Neos, the network of enterprising senior citizens, set up the project Circulair@Neos in cooperation with the Network Conscious Consumption. The objective of this project is to introduce our local Neos clubs and their members to the principles of circular economy and to have them integrate a number of circular practices into their operations.
In concrete terms, by means of an enthusing campaign andinspiration brochure, we want to encourage members to organise activities within their club around circularity. This can be done, for instance, by visiting an organisation that already applies certain circular principles, inviting a speaker with interesting circular ideas, organising certain collection activities, etc.
We believe that associations can play an important role as a midfield player to realise social change, such as the transition to a circular economy. This is even more applicable in our case, with members from a slightly older demographic where concepts such as 'circular economy' and 'sustainable consumption' are not yet very integrated.
Indeed, at the start of our project we noticed that in our clubs there were still a lot of (pre)judgements and clichés about circularity. It is important to respond to this in the right way.
Our ambition is to eventually introduce circularity to the 36,000 members of the 220 local clubs of our non-profit organisation.
Together, we set up an enthusiastic, challenging campaign tailored to the club scene and created a bulky inspiration brochure to bring local Neos clubs into the circular economy story.
Already 46 Neos clubs explored the circular economy theme and registered some 60 circular projects, such as attending lectures on circularity, circular company visits, (collection) actions on recycling, etc.
Thanks to one of the collection activities, we collected hundreds of mobile phones for recycling, which allowed us, in cooperation with Natuurpunt, to already plant 65 trees. (The rest will follow in 2021).
To conclude, we made a nice list of all the results and wrote a digital report about our approach and lessons learned. It is available on our website and will be distributed via newsletters and social media. There will also be a festive closing event.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
We were able to demonstrate that a non-profit association such as Neos is a necessary midfield player to achieve social change. The trust in our own association created openness to themes that would otherwise remain under the radar of a large part of the older target audience.
Our good cooperation with the Conscious Consumption Network provided us with the necessary knowledge and expertise on circularity and created support for a government policy that is committed to a sustainable way of producing and consuming.
Our association's engine needed time to get going. With the right amount of patience and space, and by involving members from the very start of the development of the campaign, we were better able to respond to resistance and (prejudiced) opinions. In this way, enthusiasm slowly spread through the entire association.
46Participating Neos Clubs
8.230Reached Neos members
300Collected mobile phones
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The Circular@Neos project proves that associations can play a positive role in the transition to a circular economy. After all, it is in the safe, warm and open context of an association's life that people develop the courage and strength to help themselves and each other develop permanently.
Given the success of this project, Circulair@Neos will continue beyond the subsidy period, until we reach our ultimate goal and all our Neos clubs are 'circular together'.