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Ivonne Bojoh

Ivonne Bojoh is the COO & Director Digital at Circle Economy Foundation whose mission is to double global circularity to roughly 17% by 2032 to avoid climate breakdown. After almost three decades of start-up life, she has chosen to join Circle Economy to contribute to this mission by leveraging technology and developing an online platform for nations, cities, and businesses to support their journey towards a circular economy.

As Director Digital, she had the privilege to lead the efforts to define, design and develop digital products. The amazingly talented and driven people in the Data, Design, and Development teams launched the online platform which enables NGOs, national/local governments and businesses to map their circularity journey with knowledge, data-driven insights and tools.

Ivonne’s BHAG is to transform 10000 companies, 1000 cities and 100 nations. She is passionate about making an impact, leaving behind a positive footprint, and contributing her knowledge and experience to leverage technology to scale impact.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out about:


  • Ivonne’s personal journey and how she transitioned from the startup world to working towards a Circular Economy.
  • The complexity of the Circular Economy and the importance of data and measurement in understanding its impact. 
  • Emphasising the role of technology as an enabler for the Circular Economy.
  • How Circle Economy explains the Circularity Gap Report and the importance of breaking down the global number into national and local levels, in order to make the concept of circularity more tangible and actionable.
  • Circle Economy’s platform “Ganbatte” that aims to empower individuals and organisations on their circular journey by providing them with knowledge and tools.
  • How Circle Economy also developed the Circularity Academy that offers a gamified learning experience for cohorts of people to learn about the circular economy together. 
  • How the key levers for the transition to a circular economy include using materials less, extending their use, making them cleaner, and cycling them back into the economy through recycling and repurposing.
  • And much more!


S7E11 Audiogram image


Barry O'Kane  00:10

Hello and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio Season Seven. In this episode we have the incredible honour of speaking to Ivonne Bojoh. Ivonne is the COO and Digital Director of the Circle Economy foundation in Amsterdam. And their mission is to double global circularity to roughly 17% by 2032, to avoid climate breakdown. And after more than two decades of startup life, Ivonne has chosen to join Circle  Economy and contribute to this mission by leveraging technology and developing online platforms for nations, cities and businesses to support their journey towards a Circular Economy. Emily, I, once again, really enjoyed this conversation, Ivonne's story of how she changed career from the startup world to working on this vital work I thought was pretty inspiring. 

Emily Swaddle  01:01

Yeah, she talked about once you sort of see something, you can't unsee it, but I actually think lots of people choose not to see it or choose to ignore it if they have seen it. And it's easier to continue down the path that you're on. But yeah, Ivonne,  didn't do that. And that is really inspiring. And especially, you know, given how much of an advocate she is for Circular Economy now, you know, it feels like the transition is complete. She's on our side. Yeah, really inspiring. And also so interesting to hear about all the things that she's now part of, all the things that the Circle Economy Foundation are supporting and striving for. Yeah, really interesting stuff.

Barry O'Kane  01:45

Yeah, the Circle Economy Foundation is one of those organisations who are really driving circularity forward. Their Circular Economy Gap Report is the biggest global sort of summary or analysis or deep dive into circularity globally. And the way she talked about building on that, and the other work that Circular Economy Foundation are doing or have done over the last dozen years, and how she's bringing her technical skills and her past experiences, to quit working out the best ways to really scale out that knowledge using digital technology and the platform's in a sensible, aligned, context sensitive way, which is something that I'm really passionate about. I just love the fact that we're able to share her story, and also a little taster into the work that the foundation does.

Emily Swaddle  02:35

Yeah, I mean, that simple fact of like taking the skills that you already have, and using them in this sort of like, impactful environment again, and made it sounds simple, but it's not. And it's really, I mean, you said, as we were talking to Ivonne, you know, let's get a poster with that written on, because like that is everything that we need in this moment.

Barry O'Kane  02:58

100 percent. So without any further ado, let's meet Ivonne.

Ivonne Bojoh  03:02

Hi, my name is Ivonne Bojoh. I work as a COO and Director of Digital at Circle Economy, which is a foundation based in the Netherlands. Now, COO and Director Digital is a new combination at the foundation, because we believe that technology can enable us to increase our impact. So really happy to come in here and share more about that and how I ended up here.

