Bio (50 words about you) Alex Lemille is the CEC Local Organiser in Lille, France, and a CEC Mentor with vast experience in identifying circular value. He is the Founder of Wizeimpact and Co-Founder of the African Circular Economy Network.

Alex’s prime focus is to understand how value will be created in the circular economy. “Optimising Circular Value (#OCV) is about ensuring that we walk the talk of circularity once and for all. OCV is about assessing whether a so-called circular solution has the positive impact it claims to have. By creating value in our next economy, we have to confirm that a service or an experience is really decoupling our resource needs from human advancement.”

Languages: English and French.

Mentorship Strength
Innovation | Business models | Impact Assessment

Alex Lemille tells CEC about his background
“Since 2010 I have been pursuing a journey to answer many questions I had related to the climate, people, and the way we live. While doing my MBA electives in social innovation and corporate social responsibility, I performed analyses for the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), trying to improve the way UNGC members were communicating about the implementation of their Ten Principles. I later realised, as a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) trainer, that companies could still be questioned about the way they work, no matter how many certifications they had. The system in which they evolved was and is faulty. That was the issue.

In 2011 when I was involved in web conferences with Dame Ellen MacArthur, I then had my ‘aha’ moment. Later, built on the current knowledge, arguing that we could still be pushing the Circular Economy a little further. This proposal is explained in the ‘Circular Economy 2.0’ approach and its missing two dimensions.

I grew up in France but spent most of my career overseas. First in the smartcard and telecom industry, working across Europe and with the USA. Later I was based in Middle East, and eventually lived and worked in Africa. It was in Africa where I identified the need for more social innovations to include more people in our economies. When I was in charge of the Celtel International key account, I saw amazing initiatives: a company aligning itself to the people’s needs with well-designed products that help people communicate and grow their business, not matter how small, in an affordable and adaptive way. I then became the head of social innovation and impact assessment at C3 (Consult and Coach for a Cause). That was then the beginning of the era of social entrepreneurship, impact investment, and the Social Business model with Professor Yunus. I have become an accredited practitioner in the field of impact assessment, which I now use to assess the circularity of circular solutions or projects.”

The main challenge when applying circularity
“I have several worries as explained in my articles, but will mention only two here: recycling and our fanaticism with technologies. First, the circular economy is the understanding of eco-systemic metabolisms so that we align with them. Recycling belongs to the linear economy. I understand that we need to talk about it and improve it, but our prime focus should be on the circularity of our system and the way we live within it.

Second, we all seem to believe that technologies will do the work and fix everything. Future technologies are only part of the answer to the challenges we are currently facing. In this next economy, we will have to decouple our “logical mechanics” way of thinking, pushing our thought processes into new territory. Aligning ourselves with natural cycles should encompass other dimensions which are not currently addressed as priorities in the debates today. Circular Economy is also about distributed power, it is also about changing our value system, it is also about reaching well-being for all, to name a few. This is possible. Let’s do it!”

Best tip for a circular startup
Be as bold as you can, forget the system in which you’ve lived in, invent everything again and again with hungry, fresh eyes, please…
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