in the show notes on the In the Loop, the Getting in the Loop website as well. So listeners can can check that out and see what kinds of events are happening and maybe even submit their own events or challenges if they have some.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:11:44] Yeah, very good. There are more than welcome and wherever I am I encourage people because as you said, people are not aware of that of the existence.

[00:11:53] We are still young. In a way at two years operating and whatever is related to Brussels sometimes sounds detached from daily life. But with this platform, it's the opposite. We are really the voice of civil society and of even the tiniest organizations. So we do encourage everyone to contribute and to get her or his vibes hurt. So don't be afraid to join.

Katie Whalen [00:12:16] Yeah. And in terms of I'm just yeah. I'm just I'm curious a little bit like for your for your upcoming chair woman position. Do you have any personal goals that you would like to have for for the platform or is it to really introduce sort of more of this networks of networks and kind of getting a holistic picture of what's happening?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:12:40] Both. Yeah. So one thing is really to have this helicopter view to overview what is happening on different parts of the ward, not only in Europe. So I already proposed in my previous mandate, yes, we are here in Europe, but talking about Circular economy global leadership ship and everything, we should be open for the others. So this is something what we definitely are. We are not closing our set for anyone who is not from Europe and already in. Yes. Last year, for example, one topic that I was particularly keen off was linking creative industries and circular economy, because for this circular transition, we need new solutions. We have to be innovative. We have to be creative. And it's very good to encourage those creative people to join and to participate in these processes. So that was a way my topic in the previous mandate. But what now with the second round and we are growing in the sense that we are getting more mature and wise. Hopefully what we would like to do now is really to organize different. Let's say working groups and we proposed some topics like circular tourism, again, a circular creative industries working together. Then, of course, a topic related to plastics, to the development of cities and so on. So to be even more grounded and to to bring concrete solutions related to this topic. So we will as a platform in 2020, we will be even more operating if we were more on this level of collecting information off encouraging. Now we are more to the ground and we would really like to work on particular topics. And then of course, encourage the dialog with European Commission because as we know now with the new commission is coming, new green deal is coming. Hi. Goals and ambitions for Europe as the continent. Regarding circular economy. And here we are to do really participate in this process as well.

Katie Whalen [00:14:44] So with these these working groups that are being put together, if I'm understanding correctly, is that's something that, for example, listeners of the Getting in the Loop Podcast, if they're working at a organization or at an educational institution, is. Is that something that they could also contribute to?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:15:01] Absolutely. Yes. So I would suggest because now we are working on setting or of putting this working groups together and then we will appoint a leader of the group.

[00:15:11] So the one who will coordinate the whole process and we will publish this on the Web page. And if someone is, for example, interested, as I said, in circular tourism, he or she can follow it and join and get somewhat insights and contribute with his knowledge as well. Of course. And another thing that is very much into focus and will be for the next year our national roadmaps, because we realize that they're very important documents not only regarding the paperwork, but more the process, how the countries are approaching this road maps and there will be the whole working group working on that, how to encourage countries to work on their national road maps. So this is also something what might be interesting because you can not just copy, paste or prescribe how to do it in one country or another. It is more about, let's say, those important bonds that are needed to be fulfilled before you can start the process and then to navigate navigate through the process. So this is also something what we are now working on and what we have been the focus for the next year.

Katie Whalen [00:16:22] Well, you've made a great transition to roadmaps because that's actually what I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about as well, because you were the, I think, the leader for the working on the roadmap for Circular economy in Slovenia, which correct me if I'm wrong. Was this part of circular change?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:16:42] Yes, exactly right. We were working on that. We were we were coordinating the process. And I was one of the coauthors. And again, I have to mention Yanis, but Dominic and my colleague from Circular Change, Nico Coreper, who was also engaged. So the three of us and the other consortium as well. And it was very, very interesting process. And we have learned a lot. And it was very special because it was for Slovenia. And we are a country of just the right size, 2 million people, only for the listeners to imagine that it is not even one big city which has been there. So our approach was different from that approach is, let's say, previously implemented in Denmark or in Finland or so on. So it was very much bottom up. And it was and it was great experience. And we have learned a lot and we are sharing now with this practice. And also what I mentioned before, encouraging others that no one is to see more or no one is not important enough or not. I don't know, however. So this is something what is really is helping everyone and enabling every or city or nation to find out what they're good at and how they can proceed in this of.

