2016 People’s Choice Award Finalists

In addition to the seven Awards categories decided by The Circulars judging panel, there was an opportunity for the public to recognize the individual, public sector program or organization that has the most inspiring circular economy story via the People’s Choice Award.

The entry which received the most public votes was recognized as the People’s Choice Winner and was presented a trophy at The Circulars 2016 ceremony at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, January 2016.

Scroll down to view the 2016 People’s Choice Winner, Runner Up and Finalists.

  • Canon was the first company to launch a global recycling programme in 1990 and implement a closed loop recycling system for printer cartridges in 1992. Since 2003, Canon has achieved no waste to landfill, with all cartridge parts re-used, recycled or energy recovered. Canon’s commitment to the circular economy includes: designing products for disassembly and recycling; remanufacturing multifunction printers to a good-as-new standard; and using plastic recycled from Canon products in new products. Canon’s global toner cartridge recycling programme is celebrating 25 years this year. Over that time the company has expanded their global toner cartridge recycling programme to 24 countries, with four dedicated recycling centres located around the world. Between 1990 and 2014, Canon collected and recycled 344,000 tonnes of cartridges, saving over 502,000 tonnes of CO2 and reducing the need for new raw materials by 232,000 tonnes. In 2015, the company opened a new recycling plant in Japan that has improved sorting capability and enables 50% greater processing capacity. Going beyond competitors’ traditional remanufacturing processes, Canon’s circular process is delivering great value and innovation.

  • Based in the Netherlands, Van Hulley turns your favourite worn out shirt into personalised boxer shorts, leading to environmental savings of more than 2.2 million litres of water, 139 kg pesticides, and almost 2800 kg of CO2 from reduced material manufacturing. Van Hulley combines sustainability with a circular/social mission – via upcycling, the company turns used material into a personal 'wannahave' item. Production is carried out by women with no qualifications but who are eager to get a job. Van Hulley supports them through schooling and provides work experience opportunities. Within The Netherlands, Van Hulley has grown by more than 50% this year compared to 2014. The company is now looking to expand this concept across Europe and aims on further growth through mobile workshops, gift certificates and production of items made from corporate clothing materials.

  • Founder & MD, Wizeimpact

    Alex Lemille is the Founder of Wizeimpact, a South Africa based for-purpose company that leverages business-as-a-powerful-tool to address environmental and societal challenges, turning wealth-centered linear businesses into Value-focused Circular Ventures (VCVs). Since joining The Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 Emerging Innovators in early 2013 (then as a Cisco Systems employee), Alex has been promoting the circular economy in emerging markets to change the way organisations and governments do business. Alex created and promotes the concept of a Valued Circular Economy (VCE), which views the circular economy from a social impact angle, ensuring prosperity while operating within an inclusive circular economy structure. Recognised as the first advocate of the circular economy in South Africa, Alex teaches at national universities, provides specialized training to corporate leaders and speaks at international conferences on the importance of the circular economy. He has also appeared on multiple radio shows and is renowned for offering exciting circular economy-related courses at primary schools. Ultimately, it is the opportunity for value creation in emerging markets which inspires Alex to support South Africa and other African countries in their transition to a socially inclusive circular economy.

  • Braiform is the global leader in the supply and re-use of garment hangers, packaging and GNFR solutions to the retail industry. Each year Braiform supplies close to 3 billion garment hangers, re-using more than 1 billion and recycling more than 200 million. As industry leader, the business has pioneered the concept of re-use, low cost flexible and direct sourcing, and has overlaid this concept with ethical and social compliance. Braiform’s cleverly designed hangers are built to withstand multiple lifecycles so that they continue to appear in top condition in-store. By providing more durable hangers, Braiform has helped retailers reduce costs and improve efficiencies. In 2015, Braiform launched the first closed-loop re-use of garment security tags in partnership with one of the UK’s largest retail partners. In addition, the company plans to launch a brand new range of polystyrene hangers globally, which are designed to be recyclable, 23% lighter than competing products on the market, and drive benefits through the global Braiform re-use programs. Braiform continues to work alongside the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to achieve maximum efficiencies within their garment hanger re-use circular business model.

  • Miniwiz Ltd, an international recycled material supplier, engineering, design and manufacturing company; gained recognition in architecture circles in 2010 after building ‘Ecoark’, a museum made completely out of recycled PET bottles. The company has built processing infrastructure to broaden intake of tough-to-recycle trash, leveraging this garbage to make building materials, whilst simultaneously eliminating waste and reducing their environmental footprint. Miniwiz has assisted with sustainability and circularity issues in an array of organisations worldwide for over 10 years across various industries including: retail (Nike), hospitality, manufacturing (food waste recycling plants in Taiwan), interior design and other sectors. The company has also worked on a number of high profile global projects such as NikeLab. Miniwiz used its expertise on interior fixtures to enhance Nike’s high-end stores, ensuring they were entirely custom made from recyclable waste. Increasing the value created by a closed-loop model within architectural solutions, as they did for Nike, is a priority for Miniwiz Ltd going forward. Miniwiz emphasises execution and financial feasibility of the circular economy.

