#8: Alexandre Lemille on Heroes and Humanity

My guest today is Alexandre Lemille, a thought leader in circular economics who is challenging what has initially developed as a resource-focused model to propose a ‘Circular Economy 2.0’ (which he also called ‘Human-centred Circular Economy’) by embedding two identified missing dimensions: the social dimension and a measurement of value creation.

Alexandre is founder of WizeImpact, the co-founder of the African Circular Economy Network and was a Member of the Circular Economy Taskforce at the World Economic Forum in 2016. He is also a mentor at the Circular Economy Club.

I spoke to Alex online from his home in South Africa. We spoke about heroes like Nelson Mandela, the long-term effect of experiencing social injustices early in life, the importance of a human-centered economy and the personal costs of pursuing a career championing a nascent idea.

Alex has also kindly provided a guest blog below…

Being a ChangeHacker

Driving change is far from being easy! People will always give you a good reason for not changing their habits. The same goes for corporate or public organisations. 

Yet and given the sea of challenges we are facing: change is a must. 

You should have identified something in life that shocked you. Will you wait for it to occur again or will you do something about it?

Change is the positive answer to such defies as it helps us think beyond our comfort zone. It provides a third pathway we have not thought of before. 

Why not becoming a hacker today? Expose yourself to new learning techniques, to alternative way of thinking, and choose the path where you excel the most. 

Turn yourself into an expert and start sharing your views. Many people might not appreciate them. They will most probably say it out loud. But persevere. Convince yourself you have a share of the answer and be open to debate it with strong arguments. If you are conclusive, the anti-hackers will disappear and chase the next person looking to change their habits.

Often, you will need a driving force behind you to be able to last as change maker. There will be more hips and bumps than you would ever expect. During those times, you will have to stay focus and keep listening to your heart.

One way to do this is to be convinced in your inner self that the social issue you have identified, the environmental disaster you see coming or the economic burden you have experience should not have existed in the first place. 

My advice here to ensure your resilience over time is to ‘adopt a leader’. There are many leading faces for each one of our generations. Thought leaders in social justice, in women rights, in environmental protection, in sound economics and so on. Choose who’s been making you dream the most from your readings, from your youth or else. Become her/his buddy at heart.

Mine was a big buddy to say the least. I grew up with his Story and I made him my ‘third grand-father’! Mister Nelson Mandela’s life fights represented everything in hated in this planet. I could not stand racism and social injustice. I came across his name on my way to college. Passing everyday under a bridge where it was written ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, I thus asked my mum what did he do wrong to be in prison? I was stunned by her answer. 

Since then, I studied his story, did a university thesis on ‘Mandela era and the end of Apartheid’, and went on to work and live in South Africa to experience it by myself.

Today, I work in sustainable development from the social angle. I train private and public professionals about social impact, societal value creation but most of all: I do whichever is in my power to ensure our next economic model will be equitable, affordable and ensure well-being to any humans on this planet.

The Circular Economy 2.0 – the concept I suggest to implement – aims at not only eradicate waste but also poverty, by applying the ‘circular logic or thinking’. I believe the Circular Economy is a major step ahead for our survival on this planet. It is considered as our next economic model. Yet, it is missing the social dimension and a way to ensure it will create net positive societal value, i.e. well-being for all.

Since nobody talks about it, I decided to say it out loud while providing tools and solutions. 

Thank you Madiba!


Find out more about Alex at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/alexandre-lemille?guccounter=1 and https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexlemille/

Tony Cooke

Tony Cooke is an internationally-recognised sustainability leader with over 25 years spent at the nexus of sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing and executing strategies for business, governments and not-for-profit organisations across a wide variety of sectors. He now manages a portfolio of interests including; senior corporate counsel, executive coaching, non-executive roles and thought leadership through a combination of research, writing and podcasting. Visit my personal blog at http://tonycooke.wordpress.com

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