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Cécile van Oppen

From a young age, it was clear to Cécile that everyone wants a fairer and more sustainable world. Unfortunately, she also saw that people’s actions were pointing in a different direction. But why?This gave her a motive.

As a smart systems thinker and a creative person, Cécile knows how to inspire the right parties and build common interest. Time and again, she finds the economic stimulus that leads parties to choose the long term over the short.

Staying true to her inner sportsperson, Cécile always strives for results. She is passionate and quite the perfectionist – useful characteristics when it comes to sustainability. She dreams of making an impact on the economic rules of the game… and she’s sure to win.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out about:


  • Cécile’s background story and her work in sustainability and at Copper8.
  • Cécile’s approach to circularity, acknowledging that we must adapt to the natural order of things.
  • The story on the broader understanding of sustainability, encompassing environmental and social aspects.
  • How Copper8’s clients seek stable-state economic well-being while incorporating environmental and social considerations.
  • How Post-Growth strategies and organisations questioning traditional growth models have emerged in the pursuit of sustainability.
  • Some of the most challenging aspects that lie in maintaining an alternative business model and inspiring others to embrace not only the propositions but also the deeper necessity of changing their own business models.
  • How balancing technical expertise with the social and human aspects of circularity is crucial.
  • And much more!


S7E14 Audiogram Image


Emily Swaddle  00:10

Hello, and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio season seven. Today Barry and I had the pleasure of speaking with Cécile van Oppen, the Co-Founder of Copper8.  Copper8 helps to build the Circular Economy. Their consultancy projects, cutting edge research and ventures help accelerate the transition. It was such a wonderful conversation we had today with Cecile, we had some big picture thinking we were zooming out, she gave us some examples from the Copper8 portfolio. Was a really good one today, I think, Barry.

Barry O'Kane  00:45

Yeah, I can tell that you really enjoyed this one. We got quite philosophical that a couple of stages. And that is interesting and sort of, and what came across really, really strongly was Cécile's view, or mission or purpose or whatever word we want to use, but the way she approaches the business, why she's been running Copper8 and the team for literally 10 years this year, and how inspiring and empowering I think her business model is, and her intentions are with a company. 

Emily Swaddle  01:14

Yeah. Do you know, I've noticed about a lot of our guests, that I also noticed here with Cécile, is that they often talk about, you know, 10 years ago, I would sit in a room and nobody would understand what I was saying, or people were so resistant, or getting founders of other companies on board was just such a struggle. And you know, now when I sit in a room, a lot more people sort of understand, and there's a bit more curiosity or a bit more interest in what we're doing. And even though sometimes the way they talk about it makes it sounds like the sort of growth of interest is really incremental, you know, it's not like big leaps, we're talking about sometimes. But like the perseverance of the people that we speak to, and just like persisting in these spaces, because they believe in what they're doing. And it's like, this is important, and I'm gonna keep saying it until people start listening. And I really have picked that up, you know, so much over all the seasons we've done. And I think it was just highlighted again today that that perseverance to keep going is really strong.

Barry O'Kane  02:19

Yeah, as you said, as a real sort of, when it comes across really strongly a real intention and put on the reason real clarity of why they're doing this work. I think also what's equally as inspiring as many ways as they're able to straddle that broad mission and intention, with getting very technical, and very deep into the work as well. Cecile talked about some of the research they fund from their own company, where they fund deep research into doing something that's quite detailed, quite technical work, but straddling and she talked very passionately about the importance of not getting caught up in the technical and how important the social aspect and the human aspect of circularity, and how important all of that is. But being able to hold those two things together and not get lost in theoretical and abstract. And also not get lost in the weeds of, you know, just this little technical thing, which I enjoy or whatever. That for me is quite inspiring. Because, again, looking at it through my lens of looking how software and technology can be involved in Circular Economy. I think that straddle is really important, that breadth of understanding and sort of, we talked about embracing the complexity and that.

Emily Swaddle  03:28

Yeah, a lot of inspiring stuff.

Barry O'Kane  03:29

So without any further ado, let's meet Cécile.

