Circular Agents: Laboratory for the circular economy

Circular Agents, the free Civic Education course aimed at lower secondary schools in Lombardy, ended on May 21st. 

Exploring and learning about the principles and dynamics of the circular economy to make Generation Z an active protagonist of the ecological transition of their territory is the objective of Circular Agents, the free educational path created by the Circular Economy Lab, an innovation initiative by Cariplo Factory and e Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, created by WeSchool and with the support of Intesa Sanpaolo and Fondazione Cariplo.

Circularity investigators to change the future

IIs it possible to reduce waste? What are the everyday behaviors that trigger the virtuous circuit of the circular economy? What are the potentials and opportunities offered by this new model of production and consumption? How much do I know and how much do people in my family and social network know?
With Circular Agents, more than 1000 young students from schools in Lombardy stepped into the shoes of circularity investigators to discover how daily actions and responsible behaviors can promote a circular and sustainable transition.
Circular Agents is also a participatory research project aimed at mapping the habits and knowledge regarding circularity in the social context closest to young people. Thanks to the support of circularity specialists and their teachers, boys and girls learned how to collect and analyze data and present information, training logical thinking and deductive-scientific skills to become true agents of change in their territory.
The results of the analysis conducted starting from the local surveys were published in the report "Circularity in the Lombardy population".

The educational path

The project is divided into an interdisciplinary and transversal educational pathway that includes theoretical-practical educational activities that involve students in their everyday school and family life.
The Circular Agents route is developed in 3 preparatory modules, delivered on a digital platform, which offer videos, fact sheets, readings and other in-depth materials that allow teachers to guide students in their discovery of circularity.
Each module is an open laboratory where any curiosity can be a source of reflection, research and experimentation. It provides for laboratory and cooperative teaching activities related to the topics addressed and concludes with the preparation of a paper.
There is also a community dedicated to discussion between teachers and the support of specialised tutors.

The investigation phase regarding sustainability

The investigation phase takes place first with the development, by the students, of a questionnaire aimed at measuring knowledge of the field of Circular Economy, and subsequently with the administration of the same questionnaire to classmates, relatives and friends. The data thus collected were aggregated and analyzed in order to draw up a report that outlines the level of awareness regarding sustainability in the territories involved.

Intesa Sanpaolo commitment

The circular economy, if designed in a thoughtful and inclusive manner, has the potential to protect the environment, guide the younger generations towards sustainable behaviour, and improve the economy and social equity of territories.
For some time Intesa Sanpaolo has been committed to indicating to the community the opportunities offered by the circular economy, and for this reason, it supports the associations that contribute to spreading the culture of sustainability and transparency and participates in initiatives that allow the community to experiment as part enabler of new business models.

Further information: Intesa Sanpaolo and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Intesa Sanpaolo is a Strategic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation,, a leading international promoter of the systemic transition towards the Circular Economy.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines the circular economy as a system in which materials never become waste and nature regenerates. In a circular economy, products and materials are kept in circulation through processes such as maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, recycling and composting. The circular economy addresses climate change and other global challenges, such as biodiversity loss, waste and pollution, by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of limited resources.
The circular economy is based on three design-led principles such as the elimination of waste and pollution, the circulation of products and materials (at their maximum value) and the regeneration of nature.