Authors: Saskia Tegnell and Michael Bauer-Leeb

Download Towards Zero Waste, PDF. 

We are convinced that our society is currently undergoing grand change processes. There are signs all around the world, across various levels and domains suggesting a shift of paradigms. Think, for instance, of recent protests in Turkey and Brazil, Occupy Wall Street, the booming domain of social entrepreneurship, countless grassroots initiatives addressing political as well as economic issues, and businesses adapting their business models to accommodate extended requirements that emerge from taking responsibility for social and environmental aspects.

The Good Tribe want to contribute to this kind of change. Our vision is to create a Zero Waste society. Looking at nature we find a world without waste. However, contemporary society created by man is anything but zero waste. Therefore we in The Good Tribe work towards this goal by providing knowledge and tools for businesses and organizations to become Zero Waste, both from a material and social point of view. This paper is one step in the process, intended to inform of an approach that we consider powerful enough to introduce change on systemic level.

Zero Waste - philosophy, economic model and practical application

There are many different approaches out there that challenge the linear way in which our society works today. For our purposes we consider Zero Waste to be the most comprehensive and best applicable approach. Zero Waste is more than just a principle. It is a philosophy, an economic model, and practical application. Everybody - every individual, organization, or company - can follow Zero Waste’s simple principle of the three R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - to rethink their consumption patterns and behavior. Zero Waste transcends conventional boundaries by looking at possible solutions for a Zero Waste happy planet from a technological, behavioral, political, and financial perspective.

Social aspect of Zero Waste

Zero Waste illustrates the need to not waste any natural resources but also to promote human resources, talent, and capital through social inclusion. This social aspect tends to be underrepresented in the waste discourse since the waste discourse usually remains confined to environmental aspects. In The Good Tribe we explicitly want to highlight the social aspect when speaking of Zero Waste, because we consider it paramount for a positive development of society.

Great opportunities for businesses

We support our clients in implementing a Zero Waste vision and developing strategies that enable them to adapt to and cope with the changes and challenges ahead. Zero Waste offers great opportunities for businesses, for instance by shifting strategy from turnover coming from an ever increasing number of short-lived products with a combination of durable products and a variety of lifetime services. We also work with public administration providing information and methods to introduce societal change processes, and empowering youth to embrace a sustainable lifestyle and to explore sustainable ways of conducting business.