Ladeja Godina Košir is the Chair of CG of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP), Founder & Executive Director of Circular Change and co-leader of the Research Group Circular Economy Systems at the BCSSS. She is an internationally renowned expert for the circular economy, speaker and co-creator of international CE events. Ladeja was the finalist of The Circular Leadership Award 2018 (Davos WEF), recognized as the regional “engine of circular economy transition”.

Love is in the air” at the European Parliament. In a recent report on the launch of the MEPs4SDGs campaign, which seeks to encourage European parliamentarians to champion the cause of the Sustainable Development Goals in Brussels, love has been mentioned several times. The EEB (European Environmental Bureau) has even produced an animated film on behalf of SDG Watch Europe, with the ambition to touch our hearts and encourage us to become the Sustainability Heroes.

I am very much in favor of storytelling. Back in my “previous life”, in a more than 10-years long career of creative director, I have co-created numerous international campaigns. And as I have been recently told by one of the leading consultants – “you can never be an ex-creative”. Bearing that in mind, focusing on the implementation of the circular economy for the last five years – last two also in the role of the Chair of CG of ECESP in Brussels – engaging different stakeholders around the globe, encouraging dialogue and bottom up approach, working on circular economy roadmaps and empowering creatives to contribute to the process of change, I am all of a sudden feeling puzzled.

SDG’s, the New Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan launched in March, are representing an excellent framework for so much needed systemic transition that includes economic, environmental and social dimensions. The model of “circular triangle” that we have introduced in the Roadmap towards the circular economy in Slovenia back in 2017, emphasizes the interdependency of the circular economy, circular culture, and circular change. And now we even have a call for Sustainability Heroes. Observing, how all these dots are getting connected in a way, should prevail me with joy.

But I cannot find “inner peace”. As a strong believer in the purpose of SDG’s and as a true supporter of the Green Deal, I am trying to figure out how to find the right balance between “popularisation” and “implementation” of both. We, as humans, have to identify with the subject before we start taking action. As long as change consider others, we are in favor of the change. But when we are about to change, it gets difficult. Only solutions, which are accessible, affordable and attractive, have the chance to replace the old ones and kick us out of our comfort zone. This is very much true when implementing a circular economy paradigm. Think about repairing your shoes instead of buying a pair of new ones. Or about sharing a car instead of owning one. How about getting off the local market instead of the supermarket around the corner. A very simplified version of decision making on a daily basis, I know. But let’s use it as an illustration of how the process of change can start.

Now back to our Sustainability Heroes animation. For me, SDG’s are very much value driven. They resonate with inclusion, equality, collaboration, co-creation. Not leaving anyone behind, as well as not giving anyone in the position of having all the answers. Same with the ambition of the European Green Deal – aiming to become the first carbon neutral continent is great, making it a reality that is super challenging. We cannot get there alone. Interdependent and interconnected as we are on our planet Earth, we have to respect planet boundaries as well as each other. Sustainability Heroes are everywhere. Maybe with indicators, metrics, knowledge, hierarchical structures and perception that prevails our often still very linear “western” mindset, we miss the point and overlook those, who are actually driving the change on the ground. Let’s be humble and openhearted. In love with life. That is how we might recognize hidden heroes who are already (or still) living life in polyphony with Mother Nature.