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Fleur Ruckley

Fleur’s role at data aggregation and analytics company Topolytics is focused around helping customers to overcome the the complexities and inaccuracies in their waste data that currently hinder resource efficiency, material recovery and ultimately, circularity. Over the past 20 years, she has supported organisations, policy makers and regulators to understand the impact of policies, strategies and business models and to implement sustainable and more recently, circular solutions to better meet the challenges facing us all.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out about:


  • Fleur Ruckley's journey into the field of Circular Economy and her background in environmental education.
  • The complexity of implementing Circular Economy principles and the importance of vision, data analysis, and collaboration to drive change.
  • How consultants are helping businesses navigate complexity and develop action plans for circularity goals.
  • The focus of environmental management on companies and individuals, rather than broader environmental impact.
  • How Circular Economy encompasses not just environmental aspects but also social aspects.
  • Empowering people by helping them recognise choices, providing solutions, and overcoming barriers.
  • How Fleur emphasises the significance of asking better questions and collecting comprehensive data to understand the impact of environmental actions.
  • And much more!


S7E10 Audiogram image


Emily Swaddle  00:10

Hello, and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio. This is season seven. And today Barry and I had the amazing opportunity to speak with Fleur Ruckley. Fleur is a Circular Economy and Resource Management Consultant. She has been consulting on all things sustainability and environmental for many, many years. And today she works with Topolytics. During this conversation, we really benefited from all her years of experience getting loads of interesting insights and case studies. How did you find it Barry?

Barry O'Kane  00:43

I really liked Fleur and I really enjoyed this conversation. She's one of those people who embraces the complexity and who really understands the changes and the necessary work that we need to do in order to make everything more circular, and at the same time, stays really positive and has all this energy for it. And was able to, sort of, straddle the detail of what data do we need to gather to solve this specific problem and fit that within the context of this wider systemic change. She talked about her experiences and how that led her to try and really think about what people fit into all of this. So yeah, it was an amazing conversation. I'm really excited about it.

Emily Swaddle  01:21

Yeah, I really enjoyed this conversation as well. And particularly for me, when we were talking about, sort of, theories of change, and like, how people can see impact being made, and what that means for how we approach change. You know, like, sometimes I feel like we talk about Circular Economy a lot, and how can we possibly find new things to talk about, but we always do. And like this is just a really interesting example of that. Because I think the insights that Fleur brought from her, you know, decades of experience, they're so important when we're doing this zooming out thing that we're looking at this season. So I really appreciate it that.

Barry O'Kane  01:55

And there was one thing in that conversation that really stood out for me, one among many, actually. But one thing was when she used the phrase, seeing something as a choice and realising that it's a choice. She, at the time, was talking about individual choice. But we also talked about how that applies to businesses. And I think that's an important concept. So I hope that listeners pick that out and also share with us and share with the world what else was good about this conversation.

Emily Swaddle  02:19


Barry O'Kane  02:20

And so without any further ado, let's meet Fleur.

Fleur Ruckley  02:23

I'm Fleur Ruckley, I am Head of Implementation at Toploytics. My background is Circular Economy with Management, Environmental Management broadly and yeah, looking forward to talking to you.

Barry O'Kane  02:33

Awesome. Welcome to HappyPorch Radio. So let's start at the beginning if that's okay. What started you on this journey of looking at Circular Economy, and what's led you to where you are now?

