Douglas Johnson-Poensgen is the Founder and CEO of Circulor, an organisation enabling manufacturers to trace their supply chains, in order to ensure responsible sourcing, sustainable production and effective recycling and reverse logistics.
TBT: What does purpose mean to you?
Douglas: To make a positive and lasting contribution to society at large.
TBT: What is your idea of professional fulfillment?
Douglas: To build, to drive change, and to create value.
TBT: What leader inspires you?
Douglas: Fridtjof Nansen, my Father’s godfather. He was a polar explorer turned diplomat, who created the world’s first refugee passport after the First World War and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922. He is a role model of courageous leadership and service.
TBT: When do you feel the most purposeful?
Douglas: When I can see a clear connection between what I spend my time on and real change. I lead a technology company that is supporting big manufacturers to do business more sustainably. This is the defining challenge of our lifetimes if we are to combat global warming.
TBT: What’s the hardest thing about trying to be purpose-driven? What’s your hope for the future of business?
Douglas: Nothing. I am fortunate that the business we are building was created with the mission to align people, planet and profit. There is no tension between them; our impact will grow as we acquire more customers.
Doing business more sustainably is good business. Many brands have proved it. Institutional investors and regulators are putting pressure on businesses to make meaningful changes. I hope that this movement accelerates.
“Doing business more sustainably is good business. Many brands have proved it. Institutional investors and regulators are putting pressure on businesses to make meaningful changes.”
TBT: What are the qualities you most like in a person?
Douglas: Openness, grit, and kindness.
TBT: What cause are you really passionate about?
Douglas: Enabling businesses to become more sustainable.
TBT: When have you felt like giving up?
Douglas: When the personal risks you’ve taken to build a business don’t seem worthwhile.
That’s where grit comes in. Something I still remember from my military training is that no matter how tiring or wet the night is, eventually you will see the cold grey light of dawn.
TBT: What do you want to be remembered for?
Douglas: Making a difference.
TBT: What gets you up in the morning?
Douglas: I enjoy what I do.
TBT: What keeps you motivated on tough days?
Douglas: I feel that what we do is really worthwhile, and we are starting to make a real difference in the world.