Barry O'Kane  03:28

Awesome. Thank you so much, and welcome to HappyPorch Radio.

Ivonne Bojoh  03:30

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Barry O'Kane  03:33

So, one of the things that we've touched on or that you've already started to share is the idea that Circle Economy, the foundation covers a huge, multifaceted, beautifully meaty problem. And I want to try and explore that a little bit in this conversation. But to start us off, why don't you tell us a little bit about why you do this work. And what led you to this point in your career?

Ivonne Bojoh  03:56

That's a personal journey, Barry. So what happened was that I'm half Dutch, half Indonesian, I was born in the Netherlands. And then as a family, we moved to Indonesia in the 80s. And living there, seeing how nature is everywhere. Really, as a child, I really appreciated nature a lot. Now, fast forward to being an adult. I realised that there were some moments in my childhood that I asked myself questions about the environment. And an example was that I saw trash being burned, and that would create black smoke, and I wondered how healthy that was. But as a child, I didn't think anything of it. But that's just one of the memories that I had. And another memory was that I saw baby diapers for the first time, realising what they were and I asked my mother, like if every baby has multiple diapers a day, like what happens to all these diapers? And there's just little questions about trash that were always lingering in my mind, but never did anything with it. So I went on like everyone else did. Go to school, get your first job, and I've been in startup life all my life. And I've always built and scaled up technology companies. And the last startup that I found it was in Singapore. And I was living there with my husband for quite some years. And the difference that I saw in Southeast Asia versus the Southeast Asia that I knew as a child really was very visible, looking at trash in the ocean along every single road, the very busy major cities around Southeast Asia. And at some points, I thought, all this trash and all this growing middle class is something I'm contributing to with my last startup, which was to compare financial services. And I thought with 25 years of knowledge of scaleups and startups, shouldn't I be thinking of something, technology based that could actually help eliminate or resolve some of these global environmental, societal issues. And that happened, particularly when we were at a beach and we saw waves come in, and it was early morning sun, and you could actually see trash through those waves. And that was like a turning point in my life that I thought, we can't continue like this as humanity. We've got to do something about this before we suffocate ourselves. So when I went back to the Netherlands, which was early 2020, COVID hit just six weeks after, and I had so much time on my hands to meet people. And I spoke to activists and ecologists and economists and I spoke to some of the big consultancies and entrepreneurs trying to understand what was going on around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, like who was doing what, what are the problems that are out there? And how could technology leverage all of its smarts and that community to really drive impact? And one of the people that I met in 2020 is Martijn Lopes Cardozo, who is the current CEO at Circle Economy Foundation. And he told me about Circular Economy. And I felt like a noob, Barry, I had no idea what it was. And when he explained the concept to me, I thought this is so logical, it's just do with less, so do more with less material, which is not just about recycling, but it's about designing out waste from the start, and really trying to leverage all the materials that we've already harvested from Earth and going about it differently. And after that conversation, I looked into Circular Economy more, and I understood what it meant for the food and agri sector, what it meant for renewable energy, what it meant for all of the material that I had around me as a consumer, my desk, my clothing, my car, and everything. And a couple of months later, he reached out and he said, Well, as a foundation, we've always done research and development but we're really looking to scale our impact. Could you develop a digital strategy on how we could do that. And that's when you know, all the stars were aligned, I thought, well, this is my chance to take everything that I've learned in the last, you know, two and a half, three decades, and really put it to good use. And that was when I developed the digital strategy, which is to develop a distribution platform, if you will, based on the 12 years of research and development that Circle Economy has done and ensure that we reach more people, because it's just 70 people out of Amsterdam. It's a small team. But it's a smart team. And a lot of their findings and data points and solutions that they've developed and worked with different countries and cities and businesses are relevant for so many people out there, but it wasn't reaching a lot of people. So maybe in time, they could do more. But I'm trying to fast track that using digital solutions, create a gamified e-platform, create tracking and progress tools. So that's really how I ended up where I am today. And I've been with the foundation now for a little over two years. I'm not just focused on digital products, but also now the COO of the foundation, to really embed the technology, the product development processes and mindsets to the rest of the team as well. And trying to seek out partnerships with other organisations that have data that is relevant for us or tools that are relevant for the Circular Economy. So huge intro very right there. But this is how I came to where I am today.