Fleur Ruckley  02:43

It's hard to know with Circular Economy. I suppose what started on the journey was an interest in, I guess, a passion in environmental education. Originally, I was working in South Africa on, sort of, Social Impact Assessment, Environmental Management type stuff. And education work, when I started getting involved in environmental education as it was at the time and the kind of way people interact with the environment, I suppose, and how their environment interacts with them. So I was doing a project on  medicinal plants, basically. So how people, traditional healers interact with medicinal plants, and how that interaction impacts on the environment. So that led me into an interesting space, I came back to the UK and discovered that environmental management and kind of interaction with the environment was a very different place, it was very focused on companies and on people rather than the environment. And it was very focused on a kind of transactional interaction, I suppose for the environment. So I started working for a charity called Global Action Plan, who was looking at behaviour change, and how to actually engage people within organisations of different sorts to actually change their behaviour, to have a positive impact. And understanding a lot of what we did was to understand how that behaviour came about, and how we could sort of start to tweak it and change it and how companies could interact with their stakeholders, whether it's their staff, or their suppliers, or their clients to start to really change those behaviours, and have an impact. So I guess, ultimately, that starting point was back there, when certainly I never knew about Circular Economy, it hadn't ever come into my vocabulary. It probably then progressed and developed further at the University of Edinburgh, where I was for 11 years. And that, to me was the point at which I could kind of step back and look at the concepts and look at how we were doing and organizationally we'd kind of come from, I don't know, 20%, recycling, up to sort of 80% Recycling and no waste to landfill or very little hazardous waste to landfill. And it still wasn't enough, I suppose it was having students and having, kind ofi young people really driving forward and having a really open management system where universities really want to do better. And also, you've got people researching it, and you've got people looking at things from different angles allowed us to kind of step back as an organisation and just say, Okay, what are we doing? What could we do better? What's happening within biological science? What's happening within the business school? And how can we engage differently in order to step back away from that kind of hole? Again, fairly transactional, we produce stuff, and let's do the best we can after we've used it to How can we actually change things? How can we actually do things better? How can we change the processes? So I guess it's yet developed over time, to the point of which a lot of people in Circular Economy are in the recognising that it's not enough to look at things at the end of life. We've got to change things really fundamentally.

Barry O'Kane  05:20

Yes, yes. One of the things I really enjoy by doing this podcast is hearing a little bit about people's stories and how everybody's got very different life journeys, and so on. But the people we speak to have broadly come to the same place you're just describing, and kind of, I think that's cool. And they just enjoy the journey. So there's a couple of things you said there. One is, early stage, you talked about coming back to the UK, and the environmental management stuff being focused on people and companies rather than on sort of the broader environment. Can you talk a little bit more about that? And if that's something you've seen changed since?

Fleur Ruckley  05:51

Yeah, I mean, I suppose what I mean is, when I say people in companies, what I mean is that kind of again, it's that technological application, so fixing things, applying knowledge to kind of fix problems after they've happened, or to mitigate those problems, as opposed to changing the system. The difference with the UK, for me the difference with the UK and South Africa in the late 90s, as it was then in South Africa, it was, you know, straight out of the first democratic elections. And it was really all about people and participation and engagement and how to just shift the conversation, how to have a conversation, how to shift that conversation. But in the UK, it was different. It was very much, kind of, everybody had their places, and you learn to skill and you use that skill, and you applied it in your space. It's hard to explain why for me, I kind of looked around and thought, I'm not quite sure what I've done. Because I've come back expecting, you know, all gung ho expecting to be able to apply this to a space that I understand more, you know, where I've spent a lot of time and actually the system doesn't allow me to, in many respects, and there was literally maybe two organisations that I found. Global Action Plan being one of them, and probably Groundwork, the other one, at the time, who were actually doing anything and trying to actively involve people. So it's more about how people interacted in that space, you know, had some people doing some ecology or doing some bits on biological sciences, but it really wasn't, you know, Let's really try and engage how people are interacting that space and the impact that that has and changing that whole conversation. I couldn't see it. I mean, it probably didn't exist in niches, but I couldn't see it when I came back. It wasn't visible, it wasn't being talked about.

Barry O'Kane  07:24

And that's something that's so important when we talk about what I think the way most people define Circular Economy. Now, it's more about the broader scope of things. It's like you and I have talked about seeing everything through the lens, like seeing and having sort of starting to think about circularity in a very broad sense. And suddenly that becomes the lens through which you see everything. And so maybe that's kind of what you're touching on there, it's not just let's do this mechanical recycling or whatever process, but we need to think about the deeper societal and systemic and economic and everything principles. Is that fair?

