Walter Stahel - Architect, Economist, Founding Father of Circular Economy - Founder-Director, Product-Life Institute


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Walter R. Stahel is the Founder-Director of the Product-Life Institute (Switzerland), the oldest established consultancy in Europe devoted to developing sustainable strategies and policies. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Circular Economy Research Centre, Ecole des Ponts Business School and Visiting Professor in the Department of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey. He is also a full member of the Club of Rome. He was awarded degrees of Doctor honoris causa by the University of Surrey, l’Université de Montréal, and the 2020 Thornton Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He is the author of The Circular Economy: A User’s Guide.

"The circularity, of course, has existed in nature for a long time. Actually, nature's circularity is by evolution. There is no plan, there is no liability, and there are no preferences. It's simply the cycles such as marine tides, CO2, and water cycles, plants and animals, and basically by evolution, the best solution wins. Also, there is no waste. Dead material becomes food for other animals or plants. Now, early mankind survived by depending on these local natural resources sharing a non-monetary chaotic symbiosis dominated by nature, then poverty or necessity-based society changed when humankind used science to overcome shortages of everything. In other words, the Anthropocene. With nuclear energy, petrochemicals, metal alloys, we became independent from nature, but we overlooked the fact that these new manmade anthropogenic resources or synthetic resources were unknown to nature, so nature could not deal with them. And that means that we, humankind, has to take responsibility for it."

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