Rheaply acquires Materials Marketplace to scale reuse across North America

6. Lauren Phipps on the future of circularity and reuse

Circular Economy VP & Senior Analyst at GreenBiz

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December 15, 2021

Welcome to The Multi-usiverse. Alongside your guide, Garr Punnett, explore worlds of opportunity within the use of physical resources across companies and organizations. Consider this a field guide in scaling reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recirculation. We’ll learn from guests who have ventured down this path and carved their way. Our aim is to discuss the successes, opportunities, and challenges of scaling a connected, circular economy. On this episode we’re joined by Lauren Phipps, Circular Economy VP & Senior Analyst at GreenBiz.

YouTube video

Audio Transcript:

Garr Punnett (00:16)

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Rheaply’s Multiusiverse. I just had the pleasure of speaking to Lauren Phipps, Circular economy VP and senior analyst at GreenBiz. A wealth of knowledge. We haven’t had a shortage of that around here, but we get to speak to her about really the macro view of circularity, where we are as an industry, industry wide collaboration. And then really, what’s next when it comes to circularity? Is it resale? Are we talking about renewables and reuse and repair? Really, it’s the fundamentals of circularity and the future of our sustainable economy. Take a listen. Thank you for joining us, Lauren. It’s so great to have you on of the Multi Use of Ours podcast. I’ve waited so long for this to happen, and I’m such a fan, but I would love for you to introduce yourself to the audience so that they can better understand where you’re coming from so that we can start diving into the good stuff to talk about.

Lauren Phipps (01:17)

Well, thank you very much. I’m very excited to be here. Episode six, lucky me. So I am the vice President and senior analyst on the circular economy at Greenbiz Group. Kind of a mouthful of a title. So Greenbiz is a media and events company that really is focused on building and supporting communities to solve the climate crisis. We do that through editorial. We do that through big convenings and bringing people together storytelling. But really it’s about thinking about the individuals that need to come together and the knowledge that needs to be shared to tackle huge systems challenges. So my piece of that is around the Circular Economy launched Circularity, a big event on the topic in 2019 that’s happening in May in Atlanta. And really kind of multi stakeholder approach to asking the question, what does it take to accelerate the transition to a circular economy that thinks about climate change, thinks about resource efficiency, economic efficiency and opportunity. And with that, I also write a weekly newsletter on the topic. And really anything circular. I’m just excited to talk about and think about every single week.

Garr Punnett (02:28)

Every single week. Again, I love what you all do at GreenBiz. And coming from it was my first introduction, frankly, into Circularity, into sustainability. It was what I first turned to in grad school to better understand the corporate lens. And for the longest time, I didn’t quite understand the value necessarily. I thought of you almost just as a publication. But it wasn’t until I participated in the first Green biz where I was like, oh, this is a venue for bringing ideas and bringing solutions. And that really changed my idea around how you all are sort of a convener of knowledge and sort of corporate ideas in that way and sort of a catalyst for change. How have you seen that sort of mature and develop over the years where this has really taken hold in ways where you get to spin off new concepts like circularity as it’s standalone event.

Lauren Phipps (03:26)

Yeah. Well, thank you for that generous compliment to GreenBiz. Sometimes people refer to me as a journalist, and I feel like that’s just really unfair to actual journalists because fun part of learning about all of these different topics and sort of getting to follow different trends, but I get to also have an opinion on them, which journalists typically don’t get to have. And it really takes sort of finding your group of people to do hard things. We talk about the idea of productive tension being necessary to enable systems change. I think one of the biggest limiting factors of some large scale shift, maybe around plastics packaging, is when we don’t actually acknowledge that we’re not all on the same page about something, then it really limits what we can move forward and do. And even using the term circular economy for packaging, that means a zillion different things to a zillion different stakeholders. But if we can’t actually acknowledge what we’re all talking about so that we can cut through that and sort of recognize where those misalignments are, then we’re losing on the opportunity to sort of find some greater alignment in the future.

