How do you imagine a circular economy?

The first-ever global “Circular Economy Perception Survey”

Take the survey and become one of a million

It takes 10 – 15 minutes only

More languages to follow soon

Contact us to develop your language version

Are you an organisation?

Join the global initiative and help reach one million people

Become a partner
Or, download the invitation to join the initiative (PDF):
Deutsch  I  Français  I  English  I  Español  I  Nederlands  I  中文
Timeline 2021/22
sessions start
Online press
Global launch
Early birds
Survey & information
sessions end
March 2021
14 April
19 April
14 May
30 November
15 January
March 2022

Spread the word and help us reach one million participants


About the survey initiative

Imagine Circularity, the first-ever global survey on perceptions of circularity, seeks to understand how different stakeholders see and imagine the circular economy.

The aim is to engage one million participants from around the world to produce a representative sample of their views and understandings.

Designed for knowledgeable experts and newcomers alike, this survey introduces each participant to a range of basic concepts related to circularity and in turn enhances participants’ circular literacy, while also providing insights on the different understandings and perceptions on the topic across a wide range of stakeholders and countries.

As such, this survey is not about knowledge; it is about perception.

The survey is an initiative of REVOLVE Circular and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, who invite organizations around the world to join. The survey is light, easy to understand and in multiple languages; the findings of which will be analyzed and transformed into comprehensible reports after year 1.

Open to all who wish to join in communicating circularity, this survey is available for interested parties from universities, cities, regions, countries or businesses in different industries to use and customize to their context and environment. The survey will be launched officially on Monday, 19 April 2021. Any individual can take the survey free of charge and additional languages will be made available as the survey rolls out.

All official survey partners either join the project after successful application for REVOLVE Circular membership or become an officially accepted and recognized sponsor.

The co-initiators of the survey consider that the Circular Economy is an emerging paradigm which many different stakeholders have started to embrace – and understand, interpret, and apply in different ways. Some criticize the concept for narrowly focusing on resource challenges and resource efficiency while neglecting systemic societal concerns. Others aim to develop an agreed-upon definition, or a series of key elements or core principles of what the circular economy is or should be. Last but not least, there is increasing talk about a circular society rather than just a circular economy.

REVOLVE Circular and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development have designed the survey in a way that it will inform each participant about circularity while the results will provide insights into the perception and understanding of what the circular economy means to each respondent. Participants can include corporate decision-makers in a wide-range of different industries, interested citizens and residents from all countries, plus researchers, policy-makers, and others. The survey introduces each participant to three core elements of the emerging circular economy paradigm:

1. Value Retention Options – also known as the circular economy’s ‘how-to-do’s, R strategies, or ‘action imperatives’.
2. Circular economy definitions for participants to choose their preference.
3. Various concepts and schools of thought at the origin of circularity.

The findings of the survey will inform policy-making processes, influence corporate decision-making, and (with time) help change consumption patterns globally. The results of the survey are to be compiled for the development of innovative open-access research and publications.

We use to create our online surveys. REVOLVE Circular is partnering with SurveyHero for the technical implementation of this survey which offers the added value of being global, multilingual and customizable to your context.


What’s in it for you? And what to expect?

Open to legal entities in countries, regions, cities, industries, universities, and other interested agencies, you are invited to join this global initiative.

The survey initiative believes in multi-stakeholder processes, co-creation and collective intelligence.

As knowledge managers and sustainability experts, we do not use these terms as buzzwords: we walk the talk. The initiative will grow and succeed the more organizations join the exercise, the more people are motivated to participate, and the more stakeholders wish to truly engage others on a transformation leaving linearity behind us.

We encourage local and regional authorities, non-profit organizations, international organizations, universities, businesses or industry associations to embrace this initiative, take ownership and pro-actively engage their respective audiences.

10 Benefits for Partners

  1. Network with organizations building circular literacy
  2. Contribute to a global effort on circularity perception
  3. Find out how your audience perceives circularity
  4. Customize the survey to your audience
  5. Choose from over 60 languages
  6. Build circular literacy and sensitize your audience
  7. Increase your organization’s visibility
  8. Co-produce a report on your audience’s perception
  9. Support the global knowledge base on circularity perception
  10. Participate in ground-breaking academic publications

Who can join? And what is your role?

These partners already joined the initiative

While any individual can participate in the survey at any point in time after its launch in April 2021, only organizations can become partners.

Local, regional or national authorities, non-profit organizations, universities, intergovernmental organizations, businesses of all sizes, media organizations, industry associations, think tanks, foundations, and other organizations are eligible to join the initiative.

The stepwise process towards joining the global survey effort as an official partner or sponsor is explained in the how to join section.

Official partners and sponsors of the survey initiative will take responsibility for engaging and bringing the survey to their respective audience – which can be a university, a city, a country, a specific industry or other. They can customize the survey for their audience and are expected to contribute proactively to the overall objective of creating a representative sample of one million respondents globally.

The only condition is to maintain the five core questions while two of three partnership options will enable partners to extend and customize the core survey by another five questions maximum, co-created and approved by the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. It will also be possible to join the survey initiative as a basic RETHINK partner and upgrade your partnership option throughout 2021.

How to Join

Steps towards joining

Any kind of organization can join and support the initiative as a partner or sponsor. You are invited to a series of information sessions throughout 2021 to learn more about the core elements of the initiative, the partnership options and how we will deploy and co-brand the survey.

You can customize your survey.

Depending on your selected option, partners can complement the five question survey by another five questions maximum to generate findings for their respective audience while also contributing to the global survey results. Other partners may just want to maintain the core survey as is and translate it into one or more further languages.

All partners and sponsors will increase their visibility and are expected to disseminate the survey through appropriate channels to engage their respective audiences.

