Nanette Brown
UN expert: "Circular economy is crucial for the survival of humanity"
Nanette Braun from the United Nations will come to Germany for the Circular Valley Forum on November 16. According to the Head of Communications Campaigns at the UN, the momentum for sustainability is growing, but much more needs to be done.
The figure is small but obvious: 1.7 earths would be needed to match humanity's current resource consumption, says Nanette Braun, Head of Communications Campaigns at the United Nations and one of the guests of honor at the Circular Valley Forum on November 16. Nevertheless, the expert from New York travels to the large summit of the circular economy in Wuppertal, Germany, with a lot of hope: "The knowledge exchange happening at gatherings like the Circular Valley Forum provides important insights and stimulus, also for the wider industry community, and supports informed decisions in transitioning away from a linear business model".

The Circular Valley Forum brings together more than 1,000 decision-makers: Top government officials, board members and executives from major companies, and outstanding scientists. Among others, the State Primeministers Hendrik Wüst (North-Rhine Westphalia) and Jan Jambon (Flanders), Rolf Buch (CEO Vonovia), Christian Kullmann (CEO Evonik) and Patrick Wendeler (CEO BP Europe) as well as Peter Hennicke (Wuppertal Institute) and Walter Leitner (Max Planck Institute) have confirmed their attendance.

Together with the guest from the United Nations, they will analyze the current situation and discuss solutions. Nanette Braun sees the planet threatened by a triple crisis: climate change, pollution and the loss of biodiversity. The circular economy is one of the main ways to overcome these interconnected crises: "We must steer away from what is clearly an unsustainable model and move toward less destructive resource extraction, but also toward lowering emissions and cutting down on waste and pollution.

It is important to understand that circularity isn't just a fad - it is critical for humanity to survive.

Nanette Braun,
Head of Communications Campaigns at the UN
The Circular Valley Forum program addresses all key aspects of the circular economy. On November 16, lots of discussions about renewable energy as a foundation, opportunities for individual companies and collaboration across industries, and faster permitting processes will take place. The guest from the United Nations sees "momentum" for the entire circular economy because there are initiatives for sustainability in many areas. But that is still not enough: "Industrial emissions have even been growing faster since 2000 than in any other sector, driven by increased raw material extraction and production. Needless to say, there is urgent need for action, including the transition to renewable energy across all processes," says Nanette Braun.

Important ideas for the transformation will come from startups around the world in Wuppertal. International founders will present their business models at the Circular Valley Forum's DemoDay. Among other topics, the startups are specialized in sustainable construction, alternative raw materials and recycling. Nanette Braun encourages "to bring existing momentum to scale". The circular economy should not be understood as a menu from which individual steps can be selected one after the other, she said. Rather, it is a systematic approach – and "the only viable option".

The United Nations is taking on an important role here, ensuring that progress is credibly assessed and that attempts at greenwashing don't stand a chance. "Tools like the standards for net-zero emissions developed under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are important to realistically assess whether we are on the right track," says Nanette Braun. In this context, she also appeals to consumers, as their purchasing decisions have an influence as well: "We have seen much heightened awareness, in particular among young people, as to the choices they make, whether it is transport or the products they opt to spend their money on. This is encouraging and should further incentivize the transition from a linear to a circular economy".
Media Contacts:

Clara Hennings
Phone: +49 202-256-237-25
E-Mail: press@circular-valley.org