Cécile van Oppen  03:32

Hi, I'm Cécile van Oppen. I'm one of the Co-Founders of Copper8. And for lack of a better word, we are a consultancy based in Amsterdam, focusing on the transition to the Circular Economy. But I also say for lack of a better word, because we're a little bit of challenger on the consulting, on the traditional consulting market. 

Barry O'Kane  03:51

Cool, awesome. Love to hear about that. And welcome to HappyPorch Radio. Thanks for joining us.

Cécile van Oppen  03:54

Thank you for having me.

Barry O'Kane  03:55

So let's do a little bit of stepping back, we always like to do a little bit of stepping back and explore a little bit about what led you to Copper8 and this work, and why does it matter to you?

Cécile van Oppen  04:05

Well, to be fair, I've been a consultant in the traditional sense of the word maybe for all of my working life, which is over 15 years now. Almost 20, actually. That makes me feel old. And what really baffled me when I was working for my boss over 10 years ago was that the consulting business model is actually pretty linear, if you zoom in on it. So there's this focus on helping the same clients over and over again, and making as much money as possible from the same client. And I didn't really think that fit very well or aligned very well with my vision on sustainability because I think that basically, for a consultant, we need to do a lot more capacity building with an organisation so that they themselves can focus on this sustainable transition. And if you look at it from that angle, basically what we need to be focusing on as consultants, is trying to be obsolete as soon as possible. And having a business model that also, yeah, focus on that obsolescence, basically. That was the reason to start my own consultancy. But to really challenge the business model as well.

Barry O'Kane  05:12

Awesome, brilliant.Tell us a little bit about how that manifests, you know, an example of how you do that differently?

Cécile van Oppen  05:18

Well, one of the things is that we really are post growth organisations. So we have said since the beginning, so we started 10 years ago that we would never be larger than 15 consultants. And I think by focusing on a small size, we get to choose which projects we take on and which ones we don't, we never have to take on bulk projects, because we can really select the projects we want to do based on vision. And, you know, there are years where we're maybe financially not as healthy as a traditional consultancy would be. So we don't actually make a profit. But we'd rather have years where we have negative profits, but still have this clear vision, on helping organisations and taking on the type of projects that we believe in, rather than sort of having, you know, massive margins, and maybe driving in a huge Tesla or whatever, it just doesn't make sense. So that's one aspect of it. But what we also do is the margins that we do make in a year that we have positive margins. We'd like to reinvest that into research that isn't asked by clients, but is necessary on a societal level to transition to the world we envision. So we've done a lot of research on, for example, fiscal measures needed to transition to the Circular Economy, but also on critical metals that are needed for the energy transition. And a lot of the research that we do in that sense, does feed into sort of national policy. So we feel that we're having an impact in that sense, as well. So we always say, we're not in the game to be rich in monetary terms. But in terms of karma points, we're doing amazing. 

Emily Swaddle  07:00

Can I ask Cécile, just to go back a second, because you mentioned at the beginning that you felt that the traditional consulting methods and industry was very linear and didn't fit with your vision of sustainability. Could you tell us a little bit about your vision of sustainability, and sort of like, where that grew from and your journey with that?

Cécile van Oppen  07:23

Yeah, I've been in consulting all my working life, but I've also been in sustainability, all my working life. So what really struck me when I started working was that sustainability was almost synonymous for the energy transition. Whereas when I was doing my master's degree, I was really taught to look in a sort of systemic manner. So energy is one aspect, obviously, but we also need to be looking at other environmental aspects, such as materials, such as pollution, but we also need to be looking at the social aspects. Because I think a lot of the times the way we focus on sustainability, it actually enlarges the distance between North and South, the rich and the poor, etc. So if we really want to create, you know, a sustainable world, we need to be focusing on the social aspects on the environmental aspects and bring it all together. And that makes it super complex. But I also believe that's the only way to move towards the world that we would all want to live in.