There are two ways to officially join the initiative:

  1. Your organization becomes a member of REVOLVE Circular and joins the survey initiative as an official partner

    Apply for membershipView partnership options

  1. You apply for membership of REVOLVE Circular at the annual entry fee of 45,- Euro
  2. If your application is approved, your membership allows you to join the survey initiative, Your membership ends automatically after one year unless you decide to extend it.
  3. As a member of REVOLVE Circular, survey partners can choose between four partnership options.
  1. You prefer to join as a sponsor, without REVOLVE Circular membership
    If you prefer to simply sponsor the survey without becoming a member, that option is also available.

    Contact us today

  1. Interested sponsors are invited to join one of the information sessions; you will find out more and we shall make time available to discuss the modalities and conditions of your sponsorship bilaterally.
  2. Potential sponsors who are interested in the Intellectual Property of the initiative are invited to read and consider our open science and open data principles.
Or, download the invitation to join the initiative (PDF):
Deutsch  I  Français  I  English  I  Español  I  Nederlands  I  中文
Open Source

Open Science & Open Data

The two initiators, REVOLVE Circular and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, are committed to Open Science for publication and data management as far as possible and within ethical guidelines.

Open science

All the data generated and other resources used for the global survey initiative follow the European Open Science policies as well as those of Utrecht University.

Open data

We are supporters of Open Government Data and, while not a public entity, aim to make the data of the survey available to the extent possible in line with this open data definition.

During 2021 we shall decide on one of these licenses for the data generated by the survey. Of course, this applies to non-personal data only i.e. data which does not contain information about specific individuals.


In the press

Circular Economy: What’s in it for the media?

The predominant linear take-make-waste economy results in enormous damage to societies, economies and the environment, and a different approach is becoming increasingly urgent and necessary. One alternative is the circular economy, an emerging paradigm that provides many various opportunities while also requiring different priorities in different parts of the world.

On April 14, 2021, REVOLVE Circular convened an online press briefing highlighting the opportunities and challenges of a circular economy, and why more efforts are needed to educate citizens, business leaders and policy-makers on circularity. Four speakers from science, education and civil society in Africa, Europe and the USA briefed the attending journalists followed by a Q&A session:

  • Jocelyne Landry Tsonang, Member of the Executive Committee of the African Circular Economy Network ACEN, Cameroon 
  • Walter J.V. Vermeulen, Professor in Governance of Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy, Utrecht University, The Netherlands 
  • Kyle J Ritchie, Education Sustainable Design Lead for CannonDesign and Founder of Circular Economy Studio, USA 
  • Sören Bauer, President of REVOLVE Circular, Germany 

You can download the presentations of the speakers here.

The press briefing was an official side event to the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) organized by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Over 30 journalists from three continents attended and learned about circularity in line with their region enabling them to report about the circular transformation.

Who we are

About us, and how we came together

In January 2021, Sören Bauer had set out to develop a first global survey on how people perceive and understand circularity.

He contacted Walter Vermeulen and Martin Calisto Friant regarding permission to use their respective work on the circular economy action imperatives and on circularity discourses.

Walter and Martin decided to join the effort with in-depth scientific advice and REVOLVE Circular and the University of Utrecht signed a cooperation agreement to co-create and jointly implement the global survey initiative.

Stuart Reigeluth supports the initiative as overall strategic advisor and Vice-President of REVOLVE Circular.

Sören Bauer

President of REVOLVE Circular and Senior Advisor at REVOLVE

Sören Bauer is a strategic change communicator and knowledge manager with twenty years of experience in multi-stakeholder communication and engagement processes in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

He focuses on building and growing REVOLVE Circular, a non-profit organization registered in Austria, and which advocates for a systemic shift away from a linear take-make-waste economy to an inclusive and circular refuse-reduce-rethink society.

Sören holds an MSc in Sustainability Management, an MA in Development Studies as well as a diploma in Knowledge Management and a certificate in strategic communication for governance reform.

Stuart Reigeluth

Founder of REVOLVE Group and Vice-President of REVOLVE Circular

Stuart Reigeluth is Founder of REVOLVE Group and Vice-President of REVOLVE Circular.

He holds an MBA (2015) from the Solvay-Ponts business school (Brussels-Paris) and a MA (2005) in Arab and Middle East Studies from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Stuart has contributed to numerous media outlets, including Foreign Policy, El Pais, El Mundo, al-Hayat, European Voice, EURACTIV, Gulf News, The Daily Star, al-Ahram Weekly, amongst others.

Prof. dr. W.J.V. Vermeulen

Professor in Governance of Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy

Walter Vermeulen, professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University (NL), Vermeulen has a long-standing experience in analyzing progress in implementing sustainability practices in business in many different countries, both inside companies and in their socio-economic networks.

He focuses on new forms of private governance in (international) supply chains, both in Europe as well as in supplier countries and on practices of circular economy.

He also published on the essence of the concept of sustainable development, the social dimension and the need for transdisciplinary research. Vermeulen is the former President of the International Sustainable Development Research Society. His publications are here.

Martin Calisto Friant

PhD Researcher – Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

Martin Calisto Friant is a PhD Researcher on the discourse, theory and practice of the circular economy at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University.

He has an interdisciplinary academic background on international development studies, political ecology and urban planning from McGill University, University of Melbourne, and University College London.

Martin has over seven years of professional experience in sustainability, nature-based solutions and international cooperation, working on several projects in Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas. See his publications here.


For more information

    Imagine Circularity
    is an initiative of

    REVOLVE Circular is a non-profit organization registered in Austria; it advocates for the transformation towards an inclusive circular society. REVOLVE Circular is an initiative of REVOLVE, a Brussels-based sustainability communication agency.

    The mission of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University is to have a positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society through the development of excellent and relevant knowledge.

    Spread the word and help us reach one million participants