Katie Whalen [00:18:00]  I'm curious about how you went about. You said you were doing some you were doing more like about a bottom up approach. But could you expand a little bit more on how you went about actually shaping the roadmap? What kinds of people did you talk to and what was kind of the goal of putting this together other than obviously making sort of this roadmap for Circular economy in Slovenia?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:18:23] Yeah. What was what was specific? Yes. As I said, that we did not have there was no founding for a particular research that it could be done previous to to the process of road mapping. So because we didn't have and it becomes I can see how that would provide us the data or any. So what we did is that we did really collect what exists and then interpret that, but therefore we focus more, as I said, on this bottom up. What does it mean? We've got 14 consultations in different cities, in different regions of Slovenia. We organized workshops there and really encouraging everyone from Assamese to Angelo's farmers, whoever attended to say what they see is important for them to to join this circular transition. What are or what are the obstacles they're facing? Why? Why they cannot move forward. And on the other hand, what is already there? But we are maybe not even aware of that. So this kind of mapping was of crucial importance and out of back. We created the first regional regional road maps or regional, a kind of analysis of what what we have in every region. What counts? And then out of that, we we made this national road map. And the aim of the whole of the whole process. I would like really to emphasize that the process is more important than the document. Such was that we raised the awareness very much all around Slovenia, because when we started it was a circular economy. And this is about waste management. And this is something for jokes. When we ended the process, it was very clear that it relates to business very much, that it is a very systemic topic and very much related to the National Strategy and Action Plan. So I must say, the debt was already something. What was a tangible result of this process? And it took us nine months only. I would say that it was a short period from starting from scratch through introducing the final version of the roadmap. And what we did is that we introduced on one side four priority areas for Slovenia and on the other some guidelines for the circular transition for the government, because as we know it, everything is very interconnected, interdependent. And even for the ministries within the government, it cannot be that only one can take decisions, but it has to be coordinated among them as well. So those guidelines were then introduced to the government and to other stakeholders. And our and we introduced the roadmap as the documents at the fourth conference, a circular change conference together with our other roadmap. So we invited also the countries that or the heads roadmaps at the time. And we've got a very vivid discussion about that. What they mean, what they achieved with that. And from there on, things started to grow even further.

Katie Whalen [00:21:33] Now, that sounds like a great session. That was at the the Secular Change Conference. Yeah. Yeah. Is there  a recording or some sort of outcome that is publicly available about that? Or was it sort of-

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:21:50] Yes, of course. This is also something what we are certainly to change our organizing. So this year, not this year, next year in 2020, we will have the fifth edition of the Circular Change Conference. And it was recognized also by what economic forum as one of the most impactful events on Circular economy. So every year we have more than 500 participants from around 30 countries really globally and around 50 speakers. So it is really a very vivid event. And two years ago, I sent the roadmaps, warnings or used. And if you go to the circular change web page, it just if you just Google the games, the circle or change the outcome, you can find them. Now, the outcomes of those conferences and there is also a list of speakers and so on. So you can get an idea about what was going on.

Katie Whalen [00:22:43] Brilliant, often I have to dove into that a little bit once I've maybe finished finished my piece. I'm curious in terms of the the. Do you introduce something called the Circular Triangle? Could you describe that to the listeners?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:23:01] Yeah. This is a model that we introduced in our road map circular triangle or the is announcing something.

[00:23:10] So three angles of a triangle. Because when we are addressing circular economy and most of the focus used to be on this economical shift and on the importance of this change related to the economy, to the business sector and so on.

[00:23:26] But why we were working on that, we realized that it is very important that different sectors and segments really collaborate. If we want this change to happen. So therefore, one angle is called circular economy as such. And it's refers, of course, to the business model centered with this transition. The second angle refers to a circular change as the process.

