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Join this free online course to learn about circular design and how you can create products that meet the requirements for a circular economy.

Self-paced since June 21, 2023
Language: English
Subtitles (auto-generated): Deutsch, English, Français, Español

Course information

Course Summary

In our previous course, Helping Business Thrive in a Circular Economy, we introduced you to the circular economy. In this course we will focus on how we can create the products we need in a circular way. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 80% of the environmental impact of a product comes from the initial design stage. For example, if you want to make a product more circular, you might design it to be recycled, or the component parts could be repaired or re-used. This is not just a choice of materials. There are many other factors to consider, like the business model, how the parts can be recycled or returned, and the ecosystem of partners involved.

What you will learn is that the design of products and their packaging is absolutely crucial when it comes to creating a circular economy. In this course you will find out:

  • What circular design is
  • What role design plays for products, packaging, and systems
  • What regenerative design is
  • How you can learn from nature, and
  • How technology can help.

You will hear from many external speakers, including design and biomimicry experts, as well as speakers from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, WRAP, packaging providers, and CPG companies.

Here is what some participants are saying about the course:

  • "I must say that the SAP course on "Design for a circular economy" exceeded my expectation! For me, chapters 1 and 2 are the highlights, showcasing what the practitioners have been doing in the field across many industries. " Read the original post

  • "I am very pleased and grateful to everyone who has made this possible. The quality of the material, as well as of all the exhibitors, has been splendid. " Read the original post

  • "Well done! In 3 weeks, the learner was guided through the labyrinth of circular design, climate action, plastic pollution and more. I have greater conviction for reducing plastic waste and am more attuned to the scientific innovations supporting climate action. " Read the original post

  • "I am a Researcher, and one of my research topics is Circular Economy. Overall, I am impressed with this course. Thanks a lot for all the efforts." Read the original post

  • "Dear SAP members, I want to thank and congratulate you for the course. It was very interesting and I learned about quite many interesting sites and organizations. For ths topic, the interview format was very nice." Read the original post

Course Characteristics

Course Content

Week 1: What Is Design?
Week 2: Circular Design and Packaging
Week 3: How Is SAP Tackling Design for a Circular Economy?
Week 4: Final Exam

Target Audience

  • Anyone interested in learning how to deliver new business models for a circular economy
  • Anyone interested in creating a sustainable business
  • Designers
  • Specialists in product research and development, marketing and sales, sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, operations, supply chain, finance, and IT

Course Requirements

There are no prerequisites for participating in this course.

Course contents

  • Week 1:

    What Is Design?
  • Week 2:

    Circular Design and Packaging
  • Week 3:

    How Is SAP Tackling Design for a Circular Economy?
  • I Like, I Wish:

    We Love Your Feedback … And Want More
  • Final Exam:

    Good Luck!

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Course End
Jun 21, 2023
Course Start
May 23, 2023


This course was rated with 4.44 stars in average from 537 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 50% of the course material.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Darren West

Darren West is the product management lead for SAP’s Circular Economy solutions. His role is to work with customers, sales and pre-sales colleagues, partners, solutions teams, and product owners to expand existing and build new sustainability products, particularly those focused on circular economy topics such as “circular design”, “regenerative business” and “material passports”. 

Darren works on co-innovation with strategic partners such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, as well as various academic bodies and global consultancies on circular economy topics. He is currently focused on the “responsible design” topic for SAP Responsible Design and Production.

Stephen Jamieson

Stephen Jamieson is global head of Circular Economy solutions at SAP. In this role, he leads the creation and development of digital solutions to design-out waste, keep products in use, and regenerate natural systems. In this capacity he works closely with global businesses on their transformation roadmaps, helping them move from linear take-make-waste approaches to the implementation of circular systems and sustainable business processes aligned to global impact.

As founder of the SAP Plastics Challenge, Stephen has been working collaboratively with industry, NGOs, and regulatory stakeholders to develop design-led solutions aligned to SAP’s 2030 Clean Ocean Vision.

Ritu Saluja

Ritu Saluja leads engagement with SAP’s strategic customers to shape and develop industry solutions based on sustainability to eliminate waste, maximize resources, and accelerate circular business models.

She has deep expertise across the consumer product industry and sustainability, and has led brands globally with organizations such as Walgreens Boots Alliance, Coty, and Reckitt.

Ritu’s top skills include not only building digital strategies for enterprise transformations but also product innovation and lifecycle management. She has a Master’s in Business from London Business School and is a yoga enthusiast.  

Ezinne Osuamadi

Ezinne Osuamadi is a product manager with the Sustainability team at SAP. She is a Certified Professional Scrum Product Owner and a software developer who loves to code. Ezinne is passionate about empowering women, and founded the Ladies Crushing IT Africa, a community of technology-driven women who have an interest or passion for tech, to connect and share stories of their journey in technology.