Lauren Phipps (04:40)

So, yeah, the circularity community is really robust and amazing. We weren’t really sure if there’s going to be kind of a market for it when we launched it, but the brand has been super strong and virtually we were able to bring together tens of thousands of people and definitely looking forward to having fewer of those people in person in Atlanta. But it’s kind of amazing how many people that operate in different parts of companies and organizations and governments that are really trying to think about how to keep value circulating and keep our materials in use in a really forward thinking and unique way.

Garr Punnett (05:16)

That bit about productive tension is really interesting. And I haven’t heard anybody phrase it like that where that is where it’s almost the venue for ideas and challenges and trying to come up with solutions not in an Echo Chamber, but having sort of, again, competing ideologies. How do you balance that with and I’m going to say this as tactfully as I can with you all having an opinion. You all presenting multiple points of view, but always having to balance corporate stakeholders and corporate support and corporate interests a little bit. Where’s the line there? And how does that all sort of go into your sort of constant sort of pursuit of the sustainable sort of future and actually coming up solutions?

Lauren Phipps (06:05)

That is the question that is the hardest part of the job internally. We don’t always align. I mean, if we think about the most basic thing about who we accept money from, how do we decide which we want to engage in this? We definitely take a big tent approach, recognizing that anybody who works at a company can have influence. If you have money, you can have influence. And anything that we create or use or need to live, work and play, we can use that in a more sustainable way. That being said, on the other side, there’s the slippery slope that can be hopefully avoided when it comes to thinking about enabling green washing and sort of letting stories be told in a way that’s uncritical. On the other end, you can’t let perfection be the enemy of the good and perfect solutions aren’t going to exist. There’s going to be trade offs no matter what we’re talking about underneath the sustainability, climate circular economy umbrella. So the sort of phrase that Joel Mccaure, one of Green business co founders, kind of always comes back to is really instilled in me in my writing is the idea of sort of thank you now do more recognizing that certainly going to call out when things aren’t good enough.

Lauren Phipps (07:19)

But systems change takes time. Individuals can’t totally change things in just a day. So we need to celebrate the progress that we do have while holding that vision of the future and kind of holding this balance and that tension as well, of sort of always trying to push towards more, but also recognizing when progress has been made, even if it isn’t kind of everything it needs to be eventually.

Garr Punnett (07:45)

Right? I think that is so critical to it’s. Funny even I’m going to say this, but the largest corporations among us feel like they’re getting wins because so often it seems like they just get beat from all angles and then it’s like, well then we don’t want to be involved and we’ll just go do this off in the corner and we’ll figure it out. It’s like, oh no, that’s not the solution either. We still need to come together. But I can see where you all are often balancing many different opinions and business models and stakeholders, and I think you do that well, along with inviting new voices. And I think that’s critical. How has that sort of developed and what’s sort of the algorithm that you all have to sort of put together the social algorithm for trying to find new voices in the mix? Rheaply has candidly benefited from that sometimes where it’s like we’re trying to find our way and we’re trying to figure out what is the solution that can help a lot of these organizations, but that also means that we’re trying to elbow our way into the conversation. How do you all actually sort of look through and Wade through all the solutions in there and try to pick and choose and try to figure out who’s got the right message to say and who’s developed enough what’s that been like in terms of allowing more voices in?

Lauren Phipps (09:03)

I’m flattered that you think it’s more science than it is kind of art or just opinion. It really is not a perfect science in any way. We kind of hold this model of it’s called servant leadership, and I don’t think that name totally sounds intuitive, but it’s the idea of both sort of being a mirror or reflection of the community that we’re serving while trying to pull it forward. So in many ways we want to just be able to be Echo Chamber has a negative connotation, but be that place where everyone who’s working in the space can kind of learn about the landscape of other things happening, but also recognizing that some voices are louder and everyone needs to see it at the table. So I got some weird Google alerts set up to find out about things that are happening. I try to follow people on LinkedIn and have as many conversations as I can and really lean on people like you and people like Gary lean on people like the colleagues that work at other nonprofits or work at companies that are working with new people. I think that it’s easy to go to a hypercritical mindset, at least for me.

