Superheroes of the World: Engineers and Business Leaders

Youth Climate Action Team Inc.
3 min readMar 11, 2024

With the rise of environmental challenges and growing concerns about resource depletion, the need for sustainable business practices has never been more pressing. To preserve the planet, the next generation of engineers and business leaders can emerge as superheroes to shift the world towards a circular economy. A circular economy fosters a closed-loop system that reuses raw materials from products to produce zero waste through the principles of circular design and industrial symbiosis.

Circular Design:

Circular Design is the process of designing products that are reusable, recyclable, and repairable to minimize waste and maximize the use of used raw materials. Engineers can employ principles of eco-design to create products that are durable, repairable, and recyclable. They can consider using materials such as recycled plastics and fiber pellets, as well as sustainable wood. When products are crafted with a focus on durability and ease of disassembly, it enhances their lifespan and streamlines material recovery during disposal. Business leaders drive strategic direction and sustainability within their organizations, as well as creating a budget for circular design initiatives. They also establish partnerships with suppliers to source sustainable materials, ensuring engineering designs are aligned with the company’s values.

Industrial Symbiosis:

Industrial Symbiosis is an approach where an industry makes use of the waste produced by another industry. Business leaders play a pivotal role in establishing partnerships with other businesses to advance industrial symbiosis. By leveraging negotiating skills, business leaders can initiate outreach to other businesses, establishing a foundation for long-term partnerships focused on sustainability and resource efficiency. Engineers can implement change by developing systems and technologies that enable the exchange of materials between businesses, fostering a closed-loop ecosystem where waste becomes a valuable resource. For example, engineers can create resource-sharing platforms, such as digital networks or exchange hubs, to facilitate the efficient exchange of materials. This collaborative approach not only reduces the environmental footprint of companies but also enhances economic growth opportunities.

Nike’s Sustainability Initiatives:

Nike, a global leader in athletic footwear and appeal, has implemented a sustainability initiative known as Nike Grind to transform materials, such as fiber, leather, and textiles in the production of new Nike products. Engineers play a pivotal role within Nike Grind’s design stages and manufacturing processes as they prioritize using sustainable materials without compromising performance. Through this initiative, Nike has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 64 percent and diverted 97 percent of waste from landfills by engaging in circular design principles.

Although Nike does not engage in industrial symbiosis practices, business leaders within Nike can engage in industrial symbiosis by partnering with Bridgestone, a global tire manufacturing company. This will allow them to use recycled rubber for the soles of Air Forces. Since rubber undergoes complex production processes, utilizing the recycled waste from Bridgestone can reduce Nike’s operating costs and minimize the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

In conclusion, the transition to a circular economy represents a monumental opportunity for the next generation of engineers and business leaders to drive positive change. By embracing circular design and industrial symbiosis principles, these emerging leaders are not just shaping the economy of tomorrow — they are building a resilient and sustainable future for generations to come.



Youth Climate Action Team Inc.

501(c)4 youth movement bridging the gap between non-climate groups & intersectional climate action.