Emily Swaddle  9:31

Thank you for sharing that story, Ivonne. I love to hear people's, like, origin stories, especially in this space. You know, it's like, often it comes from a really personal place or a specific incident or something emotive. What I really admire in particular about your story is you acknowledge that what you were doing was sort of contributing to this thing that you were seeing out in the natural world that you knew was destructive. And at that sort of of later stage in your career, you decided to make a switch, you decided to learn and you decided to, sort of, come into this new realm. As you said, you felt like a newbie, and wondering how did that feel, you know, to, I suppose, acknowledge that some of the work you've done had, you know, not been helping that solution? And then also to find yourself in that new space, was it intimidating? That seems like a really challenging thing to do? From my perspective?

Ivonne Bojoh  10:36

Can I say all of the above? That's I mean, the transformation phase that you go through, and when you realise that what you've done does not contribute to a positive outlook on the future. It's something that you can't unsee. So once you know that what's needed is different, what you've done is not the best thing. You can't go back and say, Well, I'm just going to ignore that lesson, I'm just going to ignore that insight and that knowledge and seeing the other side of this. So it really felt like going through a revolving door, where there's no way back, if you know what I mean. Like you go through this tunnel, and you're like, Okay, I'm out at the other end. But there's so much to learn. And I think, maybe to my advantage, I'm still doing what I've always done, which is building, scaling, using technology, but I'm just doing it for a different purpose. So in that sense, I still feel very comfortable in what I'm doing when it comes to applying my skills, the responsibilities that I have, that's all very familiar, it's just in a different space for something else. And if I look at my last company that I co founded, we were building a platform to distribute knowledge about financial products. Now, just take like a 30,000 foot, look at that, it's not very different. What I'm trying to do here, I'm trying to, again, build a platform to enable people to make decisions and enable them with knowledge and tools to make those decisions. So the mechanics are the same, the content is different, the end user might be different. But what's definitely different is the intended outcome, where it's not about people being able to get insurance or get a credit card or get a private loan, to continue consuming, like we've always done, but really changing policy, changing complete industries. And I'm very proud of the people at Circular Economy and how much knowledge they have, how smart they are in really developing all these insights and frameworks. And I did feel very, well not just new to the material, but just felt very out of place in that realm. Like you said, for me, Emily, it was more like I'm coming into this completely new world, I have no knowledge of these frameworks. But instead of deep diving into something that I didn't know, I wanted to contribute with that that I did know, and try to bridge that. And I think that's something that I would love to see the tech community do at large take what you know, don't think that it's completely different on the other side, it's the same. It's just you leveraging your smarts and all of your skills towards something that can truly make impact. And I'm just hoping that more and more people in the tech community would leverage their knowledge and their skills to contribute to this because being at the next great startup and going for that unicorn or decacorn is the new thing. I understand that that's appealing. And I understand that it's great to have a huge salary. I understand. And I appreciate all that. But imagine doing that in 10 or 15 years time and in the meantime, contributing to a future that's sustainable. So just pause that maybe more material ambition, contribute to you know, the larger issue at hand, and then go back to whatever you want to do. And I'm just saying that because once they do it, they probably won't go back anyway. But I'm just hoping that more people will see that they can do so much good with their skills.

Barry O'Kane  14:13

I want to take what you just said and put it on a poster somewhere that's 100%, could not agree more with as a sort of call to action. I think there's so much there that I wanted to really emphasise because for me, it's one of the goals one of the purposes of this podcast and the conversations we're having is to make or to have those conversations and to put a spotlight on that call to action that you've just described there. One is the tech sector and the creative and digital sector has this incredible power and this privileged it's this hugely skilled, very in demand skill set and all those things. And I think as with that comes a responsibility to see through the lens that you've just described. And thank you for sharing, being open with your own journey through that. Because I think that really demonstrates, not just the challenge or the difficulty with it but the excitement and the opportunity in it as well, as you described, you have this skill set this wealth of experience. And now you're taking it to this place and using it for this work, which must feel, much more fulfilling.