Lauren Phipps (10:16)

I think that’s part of what makes me good at my job is to sort of always have that critical eye, but to also be open to solutions looking different. I mean, if I didn’t know the replicate, if I didn’t know Gary and someone else was sort of telling me the brief narrative of what you all do, I might think interesting, I don’t totally get it if we were talking a few years ago, but it needs to be a little bit of trust. And then I think the last piece of it is it’s really about people. I make so many decisions based on just really thinking that someone is the real deal. And I just so firmly believe I’ve been talking about community already, but I just believe that individual relationships are the basic building blocks of systems change. And that’s kind of the most simplistic way to think about why we do what we do at scale. It’s because we need each other and we need people to trust and to sort of help push us forward and to be that source of momentum for any sort of big problem that’s pretty boring that we’re trying to solve.

Garr Punnett (11:22)

That trust component is so key. And I think it’s weird on Ecosystem Unto itself for all of us where for all we know, it was one article that was written about us in Greenville that then got the attention of some potential clients that then allowed us to even have the conversation. But it’s all connected. And I think that’s what I love about at least the community that we’re a part of and what we’re trying to figure out and the trust that we’re building together and the solutions that we’re pursuing is it does come down to just sometimes a handshake at a conference or reading something and reaching out on LinkedIn. And this is probably my message of just saying reach out to Lauren or reach out to someone in the community. Because if you’re an entrepreneur out there that this is how it gets done. It is a little messy. It may be more art than science, but that’s what it takes to learn more. And that’s what it takes to probably just have the conversation and see where something fits or it doesn’t or who you know. But in all of that, I think really then my next question is mostly about the maturity of the conversation and how have you seen probably since the days of where you first joined Green Bays and then launched circularity, but how have you seen the overall arc of sustainability, overall arc of circularity shift in the direction that we want and frankly, get to a point where I think there’s now a wave that we’re on, where we’re really seeing some momentum.

Garr Punnett (13:03)

How have you seen that? And sort of what threads can you pull from sort of your experience where you’re like these were key moments, if anything, really stuck out?

Lauren Phipps (13:13)

Good question. I can speak to the rise of the circular economy specifically better than kind of sustainability generally. But when we launched circularity in 2019, I had about 50% of my conversations. Plus when I had to start by answering the question, what’s that circular economy that you’re talking about? And I think maybe in 2020, maybe I didn’t have to have that conversation. But the immediate thing that anyone thought about when it came to circularity was waste management and recycling. And that’s a part of this bigger system. But circularity is, as you know, is about kind of a different model and a different way to think about value circulating through our industrial systems and designing out waste from the onset, not sort of managing it more effectively. So I think just from the most simplistic side of things, people just know what we’re talking about. This umbrella of circularity has kind of formed, and there are many conversations that have been happening for a very long time. I mean, so many parts of circularity aren’t necessarily new. They’re bringing pieces of industrial. They’re bringing pieces of sustainability with new names. They’re bringing pieces of regeneration and natural capital, all this stuff that has been happening.

Lauren Phipps (14:37)

But I think the unique thing that the circular economy lens does is bring it together in a way that just really makes sense. And I think we’re seeing just more people kind of rally around that. And it’s been so magnetic for, I think particularly for businesses, because it demonstrates the future state in which we don’t necessarily have to have some of the same trade offs and in which we can sort of think with foresight about what the fate of our materials, our products, our relationships and our place within systems, how that really should be working in the future, versus kind of always sort of retroactively trying to clean stuff up and do it differently. We’re seeing circular economy hires. I read a chapter for next year’s State of Green Business Report that it will come out in January of 22. But about the rise of the circular economy professional and how that’s sort of this growing title within organizations. But it’s a really exciting time. I think we’re just getting more nuanced and beyond the basics.