[00:23:50] So that has to be very systemic, holistic and interdisciplinary. And the third, which I love most, is called circular culture because we realized that the change of course cannot happen if it is not embedded in our culture. If not based on our values, because it is a big difference between what we are preaching and what we are actually doing on the ground. So you can say, yes, we would like this change, but then when you have to implement the change, you know how it goes. So if it's not something what you resonates with, what do you identify with? This change cannot happen. So we focus very much on this part and this is also what we are now working on with other countries.

[00:24:36] As I said previously, even within the European Circular economy stakeholder, that forum, we would like to emphasize exactly this angle of the approach towards circular change and circular transition to understand different culture, different heritage that the nations have and then implemented according to their value system, to their culture.

Katie Whalen [00:24:57] And this makes me think about as you've now being in Slovenia, I would classify that more as Eastern Europe. But you also have had connections to Western Europe and of course, the the the world outside of Europe as well. But maybe just I would like to talk a little bit about your experiences with Circular economy globally, but maybe we can just first start with seeing about your experiences with Eastern Europe versus Western Europe and if you see any differences with how Circular economy is being understood and adopted in these two spots.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:25:33] Yeah, very interesting question. Thank you for that. Because Slovenia is geographically positioned between east and west and it is somehow in our DNA and in our history as well if we were bridging east and west. So maybe to say our neighboring countries are Italy, Austria and area Croatia. So we are really west and we have addressed it goes very close. So from this perspective, based on our experiences and on our history, somehow we understand, let's say, western culture and eastern one. And what what is coming out now is when we are working with the countries, let's say, of Western Balkans, like Serbia, Montenegro, and even further on, we we realize that it is very important to understand what Circular economy means for them. Or you mentioned before eastern countries. So those that were actually under communism, you know, and that experience, that system. So what when you say circular economy, let's say Bulgaria or Romania, they automatically reflect or something.

[00:26:46] What reminds them of the times when they could not afford to own things? So if we only take in account, let's say, sharing economy for us or for Western society, it's something nice and it is something what you're looking for. But if you mention that to someone was not allowed to own something, then it's not so nice and that is not something they resonates with. So here you can see these differences in the approach or in the understanding of the concepts, you know. And it is not that people would automatically say no to this kind of model. It is just how you introduce them. So it should not be prescribed or it should not be set like something. What you must do. It has to be based very much on the s decision making. So if you decide to share your card, that's fine, but you have to share your part. It's not so nice. So here I see. This may be small. And on the far side, unimportant differences. But when implementing certain models, they're of great importance. And here it was one illustration of eastern western. We can find more.

[00:27:58] But here here we come to this part that is related to the culture and to the history and which thus which is important, actually when talking about circular economy.

Katie Whalen [00:28:10] Yeah, I can see why this this point of circular culture and the importance of thinking about culture when you're talking about circular economy is one of your three. One of your three points on the circular triangle that you that you talked about earlier. I'm thinking about your work globally. You've also been doing work with Nordic culture, Nordic countries and then Latin America. So those are very different. I would say from a cultural perspective and also thinking about the history and the societies and traditions. Could you tell us a little bit about how they approach circular economy and what you're seeing from these these parts of the world?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:28:56] That is what I love about the work I do, because you get in contact with people all around the globe and you learn so much, you know? I think that the Circular economy is really about learning and about listening to each other. Hearing each other. Understanding each other. And if we take. Yes. I'm just back from Norway, because now with Norway, somehow we work more in the last months and other Nordic countries as well. And as an outsider, you know, when you come when I'm in Norway. Of course, I proceed Norway completely different. As someone who is living there, the same is if someone comes to Slovenia or so you always have different glasses on when you approach different countries and cultures. So what I realized and what I like about Norway particulary is this transparency and trust that is present in this country. You know, again, because of the history, because of the economic situation and so on. If you living there, maybe you don't notice that. But this is a very valuable capital because based on distrust on this transparency, you can build different relations. Then in the case that there is this instant instability and fight for daily, I don't know, salary or whatever. So regarding Norway, I think this is very, very valuable capital. And now to Brazil and to Latin America and Chile. We will discuss with them. But let's focus on Brazil, because there is very strong organization in exchange for a change led by another enthusiastic ladybird threes loose. And we are together in the previously mentioned Circular Hotspots Network. What makes us really more connected? So in Brazil you have a completely different situation because it is a huge country on one side on the other. The economy is far away from the situation that we are facing in Norway. But there is this, you know, enthusiasm of those people. So the big scare market is huge then interdependency among different organizations and this globalization and the impact of that. So what if I compare the, let's say, circular Norway as organization in Norway and exchange for change is the organization in Brazil. We are trying to find common denominators for this circular transition and we always come to something. What brings us together?