Fleur Ruckley  07:55

Definitely. I think that lens is a really interesting space that people quite often will be seeing. I mean, we're all technically seeing the same thing. But we're looking at it differently. We're understanding it differently, we're considering different things. So, and you can apply that within a company or just within your own life. So, what I see when I look at something, it's the same thing that you're seeing, but what I see is different. And I'm seeing it through a lens of, potentially a lens of understanding that it's possible to do something different, I guess, is part of it. And also a desire to do something different, which can feel a little bit evangelist that sometimes, but it's certainly not meant to, but I think we all, you know, if you ask somebody, it's gonna sound a bit, I'll give you an odd example in a minute. But if you ask somebody deep down, they'll always normally, some people won't. But most people will say, yes, they want to do they want something to be better, they want it to be great for their kids, they want it, you know, they want life to improve, they want an organisation to have less impact, but deep down, they're not necessarily seeing that as something that they can have an impact on. And I think that's the difference. I think a lot of people who work in Circular Economy look at things and say, Okay, what's happening? What does that mean? How is that caused? And what can we change? And I think it's that ability to, kind of, just dig right through, that's not suggesting that anybody has all the answers, because I don't think anybody does. it's more, you're willing to ask the questions and recognise that there might be an alternative, you know, an alternative future, something that could change.

Emily Swaddle  09:17

That's a really interesting point that you touch on there, Fleur. We talk a lot about the fact that this isn't just an environmental movement. There's social like results, but also social needs to come into the whole picture. And when you talk about South Africa, in the late 90s, you're talking about a society that's in a deep moment of change, there's already change happening, there's a lot of like, you know, there's just a lot of shifting and uncertainty, I suppose. But within that, as you say, there's that understanding that people can make an impact, that there is room for change, that there's, you know, that systems don't have to stay the same forever. And then you spoke about the UK in the late 90s. And this idea that it's like, Okay, we do the same as we've always done, and then sort of fix it a bit at the end, when we realise the outcome isn't what we wanted it to be. And that really speaks to me about this idea of, like how people understand that change is possible, you know, maybe being in a moment of change is a way that collectively we can understand change is possible. Even like looking, bringing us up to date, we've seen that maybe in recent years now, with social changes have come hand in hand with all kinds of hopeful movement in the environmental space. And, yeah, I just think that's a really interesting example that you gave us.

Fleur Ruckley  10:31

I think you're right. Going back to when I was working at the Global Action Plan, a lot of what we tried to do was to not share the doom and gloom. And it's really interesting, because I would very much try not to guilt trip people, because their lives, you know, if you look at the old maps, it's if you start to guilt trip people and make them feel bad about their choices, then you generally either fairly quickly, or eventually come to a point where they can't function anymore. They can't continue because it's like, well, I'm making these choices for all good reasons, you know, my kids need it, or I need it, or I'm in a hurry, or it's all I have available, or I can't afford or whatever. They're applying logic and value and realistic, reasonable logic to everything. So if you tell them, they're still doing the wrong thing, rather than helping them kind of come up with better solutions, then they probably won't follow through on things, they probably won't do something different because it's too hard. And I think, yeah, that hope piece, that kind of ability to see solutions and see ideas and see people doing things differently and have choices and recognise them as choices and solve their barriers, you know, overcome their barriers. That's what helps people and businesses and governments and policy makers to actually flip the switch and make changes. And from a Circular Economy perspective, there's no quick fix. There's no quick fix for climate change. There's no quick fix for plastic pollution. There's no quick fix. Circular Economy is not a quick fix. It's a series of, kind of, sometimes quite complex steps, but it allows us to step back and say Okay, look, let's look at things in the round. Let's look at the whole lifecycle. Let's look at the whole system. And here's some ideas here. And here's some ideas here. Oh, I think this is it. When you do that, you start to see examples, and you start to see ideas. And that helps to give you that hope.  And it helps to understand kind of, again, you mentioned the social aspect, it is fascinating. Not everything is about how companies do things, but equally, how companies’ choices impact on society is very complex. And we're not always able to see that straight or and if we are able to see it, we can justify it. So it's like yes, but we're doing this “because” type thing, and it's yeah, it's a really fascinating space. I think a lot of the conversation at the minute is around that social piece, what is the impact? And what's, you know, whether it's a benefit or a negative impact on society, what's the end, but also on sustainability more broadly, and bringing that whole social aspect into sustainability? And you know,are circular solutions sustainable? Are they socially beneficial? It's a fascinating space at the minute because they aren't all.