Garr Punnett (15:40)

It’s been weird to see where Rheaply itself put out a job for a circular economy specialist consultant. And then the competition for that job in the market was mind blowing. And it was like, okay, it was such a happy moment that we could partake in that. I remember even getting a message from someone where I was like, hey, I’d love to know more about this job. And is it taking away from my potential of getting a great candidate? And so I was like, wow, what a great opportunity this is in the market where it’s like, okay, we’ve got the traction, we’ve got sort of the message, and companies are really in need of that type of knowledge and expertise. Let’s shift gears a little bit to your writing into what you focused on. I’d love to chat a little bit about reuse and reuse in apparel and sort of the arise of resale. There was an article I read, and I’m forgetting the title, so please apologize around the gentrification of reuse and resale. I think it was resale, and I’d love to probably if you could set the stage for that article, because I actually hadn’t been a part of that conversation, sort of broader online.

Garr Punnett (17:04)

But I’d love your take on it. I’d love almost then to have a conversation about that, because that was fascinating and it was something that I had not considered in the overall conversation.

Lauren Phipps (17:15)

Yeah, definitely. And I hope I can try to do it justice. I think it was in September that I wrote about. I asked the question, Are we gentrifying resale? And what I was seeing. I’m not super engaged in social media, but I had sort of seen these just rise of sort of the thrift hall that people were doing on YouTube and on TikTok especially. And many of the influencer culture and Gen Z sort of really engaging in retail shops, which on one hand is great. We need that to be super trendy. We want everyone to be buying. And if we can create kind of this cool trend about resale, all the better. Resale is projected to be $77 billion market in the next five years. Huge opportunity. I mean, the amount of money has gone to resell this year is just absolutely ridiculous. On the other hand, there’s sort of this concern, though, that, okay, who relies on second hand shops? And if people are going in and buying at these crazy rates, are they driving up the prices of resale so that the communities that actually rely on these discount garments can’t actually afford them themselves?

Lauren Phipps (18:36)

I think neither side of it is totally valid. I think every decision has to have sort of a nuanced understanding of why people do things and to not sort of hate the individual for deciding to buy used. I think it’s way more systemic than that. But I’m curious what struck your core about it struck a chord with you about it and what you were drawn to about the topic I am fascinated with.

Garr Punnett (19:05)

It’s been something I’ve been struggling with myself, which is in a circular economy future. Right. A circular economic future where we are much more resource efficient. I’ve actually been struggling with lately, how inefficient donations are in general. And it’s been something I’ve sort of almost used as a way to just sit at night and just sit with my thoughts on it, because I’m not at a place where I’m good with it. In a future where, let’s just say I’ll use an example of a great organization in town called the Furniture Bank. They’re one of the largest donation partners in Chicago for furniture. They refurbish homes for those that need it most. But in the future, let’s say, where an Ikea or some sort of provider is actually taking that furniture back, that will leave those in that type of position without furniture. And what I’m struggling with is what does the future look like where we may be actually perfectly efficient and yet somehow still have neglected social duties or social giving in a way where it’s like, oh, if it gets donated, though, the donation track itself sometimes leads to landfill, it eventually then just goes into sort of communities or places where it might just be landfilled.

Garr Punnett (20:35)

Again, I sort of repeated myself, but that’s where I kind of left for that. And I’m fascinated with that thought of what does it mean to be a hyperefficient economy where there’s no waste and then those that benefit most from those waste? And actually, even in an article which I saw or I was reading of yours today, in which the sort of picker community would also or workforce would also have some negative. Well, some job loss in some developing nations, which is both a great thing and a terrible thing, maybe for those communities. And so there’s these weird levers that might get pulled where it’s like, oh, that was unintentional. And now we need to address maybe that economic loss in that community. Those are all my raw thoughts. But I think that’s what I’m fascinated about is that in that efficient sort of economy, who loses out.

