Innovators for joint solutions

How can partnerships and the way we work together change a whole industry? Some people, for example, are searching for answers – and optimization – in their supply chain. Successfully! And there is even more potential in shifting businesses through collaboration and communication.
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We <3 plastics

Turning today's products into tomorrow's raw materials. When we look at the recyclable material cycle there are many stakeholders – from the chemical industry and manufacturers to end customers and waste recycling companies. To create a global circular economy in the future that reuses to reduce waste, they will have to learn to work together in new and sometimes unfamiliar ways.

Let’s take a look at a very particular example right away: FREITAG. In the beginning of the 90s, the company from Switzerland brought the matter of recycling and upcycling to an early fame by producing popular commuter bags made from reused truck tarps, bicycle tubes and safety belts. Today FREITAG is fighting to consequently close their value chain completely. To do so, the two Freitag brothers teamed up with a specialist – and while she started a project by going backwards the supply chain, Anna Blattert was getting in touch with basically everyone involved. Thus, finding the leverage to improve processes. Get to know her and other innovators who are rethinking collaboration for a more sustainable future in our episode!

We talk to Anna Blattert about what it's like collaborating with multiple partners on an innovation. What she learned about the material requirements of truck tarps and why acting unconventionally sometimes simply is the best way.

We chat with Henning Eichhorn of tarp producing company HEYTEX who knew about the second life FREITAG gives their discarded tarps but never was in direct contact before he and Anna Blattert joined forces. Today he is testing a groundbreaking first tarp with the ambition to produce a fully circular truck tarp.

Together with Sean Ansett, Co-Founding team member Fairphone and Tutor, Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, we reflect on small companies introducing a new way of leadership for long term strategies, ethical and ecological values.

And we talk to Julia Okatz and Sophie Hermann from Systemiq to find out how to feed societal needs with less natural resources, how to provide services (e.g. urban, mobility) systems with fewer products and to refeed new and optimized products into the value chain to avoid burning them as trash in the end. They are investigating systemic solutions for a circular economy which consider societal, ecological, economic as well as technical perspectives.

Interviewees express general views not connected to the specific companies mentioned or shown.

Anna Blattert

Circular Technologist, FREITAG 

FREITAG thinks and acts in cycles – that has been the corporate philosophy for almost 30 years now. Today, the company thinks mainly about how it can act even better in closed cycles. How much better it would be if their products were not only recycled but also endlessly recyclable. In other words, if FREITAG could give discarded truck tarps not only a second life but an everlasting one.
Heytex creates coated heavy duty fabrics that are produced on the basis of expertise and continuous development. Weaving, coating, and laminating: as a global manufacturer of technical textiles, the company takes its responsibility with regard to the production, disposal and recycling of materials very seriously. Heytex continuously seeks a balance between economic, ecological and social interests.
Sean Ansett is a sustainability professional with 20 years’ experience. Sean provides strategic advice to corporations, social enterprise start-ups, UN agencies and non-profit organizations on ethical trade, human rights and environmental sustainability globally through his organization At Stake Advisors.
System change requires leadership from across the system. SYSTEMIQ and its partners work across a range of industries, from metals and cement to electronics and textiles. The company also works with governments and civil society to drive innovative initiatives and investment that will transform material use in the economy, with a focus on the plastics economy.
System change requires leadership from across the system. SYSTEMIQ and its partners work across a range of industries, from metals and cement to electronics and textiles. The company also works with governments and civil society to drive innovative initiatives and investment that will transform material use in the economy, with a focus on the plastics economy.

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