Emily Swaddle  08:30

Do you mind if I ask about the social aspects a bit closer to home? So you mentioned that you like to keep Copper8 small. I don't have any experience in the consulting world, personally, but I have second hand experience through friends and observation. And it feels like a pretty intense industry. Like, as you say, like traditional consulting world can be hardcore. And for the people working in it, it can be a really intense experience. And I, you know, across many industries, these days, there's, you know, high cases of burnout and a lot of stress and exhaustion and these sort of social aspects that are pretty detrimental to individuals in a working context. How do you sort of see all that tying into this image of sustainability and also your image for Copper 8 as a company?

Cécile van Oppen  09:26

Well, I think you are really touching upon a really important point. Because, yes, you know, the traditional consulting industry when I was still working for a boss, I was working, you know, 60 to 80 hours a week. And the difficult thing also about sustainability is, you're never done right. So you've never actually created this sustainable role yet. So I think, especially for passionate young people, and I was one, I mean, I like to still think of myself as young. But you know, I also told you how long I've been working. So I guess that's just fiction as well. But, you know, I think we need to be aware that for young people that are passionate about this topic, it's difficult to sort of set boundaries for when you're working and when you're not. And I think at least what we've done with Copper 8, is we said, we're only working four days a week, so Fridays are off. And, of course, you know, I realise Friday mornings, my colleagues will probably be doing some emails. But realistically, when I was working for a boss, I was doing that on Saturday mornings, which only left me one and a half days of weekend. And now at least, you know, there's two and a half days to sort of balance the work and the free time, because I think that especially in this industry, we need to also not be working on sustainability for a period of time to sort of have that feel that passion again. So that's one of the ways that we do that. But we're very focused on trying to limit, you know, the amount of work that consultants take on. And because we don't focus on high margins and high profit margins, we're able to also not overburden our colleagues. But it's a very important issue, because in the end, you know, we can do what we want to do. But you know, there's two sides to the game, we also need our colleagues to speak up when they're feeling stressed out and to also look at what's going on and limit the work burden or help them with the work that they do have on their plate.

Emily Swaddle  11:24

Yeah, totally. And you're working within a system, right? A system that maybe it has expectations or like limitations and pressures on both sides. So yeah, it's not an easy thing to sort of reform and try new things in this space. But yeah, it's really interesting what you're doing and I am a big fan of the four day workweek.

Cécile van Oppen  11:45

So is everyone here and the funny thing is, in the beginning, I was a little bit afraid to tell Copper8 clients that we were working four days a week, so I kind of like left it in the middle. I'm like, No, I can't make it on Friday. And now after 10 years, we're actually very open about it. And the funny thing is that all of our clients say, Oh, you only work four days, I wish I could work four days, you know, so it actually creates sort of this ripple effect that people are like, Oh, well, you know, they really take good care of their people and stuff. It's also interesting to see how we've opened up a bit more increasing transparency on our business model.

Emily Swaddle  12:19

That's like leadership, right? That's how you lead change it by modelling it and saying, you know, we're doing it this way. And other people go, Oh, I wish I could do that. You're like, well, if we can do it, you can do it as well. 

Cécile van Oppen  12:30


Barry O'Kane  12:31

There's another interesting thread then where you're talking about the sort of journey of 10 years of the business. What else have you seen change, not just in, as you said, that confidence to be able to say you don't need to hide the fact of just who you are and the work you're doing and the mission you have. But we speak to a lot of people on this podcast, and they talk about the changes in conversation about circularity, for example, over the last 10 years. So I'm interested in what other patterns or broad changes you've seen?

Cécile van Oppen  12:57

Well, I think 10 years ago, when we started, we were one of the few consultancies in the Netherlands focusing 100% on this transition. Of course, we've seen other niche consultancies come up. But we've also seen the large consultancies start to focus on this type of issues. So in a sense, you can say that, you know, it has the topic of circularity, Circular Economy has really shifted from sort of like a side topic to sort of a mainstream, strategic topic as well. So that's what we see on the client side is we really see the shift from, Oh, we're gonna do a cute little project on the Circular Economy to you know, we really want to embed it in our strategy. I also see and that is making me really happy because we are a post growth company ourselves is that there are actually a lot of clients starting to sort of think about, you know, what are the limits to business as usual for us as an organisation? And should we be thinking about post growth strategies ourself and what does it look like? And that for hardcore, you know, commercial companies, I think that's a really cool development to see.