Lauren Phipps (21:26)

Yeah, so many thoughts. I think the second part of the article, which I forgot when I was first talking, was just the other issue that some people were taking with the identification of Resale was about those folks buying from Goodwills and then marking up the price. That’s sort of the big part of it that I failed to mention a couple of years ago. I get a bunch of speaker pitches for companies that want to talk about their solutions. And it’s really interesting to watch how their messages change over time. I won’t mention the company, but there was kind of a similar theme that I’m just remembering now where one company was talking about kind of produce donation. And I think they’re a packaging company and how extending the shelf life of products can help cut down food waste and then it can help address food insecurity by having more food donations. But what I was struck with then, what I’m struck with now is the way to solve food insecurity is not to increase food donations like that’s just the wrong part of the food system to focus on. So too with folks that might be unhoused and are moving into new places with institutional support and new furniture.

Lauren Phipps (22:53)

The way to get that is not going to be through furniture donations. I think we in the same way that the circular economy invites us to sort of sync at the onset and design out waste. I think that kind of lens and just sort of that systems thinking can be applied here at the same time. The way that it does play out is if there are fewer donations within a specific location, within a specific amount of time that is going to impact individuals. So I think with anything recognizing that when we talk about a circular economy, we need to be really focused on not only kind of the economics of it when it comes to dollars and cents, also the efficiency of materials, but also the economic implications for communities and the people within it. I think I take a very human centered approach to circularity, and I think that circular systems aren’t going to really work if they recreate some of the inherent injustices that are at the center of current capitalist system. And I think that’s where I think that these conversations can sometimes just get a little bit uncomfortable and awkward. Because if you take circularity to its logical end as kind of a theoretical framework, it doesn’t really make sense over time if we continue to stratify and not kind of create more regenerative communities and ecosystems and economies overall, I love that.

Garr Punnett (24:17)

So just in that moment reframed me to again reminding myself that a lot of those systems, while amazing, and the nonprofit work that’s done is amazing, are Band AIDS, and they might be long term sort of bandaids for solving some pain in communities, but we have to continue to work on how do we solve those systemic issues. Thank you for that. I was a little nervous going into that one, and I think that’s exactly the reframe that I needed. What’s next in terms of the big future here for circularity? I think we are currently and you can actually even correct me here, but I think we’re currently in sort of the age of resale, as we mentioned before, where we’re getting a lot of investment. Renewable will continue to be dominating headlines. Ev will be continuing to dominate headlines. But what else are you seeing sort of on the horizon? I even have a note here around meat replacements or also dominating headlines. But what else is sort of coming? I kind of covered a lot and you can say, yeah, those are important, but this is also something I’m seeing. Is there anything else that you’re starting to hear about see about with other companies or things that you guys are talking about in the office?

Lauren Phipps (25:39)

Always so many things. I mean, one of the big things I’m Super excited about right now is repair. And I think it goes really hand in hand with resale. But last week I wrote about Apple changing their approach in a small way to enable individuals to purchase repair parts or spare parts and tools to repair some of the components of some of the newer iPhones, which might seem really tiny, but this is something that the right to repair community of activists have been really working on for decades. It’s incredibly significant. Again, I don’t want to give Apple undue credit because it is just one particular product and that doesn’t necessarily undo the legacy they have of actually actively lobbying against repair legislation. But that being said, it’s a huge step. I mean, we’ve seen a couple of other companies like Motorola offer repair and some smaller ones like Fairphone. That’s sort of a Darling of the circular company as well, but huge consumer electronics company allowing parts to be repaired rather than you have to go to a genius bar. And oftentimes the incentive is not to repair the thing. But I think the theory of it is really around distributing sort of the life extension of goods and empowering individuals to be able to make decisions about the things they want in their lives.

Lauren Phipps (27:12)

So that’s been something I’ve been really excited about. And I think that that will definitely have an impact throughout the rest of the industry, especially paired with some other legislation and activities in the EU from the past year as well.