Ivonne Bojoh  15:18

Well, for sure, and I think that's, it's about finding your purpose. And I mean, yes, I saw trash in the incoming ways. And that was a wake up call. But coming to this point wasn't just that. So there was this little book that I bought called 10 year plan. It's like a DIY workshop thing. And I love workshopping and post its and doing this with my husband. So we went out for a weekend, and we took the book and looked at the last 10 years of our life, you know, what we loved what gave us energy and all those more insightful questions. But then the second part of the DIY is really to look at your next 10 years. And for me, it was really apparent that I needed to do something that was beyond my own happiness, like I wanted to contribute to something bigger and more impactful, like a bigger footprint. And that's very personal. Not everyone wants to do that. Not everyone has the ability to do that. And you can imagine if you have two or three or four children, that your primary focus is to sustain for them and make sure that you earn a living for them, and put them through school and college and help them in their lives. So I think, my husband and I don't have children, which was also a conscious choice. But that just allows you to make different choices. And the ability to make those choices, I think is a richness, right that to have the choice is already a sense of freedom that not everyone has in the world. And I think we should embrace that. So if you do have that opportunity, then I think you owe it to yourself and to everyone else who doesn't, to really make choices for the better. And to touch on the creative and the digital space., Barry, it's yes, we all have a huge responsibility to contribute. And I see ads every single day, whether it's on social media, on television, and that's the creative industry as well. And I often think like can they not contribute 1% of their people or their revenue or their profits towards educating people about sustainability or sustainable solutions about circularity? If we all give 1% You know, there's a 1% founders pledge. But there's also something that all these media companies and all these advertising agencies and creative agencies can do as well, because they're the ones that know exactly how to message something for consumers to buy something, right. They know the power of persuasion, they know how to persuade someone to buy something or to do something. Well, why not use that power, to then educate people and to persuade people to contribute to a more sustainable future? I think that's the least they can do.

Barry O'Kane  18:07

Yeah. Yes. with bells on.

Ivonne Bojoh  18:08

Another poster, yay.

Barry O'Kane  18:15

So just shifting gears slightly to go back to then where you left off the story, you know, doing ,playing these, this role with Circle  Economy Foundation. And you talked about the digital products and the other work you're doing. Have you got some examples or stories that can kind of bring that to life for us? You started talking about the research and the depth and wealth of knowledge in the organisation, and then how to spread that and scale that out. So one story is an example of bring that real, but also, I guess, how you're doing that and how you're approaching that, you know, the bigness of the challenge.

