Circular Economy Workshop Engages Israeli Industrial Leaders with Sustainability

By Victor Weis, CEO of the Heschel Center

Mankind has improved its ability to produce goods. The problem is, that the way we make our products flows in one direction: we take a natural resource and turn it into a product, which after a short while ends its life as waste, polluting the ground, the air and our water.

Nature also produces products. I, for instance, love oranges. Think about it: we receive a delicious product in packaging that could be edible that protects the product. After we consume the orange, the packaging returns to the land, potentially nourishing the tree from which it came, and voila(!), we have a new orange. There is no waste and no pollution involved in the process. Nature makes products in a circular model, and we, humans, make products in a linear model.

I learned this basic idea from the Heschel Center a dozen years ago. During the last decade, industries based on the Circular Economy (CE) model have been growing rapidly, because it is not only sustainable and environmentally friendly, but because it allows for an efficient usage of natural resources and saves money.

In Israel, CE is a nice idea promoted by a handful on people, and very few companies have adopted the model.

Fortunately, this is about to change.

The Heschel Center has studied the National Dutch Circular Economy Plan, and we have begun working with the Israeli Ministry of Economy on a building a national plan for Israel to adopt the Circular Economy model. Joining us in partnership is the Manufacturer’s Association, the Israeli Council for Green Building, KPMG Israel and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

In its first stage, the plan focuses on three sectors: construction, chemistry and pharmaceuticals and packaging. Thanks to a partnership with the Dutch Embassy, we brought Mr. Arnoud Walrecht, an expert in circular economy from KPMG Holland to Israel to dialogue at a workshop with representatives from these three sectors. During the workshop, participants learned and discussed the opportunities the model offers with Mr. Walrecht and their peers.

An important part of the Dutch expert’s short visit in Israel also included an evening reception at the Dutch Ambassador’s residence with senior directors from the Israeli Industry, and a learning session with the Ministry of Economy the next day.

Evening The three gatherings around Mr. Walrecht’s visit successfully engaged stakeholders in the Israeli industry who are excited to collaborate with us and promote circular economy model within their industries.

We are deeply grateful to our partners: the Dutch Embassy, KPMG Israel, the Manufacturer’s Association, the Israeli Green Building Council, and the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.