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Bag to the Beginning: Scaling Up a Circular Economy Solution

New independent study opportunity with Lo & Sons, makers of quality sustainable travel products

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) is looking for a team of students (2-3) to participate in an independent study (equivalent to a full-credit course: 3 credits YSE/4 units SOM) on scaling up a circular solution for used and returned bags in partnership with Lo & Sons. Over the course of the semester, the students will participate in interviews with key stakeholders including CEO Jan Lo and others, perform research and conduct life cycle analysis to determine the best way to set up a circular supply chain for Lo & Sons’ bags. The process will be student-driven, with advice and guidance from CBEY staff and staff at Lo & Sons. The research will culminate in a presentation to Lo & Sons leadership, with the opportunity to also publish a related blog post/article/report.

Issue Summary 

Lo & Sons is a minority-owned family business that’s on a mission to inspire and empower people to go places, while leaving a positive impact on people's lives and the planet. They create thoughtfully and sustainably designed travel products sold direct-to-consumer. 

Earlier this summer, Lo & Sons created a prototype for upcycling one of their most popular designs - the Catalina Tote - made entirely out of used or damaged Lo and Sons bags. The goal of this independent study is to design a circular supply chain for upcycling this solution, and creating a supply of components like zippers from other brands, especially within the US. 

The students will engage with Lo and Sons leadership and partners, experts across the manufacturing and supply chain landscape and other staff and faculty at Yale to understand what barriers exist to scaling up this idea, its environmental impact and how to tackle them.


Devise a plan to establish a supply chain for scaling up Lo & Sons’ upcycled tote idea. Perform a life cycle analysis to determine the climate impacts and create a final presentation, along with a written output in the form of a blog post/article/report. 

Stages of Work:

  • Interview key stakeholders
  • Map out existing supply chain
  • Perform life cycle analysis 
  • Design a circular supply chain
  • Synthesize information into a presentation and a written output

Staff & Advisors:

  • Urvi Talaty, Stuart DeCew - CBEY staff leads
  • Jan Lo, CEO, Lo and Sons
  • Additional faculty at SOM and/or YSE

How to apply

To apply for this independent study, please send your resume and a statement of interest no longer than one page to Urvi Talaty ( In the statement, please list any relevant experience you may have and why you are interested in this opportunity and how it will benefit your professional development/career. Please send your application materials no later than 11:59 PM on January 30, 2022.