Ivonne Bojoh  18:50

So Circle Economy has an annual report called Circularity Gap Report, and Circularity Gap Report measures the global economy and defines how circular it is. So based on research, data analysis, it then generates a report and brings out this big number. And it probably won't surprise you that the number is not where it should be. So the report that we brought out two years ago, was that the global economy's 8.6% circular, which means that there is 91% of material that we harvest, and we use it and we discard it in some shape or form, but we don't reuse it. And that's not just recycling, it can be any form of Circular Economy. So which is reduce, extend its use, of course recycling as the last one, but also to repurpose materials. So there's all these different R's in the R framework of Circular Economy that enables you to use materials that have been harvested and repurpose it. Now, the Circularity Gap Report is something that we present in the week of Davos World Economic Forum ,in Davos, in January.And we redid the calculations last year and presented it in January of this year. And we've gone down. So from 8.6, we've now gone down to 7.2%. Now, can you compare these reports of like for like, no, because the methodologies change, there's more data today than there was two years ago. So of course, it's also a moving target that we're trying to measure. But the trend is still downwards, it's not upwards. So whatever we're doing, we're still consuming more material, which is over 100 billion tonnes a year now. So we're consuming more and more virgin material, because of course, the global population is still growing. And we haven't changed our habits, we haven't changed our manufacturing, we haven't changed enough to be faster at Circular Economy versus the growing need of our population. And the report is more than just a number. So what we want to do with circularity Gap Report is put a number to the global economy, at the same time also give solutions, like the world is on fire, your house is on fire, like we have all been talking about that for quite some time, I think that message has landed. And we're not the Doom scenario kind of foundation, we want to be very realistic, but also be giving solutions because that's exactly what the Circular Economy is, it's a solution. It's a means to an end. If you look at all of the Sustainable Development Goals, most of them can be positively impacted with circular solutions, whether it's for society, whether it's for biodiversity, whether it's for consumption, the built environment, all of the Circular Economy solutions contribute to these topics. So with the circularity Gap Report, we give this number ,we give the solutions. And every time we develop the report, we tried to take one angle, and this time it was about how can we reduce using materials, virgin materials and still thrive as a society. And we looked at the major systems, and that's mobility, its food and agri its consumables. And these primary systems are the ones that we feel would make the biggest impact if we would actually focus and implement surface solutions there. Now, that's global. And what I thought when I first heard about it, this is great. So we all have a number, but who really feels responsible for a global number, no one's gonna say, Okay, I own that, take the RACI model, I'm accountable for that number, I'm gonna get to work. So you have to break it down. So this is more of a awareness piece, a communication piece, something to show us like, almost like a North Star like guys, this is where we're at, this is where we're heading. But it becomes more relevant if you break it down to a national level. So that's one of the offerings of the foundation is to do a circularity Gap Report for a nation. Now, that's not something that in general is commissioned by governments but more Circular Economy NGOs or consultancies in that space that want that report, because then they can actually drive that change, and talk to policymakers and industry leaders in that country. So up to now we've done over 15, circularity gap reports for nations. And we've actually also done some for provinces, and we're currently doing one for all of Latin America. And now we're also taking that down to the city level. So can we do a Circularity Gap Report for cities and enable cities. So we're trying to do that on a global level, national level, city level, and also, hopefully, soon, I can't say for sure yet, but hopefully, we'll know within the next four weeks, we'll do the first sectoral one on a global level. So we take one sector, and then we do a circularity analysis of that sector, identify the areas that can change and the impact that it would have. So that's making it very tangible. And what we've seen, for example, in Prague when we did a circularity scan of the city, is that they actually implemented policies to enable the circular solutions to be implemented, and to work with industry leaders. So that's how tangible we can make it now, putting that into the digital space. So you can imagine that a Circularity Gap Report for the global economy is not done overnight, it takes 9 to 12 months to do the research, come up with the report and do the whole comms campaign around it. Now, if we want to do that faster, because we believe that we need to double global circularity by 2032  to really hit certain CO2 emission reduction targets, material use reduction targets, we need to double global circularity and at the pace that we are going as Circular Economy foundation itself and delivering these insights and helping these different stakeholders. It's not fast enough, which is our worst nightmare as low, right? We're trying to do the right thing. But we also know that we can churn out faster than we're currently doing. So that's why we sit around how do we then use technology to speed up this process? Can we do the data analysis quicker? Can we turn up the reports quicker, and we can, but we have to build that infrastructure. And for that, we need funding. And that's, of course, we're trusted foundations, or even funding from the European development board, or the World Bank, the European investment banks, all these different funding opportunities help us do that. And one of the initiatives that we're currently working on is to really build a digital offering around the Circularity Gap Report, where we could deliver multiple countries, multiple cities at once with a digital offering to give them the similar insights to give them the number, the solutions, the case studies of similar cities, similar nations, similar regions. And what circularity solutions they've implemented works and what doesn't work for them to give you, give them inspiration of what others have done. Now, that digital product is something that we're working on. Still, we haven't launched it. But we have already