[00:31:25] But as I said, at the capital we take from Norway and the capital that we take from Brazil. This are different kinds of, let's say, socially capitals. On one side, this trust and stability. On the other one, this enthusiasm, creativity, energy, you know, and when you make a kind of a cocktail out of that, we can learn from each other and encourage another each other through that. So this is something very, very exciting. And if we go back to that, then how to evolve the whole transition in one country or another. You have to base it exactly on that so that the model that can work in Norway cannot work in Brazil, you know. So this is what is important that we do understand this cultures, that we understand what are you agreed the insight needed for circular transition. But then we adjust everything to the local markets to say so.

Katie Whalen [00:32:21] Do you see good examples of this? Or maybe maybe I would say a good example of this in practice was is what you're doing. So maybe you could share some maybe a tangible example or with working with like a company or government like in and in these places to sort of break it down for them. Yes.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:32:43] One interesting company that we are working with is Alcoa feel we are working together now on European project quite effective.

[00:32:52] So I invite everyone who is interested in that to Google again. Effective European project is focused on bio based solutions for fibers and plastics. But back to back to Aquafina and initially they're very well known brands, which is if you. This is one hundred percent mile and produced from fishing nets and from carpets. So here we have a very interesting situation. This is Italian company operating globally. They have company here in Slovenia and they're working with Norway as well as with Brazil. So because their source, the input for this 100 percent reside compliant our fishing nets and they are harvesting for this fishing nets or around the globe and they're collaborating with Norway as well as with Brazil. And what is nice is why I like this. A popular case of a canal is that when they decided for this, let's say, a circular journey, they didn't know where they're heading and their value chain changed completely. And I like to use this example because in Circular economy, once you decide to change your business model, you never know what will come out to the very end, because this is really a process where you are learning with your finding out what kinds of partners are needed. And in case of a coalfield, they ended up with partners like fishermen, you know, and they have to train them how to deal with saving these fishing nets out of the water. Then they realize that there are some animals like turtles and others that are kept in those fishing that so they started to collaborate with a London zoo because they needed knowledge how to save these animals and so on and so on. So this is something very excited about this circular business models and about these journalists and about the change of the value chains into a completely different value systems. And here you see how global stories can become a reality.

Katie Whalen [00:35:02] Wow. That's a that's really a great example. Who would have thought that you would be making technical textiles and then having to become trained in turtles? So, yes, I think.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:35:16] Yes. Interesting.

Katie Whalen [00:35:18] Okay. So we talked a little bit about culture and the differences in cultural perspectives and the importance of thinking about culture when we're talking about circular economy. And the one of the other points of the triangle that you talked about earlier was about implementing change in the process of implementing change, which makes me think about leaders. And because one of the ways to bring about change is if you have a strong leader and I think it would be great to talk to you about leadership because next to your position as the chair of the European Circular economy Stakeholder Platform, you were also the finalist for the Circular Leadership Award in 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos. So I'd love to dove a little bit into leadership for the circular transition with you, because in previous episodes of the Getting in the Loop podcast, we have touched upon leadership for Circular economy with the most recent one being Dr. Wayne Visser. I believe it's episode 27 and I'll have the link in the show notes for those who are interested. But on that episode, Dr. Fisher Visser talked about his own research and discussed four types of leaders for sustainable transformation. So I'm curious to hear your practical side of things and practical experience regarding leadership and circular economy. To start us just kind of start us off there. What kinds of skills and capabilities do you think are necessary for people who want to act as leaders for circular economy change?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:37:03] Yeah, I think that leadership is of crucial importance and it is really how to say yes, amazing how how this understanding of leadership is changing, actually. And what are those?

