CIRCULAR NETWORKING

Topics of the module

Storytelling


Secondly, the communication should be transparent, consistent, and convincing. It should include the following elements:

  •  Creative storytelling - Stories of collaboration, co-creation, co-development, and societal transition that inspire and motivate the company’s stakeholders/customers. Stories are very compelling, and visual elements are particularly persuasive behaviour change techniques for novel concepts such as the circular economy. Both success stories and those showing failure should be shared with the audience, they can help further advance the transition toward a circular economy.
  •  Educational messages that inform consumers of their new role in the circular economy—rental, repair, return, re-buy, retain, resell, remunerate, and shared reuse—while communicating that recycling is the last option. Help consumers understand their new role in the circular economy and provide incentives to take on that new role. A circular economy requires a significant shift in a consumer’s mind to increase their level of participation and to adopt new behaviours such as returning products, paying for access rather than ownership, and reusing materials. To support this behaviour change, companies need to explicitly communicate their expectations of consumers after the product’s or service’s use phase. It should also be convenient or beneficial for consumers to take those actions after the use phase. An Ellen MacArthur Foundation study found that the number-one factor driving consumers’ willingness to resell, donate, or recycle goods was convenience. Consumers cared less about getting the most money for their electronics or clothing than the ease of the take-back program. The circular economy can increase the touch points associated with the customer experience.
  • Statistics that reflect the outcome of the company’s circular project. Companies tend to approach circularity on a case-by-case basis, rather than looking at their entire business model. Communicating data more transparently, particularly around pilot work, would be a useful first step.
  • Calls to action that challenge consumers, government, and industry to embrace the circular economy.
Communications that engage stakeholders, respond to their concerns, and communicate in an open, honest, and transparent manner will contribute to a strong public image as a credible company.


The main purpose of communication is to communicate the added value (e.g. amount of natural resources preserved, the quality of clean/purified air, etc) that a circular business creates for its consumers and the community. Communicating multiple/shared values for customers and community is very important, significant effort needs to be spent on making these visible and clear.
Defining the target audience is a key factor in communication strategy. The basic demographic data of the target group, as well as its consumption and communication habits/channels, need to be analysed. (e.g. Radio/TV advertisements are useless if the target group typically obtains their information only from online sources). Similarly, special attention should be given when working with influencers/ partners who are credible (or not) in connection with the protection and development of the community and environment.
While implementing our communication strategy (key stakeholder, key activities, key resources), those partners should be preferred, who also follow the circular economy model, or those who at least do not engage in community or nature destructive activities. In connection with the key activities, if possible, events should be planned, which are both communication activity but also create value (eg. a press conference with seed planting, or an informal conversation with the press and target group members during garbage collection).
Operating according to circular economy principles does not exempt us from developing an effective and cost-effective communication strategy. A cost framework for communication needs to be defined and planned activities prioritized - implement those estimated as having the greatest impact on stakeholders - while fitting into the framework of both the circular economy and the defined financial framework.
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This project (project no: 2019-1-SE01-KA204-060527) has been funded with support from the European Commission.
The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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