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Circular Tayside Newsletter: The Hybrid State - Which side are you on?

 

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The Hybrid State- Which side are you on?

With August at out doorstep, many businesses and organisations are now hesitantly exploring reopening or relaunching their services. There is no "one size fits all" and the Scottish Government has said that we will be expected to be in Phase 3 for "some time to come". There is re-opening guidance for many businesses whose economic output relies heavily on being open to the public such as hospitality and manufacturing, however "We have not yet set a date for the re-opening of non-essential offices and call centres and we do not anticipate that these should open until some time after the 10 September review date (i.e. not before 11 September). Even for those workplaces that are able to open, we will continue to emphasise that working from home, where feasible, should be the default position".

This puts many of our businesses in a dilemma. What is considered the wisest move? Can we have business models that decouple physical offices from employees productivity? This comes with several environmental as well as economic benefits from the reduction of employee travelling-related CO2, premise renting and cleaning as well as reduction in the danger of spreading the virus. On the other hand, many people feel that the isolation will not be welcome as they are used in working in a busier environment. 

As mentioned above, there is no "one size fits all". We are likely to experience a bit of a limbo, of a hybrid, in-between state where we will be looking at others for solutions whether that is a back to normal or a new normal. Business owners and CEOs will have to take the wisest decision, taking everything into consideration, and aiming their action on what is best for their employees,  the environment and their profit margins- the triple bottom line.

In that process, it is important to keep a non-exclusive mindset. We don't have to choose one over the other. For your business, more work from home might actually be better for employees (especially those that have to travel far), better for the environment (less CO2 emissions) and better for your profits (less rent, insurance, cleaning costs and every costs associated with physical premises), as has been the case with Zero Waste Scotland and its plans to keep employees working from home indefinitely. New more efficient business models are being developed by truly innovative businesses all across Tayside during the last few months, verifying what we have said before- people are highly innovative, adaptable and resilient. Increased efficiency translates across the board. So when it comes to which side you will be on- choose the one that is best for your triple bottom line and ask for help along the way, there is plenty available.

The triple bottom line goes hand-in-hand with the government's green recovery goals. Some days ago, a £350 million green recovery package was announced by the UK government and there are already many funding opportunities for a sustainable recovery. As we explored in our "Green Recovery is the way to go" webinar on the 2nd of July, any recovery must have sustainability at its heart- it is not possible anymore to favour economy over the environment as it is similar to putting out a fire by emptying our well- it is going to catch up with us sooner or later. If you are interested in the above, we suggest you take a look at the list of green terms we compiled to help you understand and apply for "green recovery" funding.

On other news, Zero Waste Scotland has launched its renewed Circular Economy Business Support Service with several changes. First of all, the support is not limited to 30 days as this is not ideal for many of the businesses that could benefit for less or more support. In addition there are several new elements that allow for business support from the very early stages of ideation, all the way to implementation and launch.

Zero Waste Scotland is also collaborating with Keep Scotland Beautiful to shed a light on the issue of outdoors littering. As we are coming out of the lockdown, many of us are eager to visit the great Scottish countryside, we have to be mindful however of the harm our littering practices may cause. Zero Waste Scotland has launched an awareness campaign, "Scotland is stunning-Let's keep it that Way", for this issue and invites everyone to join them. You can find more about this, as well as the campaign materials to promote here. 

Outdoors aside, more plastic litter has been generated because of the pandemic in general. Plastic gloves, masks, PPE and single-use items  are all products that have seen an increase in their use since March this year. It doesn't need to be that way though. There are many things we can do to combat this type of litter. Take a look here for some ideas and help us combat this virus in the greenest way possible. 

On the Circular Economy side of things, this month we have started offering 1-2-1 online meetings with businesses where we go over two tools- the Circular Business Model Canvas and the Innovation Canvas. The first is aimed at linear businesses that want to explore what opportunities they have to make their offering more circular, while the latter refers to innovative ideas and helps you find the strengths and weaknesses in your idea. Contact us if you are interested in a 1-2-1 session. 

We are also co-delivering a Circular by Design workshop with Circular North-East on the 4th of September, where every business that attends will be leaving with their own canvas and "roadmap" to become more circular. There are only 3 spaces available so contact us today to save a spot!

Lastly, in our last Circular Tayside Ambassadors meeting, one subject that stood out was the lack of information on what Circular Economy is. We have put together a list of educational resources on circular economy that spans from introductory free lessons all the way to Master's and MBA degrees. With the collaboration of Zero Waste Scotland and the other circular regions, we have also compiled a short introductory video on circular economy (scroll to bottom of page for video). Take a look and don't hesitate to contact us for more in-depth discussions. 

So what is in the cards for August 2020?

August 2020 is finding many businesses with staff on holiday or on furlough. As such we decided to focus our energy on

-Designing a series of activities taking place in September 

-Collaborations with other circular organisations in Scotland, UK and abroad

-Designing a tool with the help of our Ambassadors and ZWS to help businesses gradually become more circular.

Stay tuned for more Circular Tayside news, and for those of you taking some time off- keep safe and have fun!

Check out our website here for the latest updates and Circular Tayside events, become one of our Be Inspired stories and be showcased on our Map, and join our Circular Tayside Ambassador team.

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