Expert Insights

Expert Insights gives voice to the Urban Insights initiative. We bring you closer to the authors and influencers who have helped to shape and form the Urban Insight initiative and reports.

Amanda Borneke

Amanda Borneke is a specialist in circular economy at Sweco Sweden. She describes herself as a powerhouse and a personal trainer in sustainability: “You hire me when your project needs a climate diet.”

From your point of view, what does a circular economy mean?
“Three years ago, I realised that the demolition process in the construction industry is often referred to as the end of life, death. I decided to find out what circular behaviour I could enable by just renaming the process ‘the beginning of life’. What would happen if there were no endings, only beginnings?”

‘A circular system way of thinking, what does it mean?
“Even if I put my waste over there, ‘over there’ is ‘over here’ for someone else. The waste does not disappear just because you don’t see it. To me, a circular system way of thinking is about taking responsibility and about social justice, but it’s also the most effective way to achieve Sweden’s promise of climate neutrality. One of the most effective tools I use is to reuse demolition material.”

“What would happen if there were no endings, only beginnings?”

Read the trend report: Circular construction – an opportunity we can’t waste.

What could Sweco contribute to the circular economy?
“Sweco employees act as resource detectives in a unique way. Sweco could come up with flows of resources for a neighborhood, or for an entire city, as well as identify end-of-life-processes and loop them to a beginning-of-life process instead.”

What are the main obstacles to becoming a circular society?
“The perception that a circular economy is a drain on the bottom line, the laws and regulations that hinder the growth of circular supply chains, and the lack of consumer education.”

“But the truth is that circular economy drives innovation, jobs and opportunities that are not even on the radar yet.”

How would you increase innovation and speed up the pace of the circular transformation?
“Consumer education is key. People who climb one rung of the consciousness ladder never descend again. This could lead to the implementation of a global circular economy within one generation.”

Read more about the theme Towards Circularity!