[00:37:16] As you said, skills or even better capabilities that we do appreciate. And from my personal experience is an idea. It does not exist, but it would be ideal that self realized people are the leaders of the change. So those who really feel that do not depend on those external factors, but that they can lead by example, you know that it can lead. On the purpose they realized and so on. So I think it's very important. So the people that are if not already self realized, which is very spirit there already, but at least feel it, you know, because once you are rebuked or you feel that you leave your purpose, then you are not afraid of losing anything and you become capable to collaborate. Because as long as you think that by collaborating, by working with someone, you will have less or that you or that the competition will take away something from you. You are not really opened or mature enough for this kind of collaboration. So this is for me essential that those whatever that when there are these are organizations or whether these are people by themself that they have this inner strength and trust and capability for collaboration, which is super important, then I would say two more two characteristics. So one I think is important is that you have the sense for community that it is not about me and myself, but it is about you and me and us and ourselves, because if you start from this perspective that you are doing something, what is good for you but for community as well?

[00:39:04] It is very much different. If you do just something for yourself and here I see the importance of empathy, of inclusiveness, creativity, and then back to my experiences. And back to my nature. Because I am very dynamic. I am very action oriented, communicative, extroverted. But then you realize that you have to be persistent, that you have to be patient. You know that things do not happen overnight. So it is really exciting.

[00:39:38] And maybe this persistence is something quite what I see as common denominator among us who are somehow in this circular transition or that are, let's say, leading or at least enabling this change.

Katie Whalen [00:40:00] Yeah, I would imagine, especially when we talk about circular economy and it's so. Such a big topic and so interconnected, as you said, with many different aspects.

[00:40:12] Thinking back to what you were saying when you were giving guidance to the different government stakeholders in Slovenia and about how their decisions would affect, you know, the other ones and how they couldn't maybe take decisions without affecting the other the other stakeholders regarding circular economy. I think the persistence is one of the key key skills that you would have, or maybe it's not a skill, but it's something that you have to have in order to talk about circular economy and to really be doing something that doesn't have this return on an investment. Maybe for a long period of time. So how do you stay motivated when you might meet people who are challenging the idea of circular economy or, you know, thinking that, well, this can't happen or it won't be for a very long time?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:41:03] Yeah, that is happening all the time. People are a little bit. Yeah. How to say skeptical or you meet these kinds of people and they ask you why are you doing this or why should we change or so on. But back to what you said before. I like very much the quote of Albert Einstein, you know, because he said, I have no special talents. I'm only passionately curious and I can say it for myself as well. I am passionately curious, you know, and when I'm trying to find out this life balance between work and leisure time or whatever, I must say that there is no border between that, because I'm really curious and I'm so enthusiastic and I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to meet fantastic people to learn from from everyone, you know, because it's not that you can learn only from a scientist or from CEO. You can learn a lot from a very simple farmer. Or just recently my when I was in the Bergen, it's this great events event of the Chamber of Commerce the other day. I've got to grade the guided tour from the representatives of their waste management organization. So I'm interested. Or parts of it or in all segments, in all stories. So this is what keeps me awake. And on the other hand, or curiosity on one and on the other. This feeling that we can have an impact even if is very, very small. But still by doing something by connecting people who can work together better than they would if you wouldn't connect them, that that is something. What I find so rewarding and this keeps me going on. Because then you see that one dot and the mother Dot and Steve Jobs at connecting the right dots, then it becomes more power for an impact. So this is what I am really passionate about.