Emily Swaddle  12:58

If we work on that model of We'll just keep doing things as we were and fix it at the end, then it seems obvious that the social impact isn't going to be as beneficial as it could be, you know, that that isn't the right way around doing it. But I liked that you brought, sort of, that old fashioned idea that shaming people or, like, telling people off is the way to make change. And you know, shame is crippling. I mean, that's unfortunately, kind of a modern realisation, but shame is crippling, and this hope, this like opportunity seems much more persuasive.

Fleur Ruckley  13:27

Yeah, it is. It's interesting, though, because as I was telling you that I was thinking, but there's one difference, there's one difference in the whole space that certainly that I was in, and I think a lot of people were in there although and I still fundamentally believe that it's you can't just tell people, they're doing the wrong thing without giving them some form of hope, or some some form of alternative that's realistic and, and valuable to them. The one thing that's different is, I think, at the time, we didn't always talk about why it matters, and didn't always give a really strong understanding of why it's important, but in a non-judgy way. And I think that's the difference with now, I think people are recognising I mean, whether it's an IPCC report or, you know, a kind of something on ESG, or whether it's something on Green Claims.We have to actually explain why it's important. We have to speak up, we have to tell people what's happening at the minute in any particular situation isn't working. Because if we don't do that, it's too easy to say, Oh, that's lovely. That's lovely. You fundamentally believe that get off your soapbox, you know, basically.

Barry O'Kane  14:31

Yeah, that’s brilliant. So just changing gears slightly. Let's try and bring that conversation we just had and be a little bit more concrete or real world if we can, do you have stories or examples that you can share that kind of brings that to life a little bit?

Fleur Ruckley  14:46

Yeah, got a few, have worked with some really interesting companies, and done some very interesting projects. I guess over the years. I think one of my favourite examples is probably a small company in Scotland, in the north of Scotland called Loch Duart. They are a salmon farm. And their aspiration is to be as sustainable as possible. Salmon farming is very controversial. However, they farm salmon and like I say, they try to do it in a sustainable way as possible. One of their aspirations is to become, I guess, the most sustainable salmon producer. But what they were struggling with was ensuring that the data that they were collecting was the right information, and that they were interpreting in a way that was appropriate. So one of the things that we did with them was to help, I guess, collect a massive amount of data from across their operations, looking at how they produce salmon, looking at their outputs, looking at their waste, looking at their inputs, to help them to create some form of sustainability picture. But then, I guess, from a circularity perspective, and from a complexity perspective, mapping it back to a number of different standards to help them to understand how they benchmarked and how they whether or not they could achieve those standards in order to then validate and verify I guess, their performance so that it was understandable by their stakeholders, by their customers, by the consumers, and that it made sense to them. So I think the reason I mentioned that one is because one of the challenges that people have, I guess individuals have as consumers, but also organisations have is how to ensure that what they're saying A) makes sense to consumers B) helps them to understand how they're improving. And C), I mean, going forward from a perspective of kind of legislation and Green Claims and ESG reporting is appropriate and reasonable.

Barry O'Kane  16:23

That's a brilliant example. Because you mentioned complexity there, I think that's one of the themes that's definitely coming through in everything we talked about in the Circular Economy, but especially in this season of the podcast about how kind of, we need to step in or embrace that complexity and start to look at it with our rose tinted glasses or without, you know, narrowing it down into sound bites or anything, but you're talking there about what must have been a relatively, a kind of, complex data gathering information of understanding this quite complex mini ecosystem around a salmon farm. So that's an interesting technical question. I mean, it's an interesting people and understanding, you know, there's so much complexity there that, I mean, I get excited because that's this kind of thing that we should be doing is we shouldn't be going, Well, let's ignore this complex problem, or let's let it just happen and try and patch it at the end, as Emily was saying earlier, but let's try and step into that complexity and really look and see what can we understand without getting stuck in analysis paralysis. But what can we understand and what tools we can use and how, and processes and people we need to speak to. In order to then, exactly, as you just said, use that information, both to be accurate when we speak to the world, but also to enable further change? And that's really interesting.