Barry O'Kane  14:05

That is really interesting. If you're able to share, do you have an example or a cool story about that kind of thing that you're able to share with us?

Cécile van Oppen  14:11

Well, of course, I can't really mention names because it's kind of like off the record still. But yeah, I mean, we have several organisations right now that are really asking us to sort of analyse, you know, what are the risks if we continue this sort of growth strategy that we've been maintaining for the past 40, 50, sometimes 100 years. So when does this business as usual, and from sort of like an environmental perspective, but also, you know, what are the business models that we should be looking at, in order to maybe have stable state sort of economic well being within the organisation. So without growing, but also without compromising the environment, but also social aspects. So yeah, we have clients in the construction industry looking at this, but also in the more sort of digital sector, looking at this as well, which is really interesting, because, of course, the digital world has, you know, massive exponential growth. I mean, we couldn't be sitting like this 10 years ago. But the amount of data that we're using right now is also immense. And I don't know how it is for where you are, but when I'm sitting in the train here, doing my commute from work to business, I see so many people streaming movies on their phones, and it's just massive data. And we need, we need to be conscious of the impact that that has on our environment as well. And I think we don't really realise that. And I think it's really amazing that this company is trying to bring that impact into the discussion and looking at the limits of that, you know, exponential digital growth.

Barry O'Kane  15:53

Yeah, I agree. That's huge. It's a major area of growth, and obviously very relevant to me and my business in the world. And the challenges there, as there's so many benefits to, as you said, to some of the digital stuff, including as an enabler for some of the sustainability and Circular Economy. But to ignore the impacts or to pretend that there's not waste is really have that conversation. I agree. That's pretty, it sounds like a very mature conversation for business to be having, rather than focusing purely on the short term, profit margins, and so on.

Cécile van Oppen  16:22

Yeah. And I also think, you know, a lot of companies and it's very safe, right, to look at the sustainability transition from a purely technical perspective and say, But you know, we have so many brains on this world, we're going to solve this, by technology, and by smart developments, but I think if we don't look at the economic side of it, we're never gonna be able to meet our sustainability goals. And also, if we don't look at the economic side, I think, you know, this distance between North and South rich and poor is gonna get even larger. So it's an imperative to look at the economic side. And that's why I'm also happy that these commercial companies are looking at stable state growth or whatever, or at post growth really.

Barry O'Kane  17:07

Yeah, really interesting, really interesting, kind of inherent in what you're talking about there, you can kind of see that post growth or even the degrowth, you know, whatever labels we put on that, you see that very closely linked with circularity, is that what I'm hearing as well?

Cécile van Oppen  17:20

I do, because if you look at just from a historical perspective, a lot of the technological developments that we have had over the past 40 to 50 years as a result of efficiency have then also been negatively influenced by using more so consuming more. So you know, our cars have gotten massively more efficient. And what have we started doing, we've started driving more SUVs. Our digital connections have gotten quicker and quicker, and what have we started doing pushing more and more data through them? And I think there's basically a rebound. Well, I don't just think that there's proof that there's a rebound effect there, that actually, a lot of these efficiency improvements have not led to more sustainability, because they lead to more consumption. And on a more individual level, like I can even I'm guilty, right? Because I have solar panels on my roof. And ever since we've had those solar panels, we started using more energy, because we're like, Oh, well, you know, it's green energy, so it's fine. So I think it's very human, that we do that. But it's also a problem when you do it on a massive scale. So I do think it's inextricably linked this. And I like to call it post growth because I think degrowth for a lot of people sounds too negative. And it sounds like we have to, you know that we're compromising a lot. Whereas I like to think of all the things that you get in return for not focusing on growth, because that's really what it is. It's just you're not focusing on growth. We, as an organisation don't focus on growth. And we have so much happiness in our work as return. So it's not like we're compromising really,  just focusing on different values.

Emily Swaddle  18:59

So just to play devil's advocate, maybe a little bit, am I hearing that circularity and abundance cannot go hand in hand, can't coexist?

