Throughout this Social Lab, we have identiﬁed that the biggest obstacle to implementing a circular economy in Switzerland is the human factor. Indeed, such a new organization of society will require major changes in behavior, both from consumers, as citizens and buyers of products and services, and from producers, as decision makers and buyers of resources.
Additionally, changing one’s habits is not only a diﬃcult task, but almost an impossible one when these new ways of living cannot be experienced in real-life conditions and experimented with. Therefore, it is unlikely that anything will change until a socially accepted sandbox is made available for people to shape these new identities.
We have identiﬁed four groups of people with a high potential of success for this transition (see ﬁgure 1 in annex).
While the two groups at the bottom of this chart could have tremendous impact, we believe their current lifestyles are too far from a circular one to allow them to transition without a very strong extrinsic push. Though, the top two groups, in green, are already getting a loosing hand from society as it is and, thus, have everything to gain from a more sustainable and equitable system.
The Federal Statistical Oﬃce estimates that they will represent 37% of the population in Canton de Vaud in 2019, equivalent to 300’000 people, based on beneﬁciaries of LAMaL subsidies.
We propose to support them in becoming the pioneers of a circular society, by providing them with a fourfold set of solutions to accomplish this transition (see ﬁgure 2 in annex), combining the development of hard and soft circular skills and employment in transition businesses that will pave the way to a circular future.
Requiring a public-private partnership, we aim at creating connections with both the unemployment oﬃce of the city of Lausanne, and the various entities that are already working in the ﬁeld with theses populations, such as worker’s unions and associations.
Once a blueprint of successful skill development programs and circular businesses is created, we will expand the concept to other cities
What is still needed
1. Creation of the skill development program
First of all, we will interview businesses that are the leaders in sustainability in the country to establish skill-sets that they require from their employees, and the ones they foresee for the future. Based on this survey, we will co-create a skill development program with and for our target populations. 2. Government support
Then, we will pitch this skill development program to the unemployment oﬃce of the city of Lausanne. Having their support is crucial in order to have a formal and legitimized access to our target populations and their time.
3. Collaboration with existing entities
In the meantime, we will contact the entities such as worker’s unions and associations, but also potential circular businesses, to establish partnerships in delivering this skill development program and creating sustainable employment opportunities.