Fleur Ruckley  17:30

I think that's it. I mean that was a specific example, but just, you know, pulling back a little bit that it's a bit like the complexity of Circular Economy requires a kind of a complex answer within a business, chunked up enough so that people don't, like you say, trip up on or get paralysed with either the scale or because you just don't know what to do with the information, don't know what to make of it, you don't know how to kind of analyse it, and you don't know what story it's telling, I think it's that kind of having a vision and that vision might be narrow, it might be We just want to understand what we're doing. Or it might be, We want to implement Circular Economy, you know, We want to be a circular business, which nobody really understands fully what that means, right? In reality, yes, we can write it down, and there's a butterfly diagram, and we can give a definition of it. But what it truly actually means to be a circular business in a system, that circular, that doesn't exist at the minute, you know. That's a kind of concept that the three of us want to happen. And we are working towards, actively working towards. But you've got to start with that vision, you've got to start with that kind of This is my plan. This is what I want to achieve, to then understand how you're not achieving it. I think that kind of then looking at so say, Okay, what do I know? How do I measure that? What information do I need? How do I know whether I've achieved any aspect of circularity? How do I, you know, am I mapping myself to a standard? Am I mapping myself to myself? Am I counting? And can I even count it, you know, that whole kind of necessary unpicking and, kind of, building it back together. Once you've done that, it then allows you to kind of say, Okay, where are the gaps? You know, what are my contracts currently not giving me? What could they give me? What can we work together to do? What do I need somebody new for? Do I need a new system in place within my organisation? Do I need to ask my, you know, department heads different questions? Do I need to ask my suppliers different questions? I think all of these things, you know, last year, it's an example of that, where they've said, Okay, we grow salmon, we do it as sustainable as possible, we use as few chemicals as possible. We measure this in the things in a specific way, we transport in a specific way. But actually, we don't do sustainability reporting. So I think some of that is better done by consultants, like you guys, by people, then any number of organisations, whether I've worked for them or other organisations do that. And sometimes just that kind of allowing somebody else to step back and say, Okay, look, let's reflect back our information back to you, which is a lot of what I think Circular Economy consultants do. Well, certainly I do. And other people do,just say, Okay, let's collect it all. Let's reflect it back to you, help you visualise it, help you map it, help you see it through kind of independent eyes, and then help you to kind of change, identify where you can change and then put in the plan in place in order to make those changes. So whether that's kind of Route mapping, and certainly done a lot of Route mapping with a number of organisations, people like (unaudiable), you know, whether it's a kind of fundamental Circular Economy NetZero, kind of, Route map to say, Okay, this is our target, it's in our strategy, says, we're going to do Circular Economy, we must do it. But how on earth do we get there from where we are now? You know, how far, how close are we? What actions do we need to take? And how do we kind of allocate those actions and make people responsible for them and understand what we're measuring? You know, what are we expecting out of those different actions? What proportion of change are we expecting? So I think there's a lot that companies need to do. And, and I guess, I'm not currently a consultant. So I can say that now, but without it being a total vested interest, But I think there's a lot of help out there, whether it's paid consultancy, whether it's you know, projects like ReLondon (unaudiable) who, you know, can actually offer SMEs kind of free support. I think that having somebody else look at it for you can be very helpful.

Barry O'Kane  21:00

Yeah, that's a very important point. I mean, I think the question you just asked there… because, I think, so many businesses are facing this question. We want to get there or we've got a strategy, we've got a headline or a goal, whether it's a net zero or a circularity or both. Okay, then we've got this gap in the middle of how we get from here to here. And so we often talk about two things. One is not doing it alone, but also, it doesn't need to happen all in one giant step, in fact it can't. You need to do that sort of small fast steps of trying to work things out as you go without shying away or hiding the scale of a problem, which goes back to what you were saying before about change, not sort of hiding the problem, but also at the same time and not using the shame equivalent for businesses, only that of saying, Well, this needs to change what we can do if there's a sort of double edged sword there. There's also a phrase that stuck with me that you said earlier on in our conversation when you said making a choice, or seeing a choice, realising it's a choice. And I wonder at the time, I think we were talking about sort of individual choice, but I wonder if there's, if what it made me think of is what we're talking about now is the business level, sort of as a business, we can look at some of these things that we do that we've always done, or that society and economy makes us do, because it's the most efficient at the moment. So what are the things that we can change there? And that ties back to getting data and understanding? But my question is, I think is, have you seen that the theme or the pattern where, in order, for businesses to start to make changes and maybe make faster changes? Is the bigger blocker Okay, how do we gather the data? How do we understand what we're seeing? Or is the bigger blocker sort of people and kind of whether that's an understanding of motivation or a lack of momentum for something to change? 