Katie Whalen [00:43:02] Yeah, well, I'm. We could I'm certain that we could be here all day, but I'm conscious of the time because you are a very busy woman. So there's a couple of things that I would love to ask you before we we end this episode. And one of them is about what the New Year 2020 looks like for you, because from our our exchange before this interview, it seems like you have a lot of different things happening because first I think you'll have a book released in the autumn that's called Kyoto Manifesto for Global Economics. I think number two and that's going to be published by Springer. Maybe you could just tell us a little bit about the book and who you think would benefit from reading it.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:43:49] Yeah, I'm very excited about this book. So Kyoto Manifesto for global economics. No. One has been already published and it is a great book. You can take a look at it. It is very holistic approach. And it was published by Springer. As you said, and I was invited by the team of the Sishu University in Kyoto. Therefore, I spent one month during the summer in Japan at the university working. Which amazing team? I wouldn't say only interdisciplinary, but really trans disciplinary themes. And we were putting together the concept for this book to manifest the truth. It is based very much on home yet humanity. And what we want to bring with this goal to manifest to do is what we discussed today as well is that this circular transition and the implementation of as the juice of Sustainable Development Goals is only possible as if we as humans do wake up. And as we said before, if we find this enormous trend for the change. So it is very different in I don't want to use this word developed or underdeveloped, but in different countries around the globe. And if we want to survive a civilization, this. What is needed in this book, we are exploring that, how to approach what kind of changes are needed from very different perspectives. And one of the leading authors is, for example, a stowaway, Yamashita. He is great musician and composer from Japan. And on his concept, find it funny. We were working on that and developing out of this kind of approach and inputs for the leadership needed for this global transition. So why to read this book is to get inspired, to realize that you count, no matter whether you are a mathematician, physician, a psychologist, the economist, a student. So everyone has her or his role in this transition. And by joining forces and sharing these different approaches and knowledges, we can co create the concept for this, let's say, global leadership that is needed for the global transition towards a more sustainable society and economy.

Katie Whalen [00:46:10] Yeah, well, that sounds like a very inspiring book and also maybe a good way to think about your you're part of the circular journey and it makes me think about, you know. So that's that's next autumn. I believe in 2020. But then you also and you hinted at this already, you'll be hosting the fifth circular change conference in September 2020. Could you tell us about that?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:46:38] Yeah, a lot of things will happen before that. Yes, but the fifth conference. This is the kind of you believe. Yes, it is something coming. The fifth event and it will be connected this year with the Bled Strategic Forum, which is a kind of Davos of, let's say, central and Eastern Europe, because what I think is that collaboration is very much needed and that we have too many events. So I really try to walk the talk. So we decided to put these two events together under one umbrella and really to bring an insight into that. First, introducing also as we mentioned now, the principles of Gotham manifest for global economics. That is one of the topics. But the other thing is related very much to what new European Commission is bringing and what we have to embrace. So how to work on the ground, how to even more support the business sector and to see how to link different not only initiatives, but models that do already co-exist. So we will be very practical in a way. And everyone is, of course, invited to join us. This will be September 1st in Slovenia. Blacks and we will publish this on our webpage circular changed at the end of the year. So follow us and make September the first the date to visit Slovenia.

Katie Whalen [00:48:08] Yeah, okay. Well, I'll have to I'll have to check that out and I'll be sure to link that in the show notes once the website is up and and announced before I ask the final question that I ask all of my guests. I just wanted to ask you, Ladeja, is there any other upcoming projects that you'd like to share? I know you're doing so much, so it's probably impossible to to touch on all of them in this short amount of time. But anyone that you stick out in particular that you'd love to just let the Getting in the Loop listeners know that you're working on in 2020?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:48:42] Yeah, I would just like to inspire the listeners with a brief overview of what is happening and then they can see where to join and participate or what can inspire them further on.

[00:48:55] So back to European Circular economy stakeholder platform. And from January we are organising a breakfast with members of European Parliament to foster this collaboration with them because we find that it is of great importance. In February, another interesting event. One hundred years of spa bar. This is the most northern island of Norway where they experience what climate change means very much. And we will have conference there. This is organised by Norwegian France, of course, with circular Norway in the others. So you can see something very, very different is happening. Then in March, another interesting event on Circle Tourism. As I mentioned before already, this is a topic that we are focusing on as well. There will be a conference in TMC in Austria in March. Another interesting think, creative and circular. What we started last year with our partners from Serbia. And we are introducing this as designers of Western Balkans on Milan Furniture Fair Satellite. So you can see that we are touching different areas. I will not go on because we can talk forever. But just to give you a kind of spirit and a kind of a taste, what is happening? And that's really in every segment, every sector, there is opportunity for more circularity and more sustainable business.