Ezinne is a graduate of Information Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. In her spare time, she organizes events for Google Women TechMakers in West Africa as a Google Women TechMakers mentor and ambassador and her NGO, Ladies Crushing IT Africa, She also worked with Meta as a certified Digital Marketing Trainer for the ”Boost With Facebook Program”. She has trained over 20,000 Africans on digital skills with the “Grow with Google Program”. If a project involves coding, event organizing, or training, Ezinne is probably into it.

Katharina Schweitzer

Katharina Schweitzer is a business process consultant specializing in SAP sustainability solutions. Before joining SAP in 2021, Katharina was a scientific officer at the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). There, she co-established the Circular Economy Initiative Germany. Within this initiative, Katharina was the main coordinator of the working group on packaging, which is why she has several publications in this area and is regularly invited to speak at events such as the "German Packaging Congress".

Follow Katharina on LinkedIn

Joe IIes

(Guest) Circular Design Lead for Ellen MacArthur Foundation

As Circular Design Programme Lead, Joe Iles’ role is to inspire and empower the world’s designers to create products, services, and systems for the circular economy. Part of the team since 2011, Joe has helped shape the circular economy narrative, crafting stories and messages to reach new audiences and improve understanding. 

Reniera O'Donnell

(Guest) from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Following 18 years in local government, Reniera O’Donnell is now immersed in the circular economy.

Having led the formal education program at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for 3 years, she now leads the Foundation's Food Initiative, which focuses on the impact food design can have on shaping landscapes and rebuilding natural systems. By redesigning food products on the market and incorporating ingredients which are regeneratively sourced, lower impact, diverse, or upcycled, we can have a food system that doesn't bend nature but rather enables nature to thrive. 

Now based on the Isle of Wight, Reniera is originally from South Africa, where she studied Zoology and Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town. 

Christian Rahnsch

(Guest) Director in Strategic Customer Transformation for SAP Signavio

Christian Rahnsch is a director in Strategic Customer Transformation for SAP Signavio. His focus is on business process management in the context of sustainability.

Christian has been working in the consulting world for over 20 years, supporting some of largest companies around the globe on their business transformation journeys.

Follow Christian on SAP Community

Saskia van den Muijsenberg

(Guest) Co-Founder of BiomimicryNL

Saskia van den Muijsenberg is co-founder and director of BiomimicryNL (2010), and a Certified Biomimicry Professional with 25 years of experience in marketing, change management, and strategic innovation. With a variety of Fortune 500 companies, Saskia catalyzes innovation by enabling others to explore life's design strategies to develop new ideas into real business opportunities. 

As an  avid storyteller, Saskia shares her passion for biomimicry and how learning from nature may help address the challenges organizations and our society face today. 

Sian Sutherland

(Guests) Founder,

Sian Sutherland is Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet, one of the most recognized and respected organizations tackling the plastics crisis.

Igniting social change, creating brands, campaigns and businesses with soul is Sian’s passion. A multi-award winner, including Female Marketer of the Year, CEW Achiever Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, and British Inventor of the Year, Sian is a serial entrepreneur with a varied background covering advertising, skincare, Michelin Star restaurants, film production, and brand creation design agencies.  

In 2017, Sian co-founded A Plastic Planet, using a pro-business, pro-solutions and pro-active approach to build a different kind of organization, and help the world turn off the plastic tap. Early 2023, it launched Plastic-Free, the first materials and systems solutions platform, empowering the 160m global creatives to design-out waste at source.  

Claire Shrewsbury

(Guests) Director Insights & Innovation, WRAP

Claire Shrewsbury is Director of Insights & Innovation at WRAP. In her role she is responsible for WRAP’s policy and insights work, technical support for local authorities, and grant management across the UK.   The teams support the UK Department for Environment and Rural Affairs in its implementation of the UK Resources & Waste Strategy, and similar support programs for the devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Claire joined WRAP in 2008. Prior to this, she was a consultant with AEA Technology.

Chris Else

(Guest) Head of Packaging Design, DS Smith

Chris Else joined DS Smith at the beginning of 2021, in the full lockdown period. He has spent his entire career in the packaging industry, working in design, sales, and supply-chain roles.

Always with a firm focus on the importance of design and the required development of design process in the industry, Chris brings a lifetime of experience and perspective to the role of Head of Design.

Sarah Gillespie

Sarah Gillespie is part of the Circular Economy program at SAP, responsible for Customer Success. She covers topics including go-to-market, adoption, and marketing for industry solutions today, following roles in Sustainability, Customer Success and Corporate Strategy in London and New York.

Sarah is passionate about solving problems, sustainability, and equality. She created “Love Your Planet”, an education initiative, across North America with the New York Sustainability team and is co-lead for SAP UK’s Business Women's Network. 

Outside of work, Sarah is an avid photographer, reader, comedian, and traveler, and has lived in 4 countries in the past decade.

Michael Jordan

Mike Jordan is an education portfolio manager at SAP, responsible for customer education on a range of topics including SAP’s sustainability solutions, AI/ML solutions, and data science. He is also an SAP academic ambassador which, for a number of years, has involved him teaching Masters students data science and speaking at conferences.

Mike has long been interested in the ethical use of technology and data science to support environmental and social goals, more recently through the circular economy.