Fleur Ruckley  22:37

I think they're both interrelated. I mean, they're obviously both interrelated. I think it's interesting. One of the things I do is, I'm on the AMS of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, the AMS Circular Economy Network Steering Group. So, you might have a series of practice networks and Circular Economy Network is one of those. And the steering group is a group of maybe 15 of us from lots of different sectors and organisations. And our job is to try and, kind of, look at what's happening out there, look at companies what they're doing, look at policy, look at what's happening currently, what's been consulted on and engage the network, whether it's responding to a policy, or whether it's creating content in the form of webinars, or tools, or whatever. And one of the things we're looking at, we're looking at a series of things this year, but one of the things we're looking at this year is Circular Economy business models, and how people use them and how they engage with them. And we are developing, it's changed forms. Interestingly, it's changed forms quite a lot over the last few months. It started with a kind of small, fairly distinct mini version, I call them the mini versions and Rolls Royce versions at the minute but a mini version, which was a kind of what are the barriers? What are the objections that people are faced with? Basically, so say, within an organisation, they recognise a need to kind of look at circularity, they want to use it, they're getting stopped. And that might be because people are saying What's the financial reason? What's the evidence and they just don't have that at their fingertips. So we started to kind of develop the, kind of, objections and enablers and that grew arms and legs and became a bit too generic, because we needed to narrow it down. And we kind of realise we needed to at least theme it, at the very least, theme it. So we develop these three themes, like fast fashion, and we kind of then started to narrow that down and say, Okay, within this space, what are the key problems? What are the objections that people have? And how can we help individuals within our network to overcome those? What are the kinds of arguments against those objections? And what are the examples? So we started to develop one of the case studies, and it was that whole kind of theme through, so we started developing this list of evidence. You know, the numbers, the hard numbers, whether that's financial savings, financial gain, whether that's percentage change, whether that's opportunity, and hard examples of just loads of kind of case studies and out there, but just trying to contextualise them, which then developed again, and it's become potentially quite a large kind of online digital resource, kind of curated with everything in it starting from, a kind of, Circular Economy definitions across to the evidence that people can tap into exactly what it's going to end up in the short term remains to be seen. But I think the key thing is there is giving people with that kind of information, that evidence, that the numbers, the hard finances, which allow them to make those changes and allow them to, kind of address the inaction that sits at a corporate level, and actually shift that balance. So I think it's all kind of tied together.

Barry O'Kane  25:26

Yes, that sounds amazing, by the way, when and if that goes, when it goes live, definitely let us know. 

Fleur Ruckley  25:31

It will go live. Exactly what it's gonna look like in the first instance I don't know because we shared it with the members and we realised that, I think the network naturally that we're operating at a certain level, but we actually need to tie it back to the beginning to kind of first principles and then take it to where we wanted it to be.

Barry O'Kane  25:48

But it sounds amazing because that is exactly where so many people and so many businesses are. The kind of seeing a direction to go but there are kind of questions or barriers in the way and the beauty in my mind, if when you find the right balance of business, whether it's little business model change or steps on the way to that you ,as alignment of incentives right? The perfect circularity. We should be able to align business incentives with the important environmental considerations with some of the social stuff, if we can just redefine some of the structure around that.