Cécile van Oppen  19:10

Well abundancy, in one sense of the word, because I think there's a lot of things that are abundant when you focus on post growth. It's just, it's not abundant. So the traditional translation to value which we've always done in terms of currency and money and the size of your bank account, that might not be abundant. But there's a lot of things that are abundant, because I think if we don't focus on economic growth, we will have more biodiversity. So that will be more abundant, we will probably be more happy as individuals. So that will be more abundant, we will have probably more social cohesion, so that will be more abundance. So it's basically we're focusing on other values rather than the economic.

Emily Swaddle  19:56

Yeah, there's this broader idea of what abundance is and also what it can offer us. 

Cécile van Oppen  20:03


Emily Swaddle  20:04


Barry O'Kane  20:05

So just to segue from the big picture, to the more granular and particularly, we've touched on technology there, which is obviously a real focus of this podcast, and then the conversations we have. When you're working with people around the question of circularity, whatever stage that is, how does technology fit into those conversations for you?

Cécile van Oppen  20:24

I think it's a really challenging topic, right? Because as we discussed earlier, technology can be a real enabler for the transition to the Circular Economy. So in terms of, you know, matching material streams from waste to inputs, I think we need technology in order to really facilitate this sort of organised circularity. Whereas now, one of the reasons we're not scaling circular thinking is because it's too dependent on coincidence, right? So, person A talks to person B at a conference, and they realise that they can share waste streams as input. And that's why a project arises. But it's very coincidental. And I think, you know, technology can really be used to sort of scale that type of matchmaking. On the one hand, it's an opportunity. And on the other hand, making everything digital, or doing everything digitally, has not only an impact, but I think it also takes out sometimes the social dimension of what we're trying to achieve. So it once again, only focuses on the technical side, whereas a lot of the projects that I've been able to be involved in, why are they successful? It's also because people are interacting with one another, people on a more sort of personal level are focusing on what do I want to give you rather than just focusing on, sort of the very technical sort of transactional side of trying to get this project to work? So I think having that human interaction is also crucial to make projects successful.

Barry O'Kane  22:04

Does it go even further than that? Are you seeing situations where the technology is, like a barrier or a hurdle for circularity? 

Cécile van Oppen  22:11

Well, I think we all kind of realised when we were in our lockdowns, you know, two years ago that on the one hand, a lot of meetings could be done digitally. And it was very nice, because we weren't, you know, travelling all the time. But I also think that we realised that some meetings were maybe less successful, because we were trying to make the same amount of connection out of a screen to screen situation, which just couldn't be done, because you need to sort of have more feeling like who is on the other side of this screen? So yeah, I do think that in some cases, it is a hurdle.

Emily Swaddle  22:52

When you've just been talking about this. I just had this, like connection in my brain, between everything we've been talking about, and Tinder. Because there's this conversation about like, the abundance of choice, not necessarily being a good thing. And, you know, Tinder does that same thing. As you swiping through these people become just like images on a screen, and it's not really people anymore. There's no personal connection there. And what's more, you got so many options, that when connection does happen, you maybe take it less seriously because there's just another person ready to match or swipe or whatever. And I feel like that's kind of what you're saying here in terms of these connections that need to be made in order to facilitate the Circular Economy is that you know, that personal interaction, that personal touch is actually really important. And that maybe this idea of, we just need to have all the options in front of us all the time isn't really going to facilitate better, meaningful connections.

Cécile van Oppen  24:00

I think it's an amazing metaphor. I mean, I've never been on Tinder to be quite honest. But yeah, the metaphor is spot on, I think.

Emily Swaddle  24:10

Yeah, that's so interesting to me. Because like, actually, when I think about sort of the ideal when it comes to a future economy, when it comes to like, what we're trying to build, for me, the personal connection is a huge part of that. And there is this tension between that and the digital world. I feel like every time we talk about it on this show, I'm sort of like torn in different directions and thinking, Okay, the digital side of things facilitate so much and actually can help facilitate that part that you've brought up a couple of times this year, of sort of helping to bring more balance when it comes to relations between the global north and the global south, you know, in interactions through digital connection can really facilitate that. And yet, there's still this sort of like romance to the personal connection. I don't know what the answers are.