launched something similar last year. And what we've done is we build a open access platform that currently contains over 6000 cities data with baseline insights on how circular they are, what jobs they have, how many circular jobs they have, what material usage they currently have, like what they're extracting for their needs, case studies that are relevant to them. And we built that platform. And we thought of the name, right as any product development, you also want to make sure that it's inspiring, and it's a name that people would remember. And we thought, Well, should we call it Circle Economy Open Access Information Platform, we thought, well, maybe that doesn't really resonate. That's like a mouthful. So we went on a more like a branding adventure. And we came out with this amazing Japanese word called "Ganbatte." And "Ganbatte" is a Japanese word, which means so much more than just a word, but it's a mindset. And competition means a word of encouragement. So when you are nervous about asking your fiancee or your girlfriend to marry you, or whether you have this big as exam or you have this challenge at work, you could be cheered on by people around you with the word "Ganbatte", which means you can do this, make this happen, any challenge you can overcome. And we thought that was really befitting because we can provide you insights, we can provide you with knowledge, data points and tools, and then we cheer you on because you've got to make this happen. Whether you are a policy maker, whether you are a consultancy, a fellow NGO, a business leader, an industry leader, we can help you, we can enable you but you've got to make this happen. So, which is the URL of the platform that we launched last year, gives the cvcs insights. So that's our first release, it's beta. It's not perfect, but it is the first movement that we have made towards digitising our knowledge and giving that to everyone out there who wants to embark on their circular journey. Now, the Circularity Gap Report will be an add on onto that. So we're really trying to build this out. I think what we learned during all of these user research sessions that we had to come towards, you know, this offering is that having that data points, how circular is my city, how circular is my business- is great to have. But that's also when frustration kicks in, which Emily, coming back to your point like how did I feel when I learned that I wasn't doing the right thing? You want to do something about it and not knowing is then your biggest frustration? Like what do I do next? Alright, so we're not very circular. We've got to change things. I know, see, what is not right. Now how do I then change policy or an implement changes to my business model or get different funding, you need to understand and that's where knowledge is the next big thing. So as Circular Economy is quite complicated and complex, you go to any college or any university, it's not a subject. It's not taught in school. It's not something that you can just say, right? The next generation just, you know, follow these courses and you'll be ready, you know, to go on to the workforce in a couple of years, like 48 years or 16 years from now. What LinkedIn published, I think it was last year or the year before was that green jobs is the fastest growing category on LinkedIn and Green job is not just you being very green in your job, but it could also be the company that you work for. You're the office manager, but you're working for a sustainable company, that's also a green job. So the green job category is the fastest growing category yet. It's not in the anywhere fast enough, or not anywhere big enough in its growth trajectory, to supply the jobs that we would actually need to transition to a sustainable state. And they in their reports, they also mentioned that we need to like rescale 100 million people, primarily in OECD, to have that knowledge, because you need knowledge to make choices, which job you want to take, or what you can do in that job to make circular choices, sustainable choices. So what we decided a circle economy is great that we have this data analysis and this data point and the solutions. Now let's break that down into bite size, knowledge pieces for people to start learning and building capacity. And that's where we have now developed Circularity Academy, which is not a course that you would take as an individual, but rather, for cohorts of people to embark on this journey together, and do go through capacity building, and a learning experience as a group with a gamified eat platform. So we made it fun, we made it light, and it's still the relevant content, it's still the knowledge that you need to have to make decisions. But it's done in a very light fashion. And the reason why we chose that is because we want it to be something that appeals to everyone, whether you're in the global north, or the global South, whether you are a Mom and Pop shop or an MNC, it needs to appeal to people, rather than the businesses, right? It's about touching people's hearts, making them green and making them understand what their options are. And generally, that doesn't just translate to their profession, but to them as a consumer as well. Where do you make your money? Where do you spend your money? And what can you do about it? So circularity Academy is something that we're currently rolling out because it can be white labelled to anything, you want to make sure that people resonate with it. And it's now being rolled out by this large programme across four countries to enable 550 SMEs in different industries, by giving them knowledge. And that's what we see as the next big thing. And that technology can help people understand their options, understand what they could do. And that's what we're really excited about right now. Because we can really see that this is gaining traction, that people learn from this. And the reason why we want them to do it in a group is because it's something you start talking about- Oh my gosh, did you know that this mineral is going to run out in the next eight years? I had no idea but it's in my phone. So what does that mean? Well, maybe I shouldn't buy a new smartphone every two years, maybe I can just repair it or just keep it for the next four years. So people have these conversations, and talk about things that they learned through this e-learning experience. And that's exactly what we need, we need to start talking about it, we need to start talking about it at dinner, at lunch with our friends. It needs to be something that people care about. And people know that they can do something about it too. And I think once we care, and once we know we have this knowledge will act. And I think that's, hopefully, we as humanity are going to end up in the next one or two years that we care enough, we know enough to act. That's a really long story.

