Circular economy as a tool for climate change mitigation
Did you know that from 1880 to 2012, the average global temperature increased by 0.85°C and this causes oceans to warm, makes ice melt and increases the sea levels? I know what you are thinking “0.85°C sounds like a minimal increase and what a huge impact it creates! Is this for real?”. Here’s another thing – did you know that carbon dioxide levels are at their peak in 650 000 years? In the period between 1970 – 2012 populations of vertebrate animals — such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% and freshwater species have declined by 81% (2016, WWF, Living planet report). Have you heard of the prediction that if we keep using planet Earths’  resources at the same pace as we are doing it now, then by 2030 we’ll need two more planets Earth to survive and satisfy our needs? 
All these adverse effects are a direct consequence of climate change. Over the last century, Earth’s population has drastically grown which has created higher demand for goods and services. Increased demand, on the other hand, has led to an exponential rise in the number of enterprises aimed at addressing the needs of the population and a more extensive use of natural resources for transport, electricity, food, etc. Up until now, a large number of the big industrialized economies’ businesses are built upon the linear production model, meaning we take from nature, use and dispose which is one of the main reasons for climate change. In general terms, it is possible to say that climate change represents Earth’s response to all human activities exploiting its resources. You are probably thinking, “well what can I do to change this? People will always be here; companies will always be here!” and you are right, but people and companies can change their mindset and their ways of consumption and production! Have you heard of the circular business model or circular economy? Would you like to know how you can build or transform a business on the principles of circular economy and thus contribute to climate change mitigation? If the answer is positive, then this WebQuest is meant exactly for you!

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The goal of this WebQuest is to present circular economy as an effective tool for climate change mitigation as well as to make you reflect on the importance of implementing sustainable business models.

You will have to work in teams and research on the topic of climate change, what causes it, what are the consequences of this occurrence and how it could be limited. Afterwards, each team will have to get into the role of a company managing board and build their own circular economy business model! Each team will have to find a sustainable way to organize their business activity in line with the principles of the circular economy and present it in front of other teams by explaining how they have addressed the concept of circular economy at every level of the value chain. At the end, the whole class should discuss and evaluate the presented circular economy business models and rank them from the “most sustainable” to the “least sustainable”. Okay, now it’s time to pave your way towards circular economy!
Follow the steps listed below. Good luck!
1. Team up!
That’s the easy part! At this stage, the whole class has to split into teams consisting of 3 people, each. Each team will represent a company, operating in different sectors of the economy. Once you have a team, you can proceed to the next step.

2. Get an idea of climate change and its effects
At this point, each team will have to check out the online resources on the topic of Climate change pointed in the Useful links section and research further on the topic, if needed. Each team will have to build their own perception of:
-  what climate change is;
-   which are the causes;
-   how human activities and, more specifically, business operations accelerate this process;
-   what are the effects of climate change;
-   how this occurrence can be averted, mitigated, limited.

3. Gather the Management board!
Now that you are already aware of what climate change is and, it’s time to start building your circular economy business model! For this purpose, first you need to form the company management board, which should consist of Head of Logistics & Distribution, Head of Supply chain management and Head of production/development. After assigning the roles within the teams, each team has to decide the type of their business activities. For instance, team 1 could be apparel production, team 2 – paper production; team 3 – software development, etc.

 Upon deciding the core activity of your company, each team has to find a real company which to contact and ask them about the processes of supply, logistics and distribution, and production/development in the specific sector. You will have to interview representatives from the company through face-to-face meetings, phone, online meetings or other means and gather information on how the company traditionally executes the processes of supply, logistics and distribution, and production/development, what practices does it have in place in order to make the processes more environmentally friendly, what are the “green” trends that they follow or they would like to in the sector and other questions you deem relevant and that will help you build your circular economy business model. The information acquired through the interview(s) could be combined or further enriched with information from the web which to help you get a better idea of the respective company operations. 

4. Dive into the Circle economy!
Now comes the hard part! Each team will have to check out the resources provided in the Useful links section on the topic of Circular economy  & Circular economy business models and form their own perception of the terms. Afterwards, the management board of each company (team) has to discuss how they can set the processes of supply, production and logistics & distribution within their company in line with the principles of circular economy, meaning to apply a circular business model instead of a linear one.  

The final decisions regarding the organisation of each of the 3 processes in each team should be taken by the respective person who is in charge of it. For instance, head of production defines how production process will be organized with regard to having minimal environmental impact and being executed in a sustainable manner.

Remember, these 3 processes are interrelated therefore each management board will have to coordinate their decisions in order to build a circular economy business model. Each team will have to prepare a diagram to depict their circular business model. You can do it on a flipchart or use multimedia such as PowerPoint, Prezzi, and Excel.

5. Present your circular business model
At this stage each of the teams has to present their company and explain which company they interviewed and based on the gathered information how they have arranged their business activities in line with the principles of circular economy. The respective representatives of each of the three branches of the company (Supply chain management; Production/ Development; Logistics & Distribution) has to describe what decisions were taken to implement the respective processes in a more sustainable way and how the presented model contributes to climate change mitigation and why.

The other teams have to listen and evaluate the level of sustainability of each business model against the following criteria: 
-  Resource management – what resources are used in the respective business activity? Are there recycled materials? Do they use renewable energy resources?
-  Use of environmentally friendly technologies – do they use high energy class technologies; digitized technologies, etc.
-  Waste management – what types of waste does the activity generate? How is waste treated – is it recycled; reused for the creating of new products; used for creative purposes? 
-  Product lifecycle – could the product be used in the long-term? Could the product or its components be easily repaired or used for other purposes?

6. Time for ranking!
After each team has seen the business models of others, it’s time for all teams to engage in a discussion and decide which of the presented business models are more sustainable and in line with the circular economy principles. Based on the criteria presented in step 5, the whole class should make a list ranking the business models from the most sustainable to the least sustainable one.
Evaluation and Learning Outcomes
After the completion of this webquest, learners will be able to:

Knowledge Skills Attitudes
· fundamental theoretical knowledge
on climate change
· fundamental knowledge on
circular economy
· theoretical knowledge on
sustainable business operations

· provide useful information in relation to climate change and circular economy
· identify business operations that can be adjusted according to the circular economy principles
· identify creative ways to implement business operations in a sustainable manner
· research, gather and systematize information on the topic of circular economy and climate change
· graphically systematize and present information with regard to business process
· present in front of an audience
work in a team for a common goal
· create own perception of what circular economy is
· reflect and express opinion on the topic of  climate change and what causes it
· explain the relation between climate change mitigation and circular economy
· design business activities in a sustainable way/ in line with circular economy’s principles
· promote a circular economy model for society
What you do today determines your tomorrow! And actually not only yours…

How you consume, how you produce, how you supply certain service or product: each of these actions impacts your future and the future of those who will live after you, so keep calm & embrace the circular economy J