Interview on professor Kočí CVUT in Prague – circular economy

Interview of Professor Vladimír Kočí –  Dean of Faculty of Chemistry at Czech Chemical-Technical University in Prague

Interviewer: Jari Makkonen, Senior Adviser & Certified Management Consultant at Mistral Consulting Ltd

  1. What does “Circular Economy” really mean today and why is it an important topic for us?

“It is a platform of various sectors working for a “win-win” situation about how to diminish our impact on the environment. It can become a discipline about how to communicate between people, companies and society about sustainable practises, which help us to maintain healthy environment.”

  1. What would be your advice to companies possibly not working directly in the business of Circular Economy (waste management, other directly related), but designing and producing B2B and B2C products?

“The world is today offering us surprises. China used to accept waste plastics from the European Union. Now they have communicated that this will not be the case as from January 2018. In our waste, we have often 16 types of plastics – how can you efficiently recirculate such raw material of low quality?

We should consider recyclability more in our practises of producing products and packaging. Also, companies should refer more and more often to European Chemical Agency and their lists about potentially dangerous substances to be avoided. Green Chemistry will become increasingly important part of our practises.”

  1. Is there any tax incentive or other for companies to become more attentive on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of their products?

“There is some attempt to this direction in the Czech Green Savings –program, where you get credit, if you use construction materials deemed to be ecological.

Otherwise, just now there are no incentives of this type. Obviously, some investors are already years giving emphasis on BREEM, LEED and similar practises, when making investment into office buildings and similar, but this is more part of their CSR –practises than anything else”

  1. How long you already teach systematically Circular Economy at the Faculty of Chemistry in the Czech Technical University in Prague?

“Traditionally level of water-management engineers has been high in the Czech Republic and we have also developed technologies of recovering polluted soils after 1989.

However, I myself work on this topics since some 10 years. A visit to Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry gave me an idea to apply Life-Cycle Assessment of products (“LCA”) at my work.”

  1. How popular is the whole topic of Circular Economy amongst Czech and foreign students?

“It is not yet that popular. Single topics might be so, but still there is a big hype for ICT –related studies and Circular Economy has not yet gained big popularity amongst Czech and foreign students.”

  1. Where abroad you are looking for new best practises in the Circular economy?

“Mostly in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Mostly at the Universities of Leiden, Lund, Trondheim. Sometimes at the University of Superior Polytechnics in Portugal.”

  1. You are this year organizing the first round of studies for people already active in business life. What was the most difficult, when designing the round of studies for people between 25 and 60 of age and already having working experience?

“It has been familiar to us to make single-topic courses, but to have a general overview of the Circular Economy sector is definitely giving us some extra work. However, we have good partners and lecturers, so it is not difficult to come up with ambitious program. We were worried about not getting enough interest, but it has approved to be just the contrary – we have for the first course 22 students, which we consider success.”

  1. What is special in your University, when working on the Circular Economy –related matters in the Czech Republic and globally?

“We have lot of international co-operation and we are very hands-on and knowledge-applying faculty. We work a lot with for example companies developing construction materials, refineries, waste water treatment plants, energetic industry and number of other.”

  1. What kind of new skills would you personally like to develop within Circular Economy? Are there some challenges for you as Professor and Dean of Faculty for Chemistry?

“I want to have contact to entrepreneurs and increasingly understand, how new technologies and practises are brought to the market. Understanding the laws and their connection to profitable businesses within Circular Economy is interesting to better understand.”

Leave a Reply