Emily Swaddle  33:48

But thank you for all of that. I was just thinking, you know, one of the aims of this season is to sort of zoom out and get a big picture, look at sort of how we're doing with this whole Circular Economy thing, because Barry and I have talked about it a lot. And it's nice to get the opportunity to speak to people who have a sort of big picture view and what you were saying about the Circularity Gap Report, and all the measurement that goes into that, that feels like exactly that, that sort of zooming out and looking at the big picture. And wondering if you could briefly touch on, you know, a lot of the time on this podcast, we talk about how Circular Economy is not a simple thing, as you mentioned, you know, it's a system it's a systems change, that transition is not a simple, okay, instead of doing this, we now do this. There's all kinds of intricacies and nuances within that. So I'm wondering if you could just briefly touch on sort of what it actually looks like to measure that. The challenges in measuring that. And, yeah, if there are any sort of trends, I suppose that are bringing you hope from those measurements.

Ivonne Bojoh  34:58

The measurement that we do on a global scale has not given us hope. What's given us hope I think it's more that we see, when we do social listening, that Circular Economy solutions are talked about more and more that there's this greater understanding, I think that's one thing that does give us hope. Because we know that once people understand circular solutions, that implementation follows, right?  As long as people don't know about it, don't talk about it don't acknowledge their value, it's just not going to happen. And if we look at the number of Circular Economy, roadmaps that have now been developed by cities and nations, that to us is very hopeful. So that is something that we do measure, like how many countries have actually started with their roadmap on this. And to touch on your point, the fact that it's complicated, we try to break it down as much as possible to make it practical. And what we also did in our latest Circularity Gap Report, is to really identify the key levers to transition towards a Circular Economy, which are narrower, which is just used less, and to slow down the use. So use longer, whatever you use, just use it longer, whether it's your coat, whether it's your classes, your car, like just anything yet you have anything material to use, it longer, regenerate, so make clean. So when we do discard, or hazardous and toxic materials to make sure that we substitute them with biomass resources to make it cleaner. And the last thing, of course, is cycle which is used again. And it's not just about recycling, but also repurposing. And one of the latest posts that Martin did our CEO was about wind turbines. And that's been a discussion for a while, right? Like they're not recyclable. What do you do with these huge new components of these wind turbines, or windmills? And one of the companies that he featured is using the blades as like bicycle, like the shelters, and just things like that, like, how can we use something that may be someone else's waste as input for our processes, and you see that more and more. And I was actually looking at a documentary last night where ships in the Netherlands are now transitioning towards using hydrogen. And that one of the boats that they're actually launching soon as a pilot is using the hydrogen, which is not widely available yet. But it's being built next to a plant where hydrogen is actually their waste. So just being smart about also the spatial use, like what do you put next to what what plants do you put next, which factory all of that comes into account. And that is complicated. But I think if we all understand that methodology, I mean, we're really smart grid, right? As humans. Look at everything that we've invented, we put people on the moon, we're really smart, right? We have all this creativity, we have invented so many things across you know, our humanity, we can do this, we can put our smarts to use and solve this problem, as long as we all rally behind it. And I think that's where we need to be thinking cross borders, forget about, you know, this is my country, this is your country as much as possible. I'm not a politician. So I, you know, I'm sure I'm oversimplifying grossly, but looking at global value chains, because you cannot just focus on your Scope 1 nor just Scope 1 and 2, you need to look at Scope 3, make sure that this whole transition leaves no one behind, we cannot produce our clothing in low wage countries for decades. And now say, oh, we need to be sustainable. So we're just going to do it in our own country, or neighbouring country. And forget about the 1000s of people that have worked in your factories for decades. So we have to think about global value chains and really work together in defining the policies to enable this and think of where the funding goes, right. This is where international financial institutions also have a role. Where are they going to put their money? What are they going to fund? Where are they going to invest? And the IFI roadmap that we presented at COP 27 last year, gives those insights. I'm not saying it's simple or easy. But it's a challenge. And we've had so many, already that we've overcome, we can put our hands together and overcome this challenge to I'm hopeful, because there's a lot of conversation. There's a lot of movements. Now I'm just getting a little impatient, like we need to act and we need to act faster, and we need to be decisive and stop,like Greta says stop bla bla bla bla just put your money where your mouth is, and let's make this happen.

