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 SurveyHero.com 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.

Timeline 2021/22
Survey reports &
presentation of results
14 April 2021
28 February 2022
01 June 2022
September 2022

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.

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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.

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