Fleur Ruckley  26:18

Exactly. And I think some of that redefinition comes from we're actually asking better questions and getting better information back. So I think that conversation we touched on, Emily, your question about the social aspects And also things like natural capital, and the kind of real, deep understanding. We know that there's an environmental impact, you know, we can see pollution, we can see waste arise, and we can see it in the wrong place. But what's the actual impact on the environment? And how can we understand that in a way that allows us to make better decisions about the right things? You know, how can we actually understand that natural capital? In fact, I think a lot of these, the more detail, the more nuanced is coming about because people are asking better questions, and not just how much is it going to cost, which is obviously very important. And fundamentally, it kind of comes back down from a business case perspective. And even within the network steering group, what's the financial impact of that? And how can you, you know, businesses are not going to make a change unless they can see what the change is going to cost? And what are they going to get out of it? And I think there's no getting around that. We still have to answer the money question. The difference is that we can answer the money question in a more mature way. And it's not how much am I going to get and that's the end of it. Because that's very linear, isn't it? It's more, it's kind of, you know, how much am I going to spend less? How much at the beginning and at the end? And how can my process shift in order to retain that value for longer? And how can I make decisions which change the durability of my product, which means that the kind of cost is spread over a longer period of time. And I think a lot of these questions are like that becomes a more mature discussion, if we're asking better questions. And we're collecting not just single sources of data, we're collecting more data over a kind of bigger space, I guess.

Emily Swaddle  28:01

Maybe we're coming to the end, I think that's what Barry was about to say. And before we do a lot of the stuff that we've talked about, it can be big, it can be like, intense work that has to be done and like heavy questions, and just a lot of heavy stuff. So my final question for you, Fleur, is in all of this, what brings you hope?

Fleur Ruckley  28:21

What brings me hope is that people are increasingly willing to engage. to kind of. hold that complexity in their hands, and still not panic and drop it all and run. You know, I've changed jobs from consultancy recently to work for Topolytics, because it's creating the ability for people to make those decisions, to hold that complexity and understand it. That kind of helping to actually collect and understand data on waste, which is, yes, still the endpoint, but increasingly, we're pushing it further into the kind of organisation and look at not waste in terms of how materials are used, and how they're produced and as waste or within the process and actually tracing that, you know, into what happens next to it? What's the fate of that material? Where does it go next, and then also helping them to say, Okay, I now have a better picture of one part, I have a better picture of what's happening at the end of use, at the end of production, at the end of life of a product. And how can I then build that back in? How can I use that to kind of make change? So to me, the hope is that, like I say, we're asking better questions, but also, there's a lot of organisations out there who are making changes, who are talking about it, who are sharing that information. And the more choices that people have, the more that they can say, Okay, actually, that's really similar to my organisation, I'm a manufacturing business, I could do that, or, you know, I'm a producer of consumer goods, and look at all these examples. I don't just have to produce it quickly and, and sell it, and just keep doing that as quickly as possible. In order for this to work, I could have a different model,I could be (unaudiable)you know, and have a different model where, I'm retaining the ownership of that I could be a (unadiable)and, you know, my computer is refurbished. And this is an organisation, it's not just the computer that's refurbished that I bought for my son, earlier in the year. This is a work computer, and it's as new, you know, these choices that people have now and they're, they're solid business models, you know, there's information that's actually enabling proper business decisions that people are using. I've got huge leaps of hope in terms of where we're going, it's more mature, it's a stronger place to be, and we can, you know, we're increasingly able to link that if you look at the recent Circularity Gap Report or the recent IPCC report, you know, it's fundamentally saying, if we engage with this space, if we use our materials in a more sensitive and appropriate manner, and we understand the data and we use it properly, we will change the balance. So I think yeah, I've got enormous amounts of hope.

Barry O'Kane  30:49

Awesome. Thank you so much. That's a pretty amazing, good way to finish. I like that so much. So for those who are listening, who want to find out more about the work that you do, to find out more about Topolytics where you are now, where should they go?

Fleur Ruckley  31:02

So they can find me on LinkedIn. If you want to find out more about Topolytics it's www.topolytics T-O-P And you'll find on there some videos about WasteMap, which is the product that I was talking about earlier, and some of the work that we're doing with Innovate UK.

Barry O'Kane  31:19

As usual, we'll put the links to that and everything we've mentioned in this episode on HappyPorch in the show notes, thank you, Fleur, really appreciate it,  that was an amazing conversation. I enjoyed it a lot.

Fleur Ruckley  31:29

Thanks, Barry and Emily. Appreciate it.

Emily Swaddle  31:31

Thank you Fleur.

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  31:50

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  32:13

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]