Emily Swaddle  39:37

I relate to that impatience, relatable feeling.

Barry O'Kane  39:41

Thank you also for sharing that about the hope part. I think that is where a lot of the hope needs to come from, if that's the fuel that we need, and that, as you said, the skills and the talent and the genius is out there. And acknowledging the complexity which we've touched on in this conversation. And the multifaceted part of it, is how we get through and find ways to improve and solve some of the these big challenges rather than trying to simplify it or treated like a risk greenwashing or that kind of thing. So thank you for sharing that angle too. I'm just looking at the clock. And unfortunately, we're sort of running out of time. So there's one thing if you don't mind, I wanted to sort of tie back to something you said earlier. And then finally, to share some of the links, so that those listeners can go and find out more about the work that you and Circle Economy Foundation are doing. The tie back, I thought was really fascinating that I wanted to emphasise was, you described this personal journey and when you were younger, looking at black smoke, and the nappy and kind of okay asking the questions, and trying to understand like the impact of our actions and the world around us. And then tying when you talked about the digital products and the work that Circular Economy is doing, there's a similarity there in that. We're asking the questions, here's the data to try and understand these things here. What can we measure? How do we understand that? And then, crucially, how do we turn that into the actions and actual enabling people to do things, we talked about technology's enabler for the Circular Economy. So those examples of the multiple different products you mentioned, and we'll link to all of those and HappyPorch Radio for those listening. But just to summarise two things that I think everybody should go and check out Circle Economy and that's G-A-N-B-A-T-T-E which is a really brilliant example of the work that you're working on. So yes, thank you again, so much for joining us and for sharing all of that. And just finally, for those who are listening, who want to find out more about the work that you do, where should they go,

Ivonne Bojoh  41:31

If you want to know more about what we do, please visit So that's G-A-N-B-A-T-T-E dot world. We are just launching circular starter kits and circular starter kit is for those who are wanting to embark on this journey. So it's very light touch and it is circularity Academy basic track to try and learn to get people to understand more about circularity, but it also has circularity assessment tool, which is a questionnaire type product that helps you assess the circularity of your organisation or the product that you're developing or selling to gather insight as to what you could do to become more circular about that product or that service. And lastly, it also has this beautiful documentary called "Going Circular". And "Going Circular" is something that is produced by the same team that did "My Octopus Teacher" on Netflix. And that team developed this documentary, which is a feature film, it's 76 minutes. It's a full blown film, featuring different narrators, especially James Lovelock, who we lost, of course last year, but has a beautiful role in this talking about biomimicry, and how we can look at nature to design out waste and learn from nature, which has been around for billions of years and is a lot smarter than we are. And that film is a conversation starter. So Circular Economy foundation holds the rights for private screenings. And we're happy to share this with anyone within the circular starter kit. Because as a team, as an organisation, you can watch this film together, or allow your employees to watch this with their family. For example, if you want to do that, to start thinking about circularity and looking at our world differently, and we know from experience in the different screenings that we've done, when people see this film, they will come out of the cinema or that session if you do it online, with a completely different outlook.

Barry O'Kane  43:30

Outstanding. Thank you so much. We will definitely share those links again on in the Show Notes. Thank you Ivonne, it's a real pleasure that you joined us. Thank you so much.

Ivonne Bojoh  43:39

Thank you for having me. Thanks, Emily. Thanks Barry. Good luck with your podcast.

Emily Swaddle  43:43

Thank you Ivonne. 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  44:06

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  44:31

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]