Circular Economy – The New Paradigm for the Future of Business?!

“In the 16th century, the German astronomer Nicolas Copernicus made a profound discovery: the sun and not the earth was the centre of our universe. At the time, this idea went against established Christian doctrine and was heretical to many. It was also an audacious insight that sparked a revolution in science, ultimately paving the way towards a new world view and great improvement of prosperity.

For all the good it has brought us, our economic model is in need of a new direction. The global population will continue to grow, the middle class is set to top 5 billion by 2030, and many emerging nations will look for increased prosperity. This is putting enormous stress on our environment and our resources, which are becoming more difficult to extract. Our myopic focus on producing and consuming as cheaply as possible has created a linear economy in which objects are briefly used and then discarded as waste.”


Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy offers such a new paradigm. Restorative and regenerative by design, the circular economy relies on system-wide innovation to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.

In this event jointly hosted by Impact Hub Zürich and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bern, we will explore


  • what the circular economy is;
  • what its potential is;
  • what (if any) are its limitations.


On top of that, we will hear two exciting case studies of how the principles of circular economy are already integrated and lead to innovation. The Netherlands are supporting this events in line with their strategy to become a Circular Economy Hotspot.

If you are interested to go in-depth about the principles of circular design, our business unSchool STRIDE offers a course on the topic the two days afterwards (details here).



19:00 Doors open

19:30 Introduction

19:35 Welcome by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Anne Luwema

19:40 An introduction to the Circular Economy – Siem Haffmanns

19:55 Case study Startup – ReWinner

20:05 Case study SME – Vögeli AG

20:15 Parallel group discussions

20:55 Opportunities for the Circular Economy –  Ernst-Jan van Hattum

21:00 Wrap-up in plenary 

21:05 Networking & apéro



Siem Haffmanns

Siem Haffmans is managing partner at Partners for Innovation. He supports companies to realize sustainable product innovations, through his knowledge of design, production and markets. Siem is an expert in the field of sustainability, circular design and materials. He combines design and creativity with circular business models and is also good at implementing them. Siem has over 20 years of experience as a sustainable industrial designer. He also worked as a researcher at TNO and as a (guest) lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, TU Delft and the Dutch Packaging Centre. Siem is also founder of Ragbag, brand for fair recycled fashion accessories from the slums of Delhi.


Marina Altman

Marina Altman is a business intelligence and analytics expert with a passion for sustainability and circular economy. She is co-founder of the Association and Social Business ReWinner, which received support from such notable organisations as WWF Switzerland and Climate KIC . The goal of ReWinner is to increase the amount of building materials that are reused and re-purposed instead of being disposed of. Construction waste compromises 65 % of all the waste in Switzerland; about 15 million tons a year of products and materials from the building sector are disposed of. ReWinner’s approach is to achieve a higher amount of material reuse through optimizing processes and developing and promoting innovative design from reused materials. This way reuse, one aspect of circular economy, can be implemented in the building industry. Marina is interested in circular economy business models and ways of piloting and scaling them.


Markus Vögeli
Vögeli AG, founded 1912 is a fourth generation family owned business. Today two brothers, Markus and Renato Vögeli are directing the company. In a family owned business, sustainability is somehow of a naturalness. For this reason Vögeli AG is one of the most sustainable printing factory in Switzerland. Since the end of 2016 Vögeli AG is the first company in Switzerland able to provide circular printing products which are cradle to cradle certified™.

Ernst-Jan van Hattum

Ernst-Jan van Hattum is innovation & technology consultant in the area of intelligent energy, eco-innovation and circular economy at Enterprise Europe Network in Switzerland at Euresearch, part of the Enterprise Europe Network in more than 60 countries. He supports organisations – amongst other services – to find technologies for their technology problems or to find partners for their innovative technology in the EU and beyond. Euresearch supports Swiss organisations to participate in European (funded) research programmes.


The Netherlands is spearheading a movement towards a more circular economy and has become a “living lab” that provides the rest of the world with examples to learn from. Being a frontrunner in the circular economy will create benefits for both the Dutch economy as well as the society as a whole. The Netherlands has a few prestigious universities with the knowledge that is needed for circular solutions. The TU Eindhoven and the TU Delft belong to the worldwide top universities in industrial design.

The Netherlands. Sustainable. Creative. Innovative.



Short-cut Infos

Circular Economy – The New Paradigm for the Future of Business?!

Thu 11. May 2017 , 19:00 - 22:00

Location: Viadukt

Contact Person

A background in business and economics, Niels’ curiosity took him through multiple countries and professions before finding his passion in social entrepreneurship and in Switzerland. After co-founding the Impact Hub Zürich, building its community and setting up its operations, he needed a break and went on a trip through Asia and Africa. Since Mid-2012 Niels is back as Program Director desig...

Niels Rot, Program Director

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