  • Neptuno Pumps is an award winning, world class designer and manufacturer of energy efficient, innovative and sustainable pumping solutions for the mining and process industries worldwide. Located in the Atacama Desert, Chile, where water is scarce and energy prices are the highest in Latin America, Neptuno Pumps understands the importance of resource-efficiency and the circular economy. Internationally recognized for its award-winning energy efficient pumps, the company has worked with the world’s biggest mining and engineering organisations including BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American to develop an innovative circular approach with their customers. The company produces 60% of its products with reused and recycled materials from old worn pumps, reducing its carbon footprint by 70%. As vertically integrated company, Neptuno Pumps understands the importance of remanufacturing, offering re-used products that are energy efficient, 30% cheaper, with a one-year warranty and of the same quality as a brand new pump. By creating new alliances with its clients, Neptuno Pumps plans to manufacture 90% of its products with recycled and reused materials in the next five years.

  • Vice President, Sustainability & Environmental Affairs, Shaw Industries Group, Inc

    Paul Murray is Vice President of Shaw Industries Group, Inc. With a long career at Herman Miller Inc., leading their award-winning sustainability program, Paul was at the forefront of circular economy leadership. Paul joined Shaw in 2011 to lead their well-developed program, in part because of the company’s commitment to the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy. As Shaw’s Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Paul leads the organisation’s comprehensive approach to sustainability – including material health, material reutilization, resource conservation, and renewable and alternative energy use. At Shaw, he leads the Growth and Sustainability committee, driving innovative product solutions and setting sustainability strategy. During Paul’s tenure, the percentage of Shaw’s manufactured Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM products sold, currently at 66%, continues to increase. In 1988, Paul started the Environmental Quality Action Team, driving recycling efforts that contributed to the start-up of both the Cradle-to-Cradle concept and the US Green Building Council.

  • Operating in Europe and the USA, Positive Luxury awards a unique ‘Butterfly’ Trust Mark to luxury lifestyle brands, recognising them for their positive circular actions with the aim of suppressing the societal ‘throw away’ culture. At the same time Positive Luxury aims to revolutionise the way brands engage with consumers. A focus on enhancing environmental reputation whilst also helping brands create better and more informed consumer experiences, in turn fosters loyalty and generates trust. The company recently launched the world’s first interactive Trust Button to be displayed alongside a brand’s product on their own website and intermediary channels in order to visibly commend circular practices. Using pioneering technology, luxury lifestyle brands are given a better understanding of their consumer’s behaviour online, helping them to assess and manage their reputation in relation to social and environmental good. To date, Positive Luxury has helped over 250 ‘best in class’ luxury brands manage and reinforce their environmental reputations by assessing their adoption of the circular economy, evaluating, communicating and improving their sustainability reputation, and transforming the way they engage with consumers. Following the recent move into the American market, Positive Luxury are looking to expand into Japan and China.

  • Director, Institute of Governance for Sustainability, Tongji University

    Dajian Zhu, is a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Sustainable Development and Governance Institute who, since 1998, has published a series of papers and books on the circular economy and helped promote China’s green transition to the circular economy. Zhu is a thinker, advocate and communicator of the circular economy model in China, a relatively new concept in the country. His research has stressed that the circular economy is a revolutionary and effective way towards sustainable development and could provide China with an opportunity to decouple economic growth and waste generation. Zhu was involved in circular economy China’s policy consulting and law promotion, he introduced the circular economy into EMBA and MBA programs, and advocated a sustainability-oriented management education in the country. As the primary expert in China, Zhu has been invited to be a keynote speaker about China's story and theory of circular economy at conferences and universities over the world. He has also been involved in circular economy activities under the World Economic Forum and the World Resource Forum.

  • Inspired by Cradle-to-Cradle principles, Sustainer Homes converts used shipping containers into the world's first off-grid, fully mobile container homes, powered completely by renewable sources. Based in the Netherlands, the company uses only recycled or recyclable building materials, striving to close the materials cycle. Working together with the most innovative partners in solar power, wind power and water filtration available, Sustainer Homes close both energy and water cycles, and therefore need no connection to the grid whatsoever. Even though sustainable, off-grid living has been a dream for many, Sustainer Homes are the very first to have realised a working home that provides regular living comfort. By completely closing energy, water and materials cycles within a single home, the Sustainer Home can outcompete traditional housing, showing that circular business models are profitable.

  • Following years of investigation, research and prototyping, The Centre for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC) has developed a zero waste packaging process. Based in Costa Rica, CRDC has developed REAP: Recover, Enrich, Appreciate, Prosper: a circular business model to reduce water bottle waste on land and in the oceans. As part of this model, CRDC have taken to market a patented 100% recycled PET Plastic water bottle, designed to be regenerated into a high quality roofing tile to assist in meeting the world's growing shelter needs. Before becoming an environmental contaminant, the bottle is converted into a high quality product, providing vital material input for housing. Recently, CRDC received positive recognition at the National Plastics Exhibition in Orlando Florida for their "Packaging to Shelter" projects. The organisation has also developed strong relationships with communities, learning institutions and the Costa Rican government after adopting circular economy principles. CRDC have designed their packaging with an inspirational "message in the bottle” as a tangible reminder to the consumer that a waste free solution to important environmental and social issues is in their hands.