Katie Whalen [00:50:22] I love it. You're definitely walking the walk and trying to make an inclusive circular economy. So very inspired by our discussion. And I would love to ask you the question that I ask all of the interview question guests at the end of each Getting in the Loop Podcast episode, which is about the game that I created about Circular economy. So the game is called In the Loop and it's a serious board game where the players are manufacturers and they have to produce products and acquire the materials to make their products. But there's different events that are happening as the game goes about and as you play the game and these events are changing the market conditions of the game. So sometimes materials aren't available or sometimes if you, you know, are putting a product into landfill, you have to pay a fine for extended producer responsibility. So often these events are inspired by real world happenings. And in the past, guests have linked these events for a vision that they have for the future. So my question to you, Ladeja, I would be what kind of event would you want to create for the In the Loop game? So what kind of topic do you think this your event would focus on?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:51:43] Because we were talking a lot about values and different kinds of capital. I would tackle this one because now financial capital is overvalued. So what I would change is that in your game, all of a sudden the prices go up, but not for what we would expect, but the prices for human capital and for natural capital. So let's see how then the game can change. And if this is not team up, then we can at externality this and include them into the prices and most likely the global map of the key players will change a lot.

Katie Whalen [00:52:24] Yeah, yeah. I think that would be a very interesting shift for business and for societies if that was to happen.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:52:32] Let's strike. But first in your game and then let's implement that in practice.

Katie Whalen [00:52:37] Yeah, well we'll test it out In the Loop first and see how it goes. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Ladeja, for your insights on culture, on leadership and of course, circular change. You have given me a lot to think about and also have encouraged me to stay passionately curious about this topic of circular economy. And I just can't thank you enough for coming on the Getting in the Loop Podcast and talking today.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:53:07] I would like to thank you for this highly inspiring conversation. Thank you very much. And I wish you all the best and I'm looking forward to learn from you and from your doctor thesis a lot in the future. All the best and all the listeners.

Katie Whalen [00:53:24] Thank you, Ladeja. And just before we go, where can the listeners go to learn more about you and the topics that we discussed?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:53:32] Oh, yes. We have a webpage, circularchange.com. And here you can follow our events, activities and so on. Then I would definitely recommend Circulareconomy.Europe.eu. This is from a 4 Circular economy Stakeholders platform. Please do contribute, participate and Circular Change conference as well. So once you Google Circle or Change conference, you will find out how it goes and how it was from the 1st through the 4th edition. But of course, feel free to contact me as well via join@circularchange.com.

Katie Whalen [00:54:06] Brilliant. Well, thank you so much. Yeah, I'm so glad that we were able to connect and finally have you on the Getting in the Loop Podcast.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:54:15] Thank you for this opportunity. And as I said, all the best and let's for the final thought. I really like to make battles, not battlefields. I like to make playgrounds out of the battlefield. So let's work on that.

Katie Whalen [00:54:31] Yeah. I like that. Is that a quote by you or is it by someone else?

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:54:37] I would think that this is mine, but you never know because ideas are all around. And I'm using this one now for three years. But maybe someone somewhere else got it as well, so I'm willing to share it with whoever that was. If not, then you can use it freely.

Katie Whalen [00:54:54] Okay, well I'll associated it back to you then.

Ladeja Godina Kosir [00:55:04] Okay.

Katie Whalen [00:55:04] Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode. For show notes and links, go to our website at gettinginthelooppodcast.com. And while you're there, subscribe to our mailing list to have new episodes delivered to your inbox every Monday. See you next week.

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About the Show

Getting In the Loop is a weekly podcast dedicated to exploring how to transform to a more circular society. Join host Katie Whalen as she examines the challenges facing our current resource use and discovers alternatives to the ‘take, make, dispose’ way of doing things. Each week she interviews circular economy experts about what they’re doing and learning. Together we'll uncover what circular economy means in practice and find out what's being done to keep our resources in a loop rather than sent to waste.

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