Cécile van Oppen  25:04

I don't know what the answers are. But I do think that, you know, even last week, when the Titan Sub went missing, I don't know how it was where you are. But in the Netherlands, it was getting a lot more attention than, you know, the many shipwrecks that we've had in the Mediterranean with all the refugees. And I think that also sort of magnifies what we're talking about right now. Because somehow many of us feel a larger connection to those Titan Sub crazies who are paying, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars to go on a ridiculous cruise to the bottom of the ocean, because for whatever reason, whereas a more human connection to the refugees trying to just have a very, you know, just a little bit of a more comfortable life would really help to, you know, take our climate goals more seriously as well, because a lot of people in the global south are, are really noticing the effects of our actions, you know, and I think that sometimes, we kind of like miss that connection on a human level, which makes us very technocratic in policy at a policy level, but also at an actionable level. It's like, Oh, well, you know, it's just like, who cares if we don't reach our climate goals this year, you know, whereas the consequences of not reaching our climate goals are not directly felt by us, but they are felt by the people in the global south. And we need to make this transition more human. And I think that's on every level. I mean, it's on an organisational level, that, you know, I want my colleagues to not have a burnout and be happy. Because I think if I treat them in that way, they will then transfer that in their work to their clients, to their friends. And we can sort of also, you know, sort of have a ripple effect on the human aspects as well. It's getting very philosophical now, but yeah.

Emily Swaddle  27:03

I love the philosophical stuff. Barry's always trying to bring it back to something more tangible, and I'm always seeking it. Right, zooming as far out as we can go. But yeah, I love that. And that foundation of the human connection, it makes it more sustainable, you can just see how treating people in a really sort of compassionate way as humans, makes whatever you're doing, more likely to last longer.  And more meaningful, and, as you say, more abundant in many ways. So that's really wonderful. 

Barry O'Kane  27:33

Just to pick up on what Emily said, I was actually interested in how that, you talked a little bit about the reason for Copper8 on all of this is why you do what you do. And some of that some we touched on some of the how, what do you ask this question, sort of, because we like to embrace the fact that it's complex, and so on. So I wanted to ask both sides of this question at the same time. What do you enjoy most? Or what are you getting most from the work that you're doing? But then also in the same breath, almost what is challenging about that, about the work you're doing? And how do those two things sort of manifest or balance out in the work that you're doing at the moment?

Cécile van Oppen  28:06

It's a very broad question. Well, I think, for me, it is the combination of being intellectually stimulated on a daily basis, because we're curious by nature. So when something doesn't work, we want to figure out why didn't that work? And many times the answer lies on a systemic economic level, like we've made some kind of economic law you know, stipulating that we should do A, B, or C. So I think the intellectual stimulation that I get from being curious and not accepting every answer, but wanting to dig deeper, together with my colleagues is sort of the massive game. I think that the most challenging thing is really trying to not only maintain this alternative business model, where we have all these giants surrounding us that are just, you know, pumping the traditional business model, and focusing only on the technical side of circularity, but especially this ambition that we had 10 years ago to challenge the business model, but try to get it to be scalable as well. So we really, really wanted more followers to be like, Oh, look at them, they're doing it differently. And we're, we want to follow suit. And I think that in the past 10 years, we've seen a lot of organisations follow suit on the work we do, but not on how we do it. And that makes me sad sometimes, because I feel that the passion that we bring into the work, because we're practising what we preach, also makes the advice that we give a lot more successful. And I just want the world to have more of that. And I think it's sad that people just see oh, well, you know, it's a good proposition. Let's mark it that and let's, you know, get stinking rich out of it, rather than really feeling this sort of deeper necessity and changing the own business model.

