We live in an age of unprecedented demand on our global resources. This makes the transition to a circular economy inevitable. In fact, the transition from a linear to a circular economy is an opportunity to switch to a model where products, materials and resources are maintained for as long as possible. South Africa-based Circular Vision is a company that assists businesses to adopt a circular economy approach.
Here, Bio Market Insight’s Liz Gyekye catches up with Sally-Anne Kasner, director of Circular Vision.
Liz Gyekye (LG): What’s the story behind your Circular Vision?
Sally-Anne Kasner (SAK): I started Circular-Vision as a vehicle to assist organisations to transition to a more circular economy. I have always seen waste as an indicator of a broken system and therefore had a passion for trying to solve the “problem” through resource efficiency interventions, but there is only so much you can do here. It is really necessary to re-design the system and in all cases, design waste out of the system. Circular-Vision provides the platform for me to do this in a collaborative way.
LG: Before founding the company, what did you do?
SAK: I headed up the Sustainability Division of the Cape Town branch of JG Afrika, a South African engineering and environmental consultancy that has been in business for more than 95 years. My work focussed on managing a division which had a variety of environmental skills and projects ranging from environmental regulatory services (i.e. waste licenses, environmental impact assessments, environmental control officers and compliance auditing) and the development of materials management plans and South Africa’s first Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
I also assisted to establish EcoStandard South Africa, a South African eco-label and non-profit organisation that verifies environmental claims of materials. The eco-label is focussed on the building sector at this stage. I was also fortunate to be a founding member of the African Circular Economy Network, and I am still active on the Executive Committee.
LG: What’s been the biggest challenge in growing the company?
SAK: Not having enough time! I have been blessed that since starting my company I have been busy. I purposefully set up the company to be able to work in association with other consultants which means that I work on a variety of projects, from organic waste to compliance auditing to sustainability strategies.
LG: What’s coming up next for your company?
SAK: I would like to collaborate on international projects.
LG: What advice would you give to someone else looking to launch their own company/product in this space?
SAK: Just do it. If you believe in your passion and willing to put in the hours then there really are very few barriers.
LG: What’s your favourite sustainable /bio-based product?
SAK: Presently, I am very impressed with Novamont’s Mater-bi range. I was recently in Italy to investigate the products further and see the organic waste collection systems and composting facilities. The products are supported by rigorous testing both in the lab and in real life conditions.
I am also watching the space of other proactive start-ups like NOTPLA.