Reduce - Reuse - Recycle and Rethink

Resources are scarce and the civil society, governments and business leaders need to realise this and take action! And with that statement, a tour-de-force presentation by Professor Flemming Besenbacher, also chairman of Carlsberg and the Carlsberg Foundation, took its beginning at CBS on Wednesday 31st January 2018.


Through his chairmanship on the government’s board for Circular Economy, Flemming Besenbacher introduced the audience to the board’s strategy of the 4 Rs: Reduce - Reuse - Recycle and Rethink. Richly illustrated by examples from Carlsberg and other companies, Flemming highlighted the importance of completely rethinking consumer behavior and putting the pressure on companies to design and produce more sustainably. “Owning your own car or washing machine will be a thing of the past’, he said teasingly. “Shared car services will be the future so cars are utilized more efficiently instead of sitting idle in parking lots. And products such as washing machines are only for rent and retrieved by the producer after use to ensure parts are recycled for new products."

New avenues for change

Clearly, new avenues need to be taken to ensure sustainable agricultural practices for a growing population and sustainable manufacturing to reduce pollution and overuse of scarce resources such as water. New technologies are an important part of creating sustainable solutions, Flemming argued, just like we need to re-evaluate how we educate children and adults in order to foster creative approaches and problem-solving skills that will help us improve the world we live in. Flexible education – Flexication – and life-long learning will enable us to be more adaptable to change.  And change can only come if leaders of countries and companies as well as the civil society work together for a more sustainable future.