 

Garr Punnett (27:25)

Speaking of, then if you’re keeping your ear to the ground a little bit on that type of legislation, that is often controversial and luckily we got a corporate actor, an enterprise like Apple, to take a step. Others have done that before. Apple. What’s moving in terms of any policy in the States? Is there anything that you’ve kept in touch with or understand that is moving anything of importance to call out?

Lauren Phipps (27:56)

Yeah, well, in France there’s this really big thing that happened earlier this year around having reparability scores for electronics beyond packaging. And then in Britain, I think it was actually the EU proposing sort of a universal charging cord for smartphones. So not us, but will have huge implications here. So those two things I would mention. And then the first electronic right repair bill was passed in New York state. Biden also filed a repair bill in Congress, executive order issued around repair for farming equipment. I might not have it. All right.

Garr Punnett (28:44)

No.

Lauren Phipps (28:47)

Not a lot has changed with that, but it’s really bringing this conversation up to the surface where you do four. It’s kind of been this niche side thing where there’s a couple of activist groups that are actively tried to be kept on the sidelines. I mean, they’re quite formidable and have done amazing work. But that really has been the dynamic similar to, I’d say, plastics and packaging, where three or four years ago talking about plastics and packaging and ocean plastics, it was this niche side thing. And then it totally came to the center of things. I think that’s what we just have seen with apparel. And then I think that’s what’s going to happen with consumer electronics coming up next.

Garr Punnett (29:29)

I think you speaking about it in terms of those waves kind of allowed me to rethink around Rheaply, seeing the groundswell that comes from that type of policy action, where it starts with a trickle of some policy ideas, a little bit of corporate action, a little bit of entrepreneurship, a little bit of reporting, and then that ultimately sweeps into a whole lot more action. And I’m even thinking of three years ago when we were talking more with Renewal Shop or the Renewal Workshop or Trove or I’m trying to think of others in the resale and sort of fixing repair space, but that led to now just these amazing series B series A type investment from venture capital in those types of industries. What does that look like on the macro level for repair? How is that going to lead to more reuse and more sort of again, the increase of circularity on that front? We’re seeing a little bit on our end from reapply’s point of view. We’re lucky enough to be in the mix a little bit on that where we see that. Okay. There’s going to be a lot more focus on keeping things at their highest lifecycle and much more visibility into sort of where they basically get tracked throughout, either from an EPR perspective or I always need to clarify extended producer responsibility perspective or again, how we’re tracking internally in organizations.

Garr Punnett (31:05)

Again, it’s all about traceability and visibility. But really what I’m getting at is how have you seen that sort of really, if we take out, we think through the exercise of what repair will mean to our economy and we think about the services, we think about what it’s going to mean to the growth of circularity. How have you all discussed this in the office? How have you written about this where what is it going to mean for a service industry in the future of circularity in that way? From your perspective?

Lauren Phipps (31:38)

I think it’s not so dissimilar to any conversation around just the economics of materials and values value. I think there needs to be an economic foundation to sort of justify the movement of materials and goods. And I think that with any of the markets we’ve talked about, we’ve kind of seen that. I think plastics and packaging is a trickier market given the margins. But material scarcity and resource scarcity is real. And I think it comes down to why, first of all, why companies would choose to shift their approach. I think those thinking long term. I think especially it’s really interesting to look at sort of higher value assets like lithium ion batteries for electric cars or photo voltaic cells or PV arrays, and how we have to think down the road at what it will take to get those high value materials back so that we can continue to make the things that we need especially tricky when it comes to materials that are scarce. And I think repair is a part of that. There’s an intuitive side of it where it just doesn’t make sense to keep getting a new thing when only a small part of it is broken.

Lauren Phipps (33:06)

And I think companies are able to create new business models to prolong their relationship with customers, to make customers happier, to take away kind of that stress, anxiety or strife of what do I do with this thing at the end of its life and to really regain access to just lost value that’s in our landfills, that’s in our dresser drawers, that’s just sort of lost when it’s sort of stagnantly sitting in some distant loop of our two for nonexistent economy, but one that will be coming up before too long. So that doesn’t totally answer the question about policy, but I think it does start with businesses. I think policy typically follows, and then it sort of makes everyone else catch up and create that stronger economic case.

