Michael Kuhndt

Michael Kuhndt

Executive Director
Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP)


Michael Kuhndt, Founder and Executive Director of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of international co-operation, development and sustainability.

He has cooperated with organizations such as UNEP, UNIDO, Worldbank, ILO, the European Commission, the Wuppertal Institut, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, and various European consumer good companies as well as ministries and associations of the medium-sized industry. In addition, he managed programs in the fields of strategy development for sustainable consumption, development / set up for an approach for sustainable lifestyles, upscaling of sustainable business models, triple bottom line innovation based on multistakeholder approaches on enterprise level, on value chains and industry level.

In addition, he implemented programmes for numerous multinational companies including the European Aluminium Association, Rewe Group, Metro Cash&Carry, PUMA, Henkel, Nestlé, Barclays Bank, Canon, EMI, Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola and Deutsche Telekom.

Michael Kuhndt was Co-Chairman of the Task Force on Sustainable Consumption and Green Development at the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) and has been a member of various international advisory boards as well as expert groups and has been lecturing at several universities.

Paper: The Consumer-Driven Circular Economy

“Circular economy discussion and actions are mostly driven by industrial leadership and focus on production transformation. Consumers are considered as passive receiver of products and services instead of co-creator of circular value, and discussions on how to activate consumers’ enabling roles for circular economy innovation and adoption are largely muted.
However, consumers’ engagement cannot be neglected, considering that sustainable consumption (including choosing, using and disposing of products) is key to enabling smaller resource loop, which enhances the value and efficiency of circular economy. Engaging consumers in designing and practicing circular economic models that better respond to their needs can enable the development and propagation of value-added solutions.
Therefore it is essential to stimulate more systematic innovations incorporating consumer lifestyle perspective, and enhance consumers’ involvement in the value creation for circular economy. This can be done in a step by step approach. First, you need to identify barriers or hotspots to consumer lifestyle favouring circular economy, while at the same time mapping existing good practices that can be supported and strengthened. Secondly, you need to inspire and prioritize innovations that will involve consumers as value co-creator of the circular economy. Thirdly, you will need to test certain innovations to see if they are aligned with what consumers need and with their lifestyles.Finally, to mainstream the new innovations, you need to build alliances through global networks and replicated impacts.”