Barry O'Kane  30:04

Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, the thing that's interesting for me about a lot of this is I think it comes through there, and what you're saying is the kind of trying to juggle the large scale, as you said, the wanting to lead to the How, but then also being living in the weeds of okay, well with it, I have to, you know, this particular product and the very small micro stuff as well. And that if you lose focus on one, like you said, you end up with a sort of very technical, dehumanised focus. But if you focus only over here, then it's not actionable. And there's no, you know, it's all sort of philosophical and, and theoretical. So sort of embracing that complexity and living in that challenge, I think is quite, I think you just said it's both rewarding and challenging. So I'm looking at the clock. And there's lots of other things I would love to explore with you. But just before we finish up, there is one thing that we talked about in the past, and that is sailing. So I'd love to just really quickly talk about that. Because one of the things that has always inspired me about circularity is a presentation that MacArthur does about being on a boat and the sort of allegory with that being a simple unit, and you need everything you can, it needs to be self sufficient, and so on. But you're also a sailor, so I'd love to hear a little bit about how that has impacted the journey you've been on.

Cécile van Oppen  31:18

Diving into another metaphor there, I think, yeah, I've been feeling pretty much all my life. I think if I bring that into the work, I think primarily that nature is the boss. So you can try to sort of play with nature and use the wind and use the currents to get to where you want to be. But in the end, nature's boss. So if a storm comes, storm will win. If the current is too strong, the current will win and you can try to play sort of with nature, but you can never be the boss of nature. I think that's, for me the essence.

Barry O'Kane  31:56

I think we're hearing a lot of that and that ties for me, again, back to what you were saying about, I don't want to use the sort of whole self thing or something like that. But life generally or all your experiences, and wanting to really live that through Copper8, and the work that you're doing. It always feels like we just, just scratched the surface of some of these topics, and especially when we get broad and philosophical. So thank you so much for sharing all of that.

Emily Swaddle  32:17

Okay, this is a question I like to ask quite a lot to our guests. But I feel like with everything we've talked about, I can't not ask what brings you hope? 

Cécile van Oppen  32:27

Well, I think, and general sense like, we are all humans, and I think on the most human level, we all want to leave this world behind for our children and grandchildren in a better way. So that's one side of it, but it's very cheesy. And the other side of it is that I think more and more like five years ago when I was talking about you know, we need to change the economic system, there would be like maybe in a room of 100 people two people would be like, she has a point. And I feel that now there's this momentum that people are starting to understand you know, the economic system is not given the only givens are, you know, physics laws. If we can change the way we design products and use products, we can also change the economic system because it's something we designed ourselves. So, if I stand in front of a room of 100 people now five years later, I feel like at least 20 percent that gets what I'm saying. And I do think that there's a momentum that we're understanding this. And we're also ready to take action on it. And that growing, sort of audience is giving me hope.

Emily Swaddle  33:40

That's really lovely. Thank you.

Barry O'Kane  33:42

Just to finish this off, for those listening, who want to find out more about the work that you do or get in touch, where do they go?

Cécile van Oppen  33:48

Well, we have a website, And we try to keep it up to date. But we also post a lot on LinkedIn. Most of that is in Dutch, though, so I'm afraid that you'd need a translator to help you throughout that.

Barry O'Kane  34:04

Thank you so much. And that's copper-C-O-P-P-E-R and then the number eight dot Com. As usual, we'll put all the links on HappyPorch Radio as well. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. That was a really great conversation. And like I said, barely scratched the surface, so maybe we can have another one in the future.  

Cécile van Oppen 34:19

Thank you.

Emily Swaddle  34:20

Thank you, Cecile.  

Thank you for listening to this episode of HappyPorch Radio. You can find past episodes, transcripts and show notes at You can also get in touch with us there and let us know what you think or if you have any ideas or comments. Please rate the podcast, share and subscribe so that more people can find the show.

Barry O'Kane  34:43

Thanks for listening. My name is Barry O'Kane. I founded HappyPorch who fund and support this podcast. At HappyPorch we do technology and software development for purpose led businesses and we're particularly excited about the role of digital as an enabler for the Circular Economy. If you're working on solutions to the big problems we face today, problems like climate change, biodiversity loss and global inequality then let's connect,visit and get in touch.

Emily Swaddle  35:07

And I'm Emily Swaddle, podcaster coach, facilitator and storyteller. You can find me on my other podcast, the Carbon Removal Show, and you can find out more about that project and everything else I do at where you can also subscribe to my Newsletter All about Rest. If you're interested in anything I do, feel free to connect. You can email me on [email protected]