Garr Punnett (33:59)

Yeah, I think that’s well said to a poorly answered or poorly asked question. So when it comes down to it, then what are you all excited about over this next year coming up? Every year that goes by, we inch closer and closer to some unknown deadline that none of us want to actually deal with, but we’re always finding solutions for. I know we’ve got circularity. We’ve got green biz coming up. What else do we get to look forward to from green Biz, from you all and the research and probably that you’re most excited about doing in this new year as well.

Lauren Phipps (34:39)

Well, definitely circularity in May and Atlanta. I think we’re excited to just kind of get the gang back together and start coming together as a community. There’s going to be some new products coming out in the circular space for Greenville next year that I will look forward to talking to you about, then continuing to just tell stories of progress. I think we’ve been moving slowly but still with some good momentum around circularity, but we’ve seen so much investment in this space. I mean, the amount of money that I mentioned in resale, the amount of attention that’s being put on the plastics and packaging and reusable packaging at scale, the amount of money that’s being put into new startups that are sort of having new business models for any of the things we’ve discussed. It’s just kind of happening in a way that is outpacing what I think most people kind of expected. I think it’s definitely out pacing. The sustainability came up, but I think much of it is tied in with climate change and companies and governments recognizing I guess this is the thing we need to deal with. And so I think one thing that I’m most excited to be following for 2022 is just the continued refinement of those arguments and those metrics around how circular economy strategies, whether it’s reuse or repair, product extension or manufacturing or whatever model it might be, how that can actually directly contribute to carbon mitigation and climate solutions overall.

Lauren Phipps (36:14)

I think once we have sort of the math and the tools to calculate those savings, then we’ll only continue to see that growth because circularity and climate are deeply intertwined.

Garr Punnett (36:27)

Before we go, I’d love to then follow up with one more question on that. And that’s a hot topic for us here on how are we actually calculating that math. That is a big thing in our industry where carbon avoidance versus maybe carbon reduction or whatever our language might be, that Reuse should have some sort of carbon equivalency. How have you thought about that? What types of conversations have you had in that sphere that really add to the power of saying, hey, there’s data around Reuse, there’s data around your carbon reduction. If you use this chair X more years.

Lauren Phipps (37:10)

Yeah, I think it starts with sort of the most simplistic model of the lifecycle assessment, and I think it goes from there. Those are blunt instruments that can kind of be shifted and shaped based on the data that you put in. But I think more and more, at least we’re hearing about people investing in this research. It is sometimes sort of kept internally from companies. So I think my call to you and to anyone is like, if you’ve got these numbers, please share them. This is the thing that anyone who’s trying to make resale pencil out for big apparel manufacturers or reusable packaging pencil out for big brands, these are the questions of kind of the carbon accounting associated with these new models that is going to make it go even faster and really take root. So there are questions that I am very much asking and keeping my ears open for. I don’t have a perfect answer. There’s certainly some frameworks that a couple of organizations have developed to calculate sort of the benefit of circular economy is the Circulatorytics CTI are two of them. But I think everyone is struggling with scope three emissions.

Lauren Phipps (38:23)

Circularity is scope three emissions. So that’s kind of the name of the game right now.

Garr Punnett (38:28)

Excellent. For those that please look up scope three emissions, we could spend probably next 30 minutes talking about them, but it is important. It’s everything that goes into a business that maybe isn’t, I don’t know, the energy that goes into running or whatever it is. Excellent. Well, Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time again. It’s been great to connect. I look forward to seeing you in the new year at all of the events that we talked about, whether it’s green visits or circularity and then we can continue this conversation and share more about what we each are up to coming up in the new year.

Lauren Phipps (39:04)

Can’t wait. Thank you so much for the invitation today.

Garr Punnett (39:07)

Thanks, Lauren.

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