The circular economy shows its human side

March 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

The circular economy shows its human side Lauren Phipps Mon, 03/29/2021 – 01:30 This article originally appeared in the State of Green Business 2021. You can download the entire report here . As the circular economy ramps up, we’ve seen impressive innovation in materials, products, models and processes — but innovation on how we treat people has been notably absent. However, as companies, cities and countries alike adopt a more holistic lens and embrace circular principles, they are recognizing the opportunity to drive social change in lockstep with an economic transformation that puts people at the center.  In the context of sourcing and supply chains, we’ve seen this movie before. Facing legal pressure from governments, reputational risk from consumers and pushback from NGOs, the past two decades have seen a dramatic shift in sourcing protocols and upstream supplier engagement in an attempt to eradicate forced and child labor, conflict minerals and other human rights violations in supply chains. Yet, these efforts traditionally have acknowledged only one phase of a material’s life. In a circular supply chain, sourcing no longer focuses exclusively on virgin materials. As companies take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products, hazardous conditions in which a child disassembles a smartphone is as problematic as cobalt sourced using forced child labor in a conflict zone to make the smartphone in the first place. While the Basel Convention criminalized transboundary movement of hazardous waste (of which most electronics are classified) to limit some human health implications of electronics waste streams, plastic waste is another story, only recently having been included in the convention. In the absence of formal materials management infrastructure, waste collectors — skilled entrepreneurs in the informal economy that gather, sort and sell used bottles, caps and other valuable materials, sometimes culling them from landfills — have filled in a necessary gap to slow the leakage of plastic waste into waterways and through coastal communities. And as a growing number of companies commit to recycled plastics targets and circular plastics aspirations, the opportunity and necessity of partnering with these communities is becoming increasingly clear. Companies are beginning to expand the scope of sourcing considerations, deploying what they have learned in sourcing virgin materials to sourcing from previously used products and materials and applying these learnings downstream. HP Inc. offers a now-iconic example of meaningful downstream collaboration in Haiti, having partnered with waste-collection communities with the help of First Mile Coalition, an initiative of the nonprofit organization Work, to support the social infrastructure of plastic waste as well as the physical infrastructure of materials recovery. In 2019, HP invested $2 million in a new plastics washing line in Port-au-Prince to support the collection of ocean-bound plastic in the community, which the company buys from a local business to use in its laptops and ink cartridges. The effort not only has provided HP with a reliable supply of post-consumer recycled plastics to slowly wean itself off virgin materials, it’s also created more than 1,000 new jobs in Haiti by expanding the region’s recycling capacity. HP’s investment is an example of how capital is being deployed differently in the fight against plastic waste, focusing on community leadership rather than solely a technical, infrastructure development intervention. We’re seeing a similar, holistic approach to capital deployment to address the plastic waste crisis globally, including the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s stated commitment to community engagement. Just as companies have prioritized transparency and traceability in upstream operations to address human rights, a circular supply chain calls for the same level of scrutiny downstream. Companies are beginning to expand the scope of sourcing considerations, deploying what they have learned in sourcing virgin materials to sourcing from previously used products and materials and applying these learnings downstream. But the opportunity for economic improvement isn’t limited to efforts in the Global South, and currently national governments are leading the way in a human-centered circular economy transition.  At the forefront is Europe’s Green Deal, the policy framework intended to bring the European Union to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while decoupling economic growth from resource extraction and leaving no person or place behind. The aim is not one or the other, but rather an integrated approach to resource stewardship, responsibility and climate mitigation. The European Commission’s associated Circular Economy Action Plan emphasizes the opportunity for social and economic development through circular value chains — to the tune of 700,000 new employment opportunities by 2030 in Europe alone. Circular business models require a suite of new expertise, from repair and refurbishment to disassembly, recovery and recycling, making way for a new class of sustainable and dignified jobs. One U.S.-based example is Homeboy Electronics Recycling, a social enterprise offering e-waste management and IT disposal while providing employment and training to people who face systemic barriers to work. A human-centered circular economy can’t focus solely on jobs and material management, but also must ensure access to the benefits of these new models. Consider the benefit to consumers of saving money by buying in bulk: Whether you’re buying dog food, rice or ibuprofen, buying more than a single serving upfront saves money and packaging. But without the cash to invest upfront, low-resource communities are burdened with a poverty tax in the form of a markup — up to 50 percent — for buying food and other necessities in small formats rather than in bulk. Chilean startup Algramo aims to address this by offering consumers the ability to buy the exact quantity they need but allowing them to pay the bulk price. Algramo partnered with consumer goods companies, including Colgate-Palmolive, Nestlé, Clorox and Unilever, to make heir products and reusable packaging formats available and accessible to everyone. The circular economy is a means, not an end, offering strategies and frameworks to create economic flows on top of material flows in support of a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous system. It works only if it can transform systems, not reinforce existing ones.  As human rights, economic inclusion and social equity come into focus within circular initiatives, the opportunity for a holistic understanding of what circular economies can enable is becoming increasingly clear. Pull Quote Companies are beginning to expand the scope of sourcing considerations, deploying what they have learned in sourcing virgin materials to sourcing from previously used products and materials and applying these learnings downstream. Topics Circular Economy State of Green Business Report Human Rights Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A child picks up recyclable waste in a landfill. Shutterstock Tinnakorn jorruang Close Authorship

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The circular economy shows its human side

Students design skateboard wheels made from chewing gum

March 26, 2021 by  
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Chewing gum: it’s a type of plastic pollution that we’re just not talking about enough. Most modern chewing gums are made from synthetic plastic polymers that don’t break down or biodegrade. That means when you toss your used chewing gum on the sidewalk or stick it underneath a bench, you’re littering. Not only that, but chewing gum is commonly mistaken for food by wild animals (especially birds), causing them to choke or die. Two design students from the L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique in France are imagining ways to combat this silent pollution problem creatively. Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer have created a concept that turns used chewing gum into skateboard wheels. Related: Sam Kaplan unwrapped 500 sticks of gum to create futuristic geometric structures They got the idea while brainstorming for a designed-focused way to tackle the gum pollution issue in urban areas. “We thought, why not take this characteristic waste of the city and use it to make it greener,” Maupetit and Fischer told Inhabitat. “The bold colors and texture of chewing gum is the perfect fit for use in skatewheels.” The idea is to bring the gum from the streets back to the streets in a sustainable way. The students envisioned a fictional partnership between Mentos, one of Europe’s biggest chewing gum producers, and Vans Europe, a popular manufacturer of skateboarding shoes and accessories. The students’ project proposes a line of vibrant skateboard wheels sold by Vans that uses old gum collected from the streets. How would they go about collecting the gum? According to the students, Mentos would install “gum boards” in urban areas to help spread the word and inspire passersby to stick their used gum to the signs instead of tossing it elsewhere. The gum would then be cleaned, molded with a stabilizing agent and stained with natural dye to form the base of the wheels. “Our initiative is supposed to clean the streets in a sustainable way. That is why we invented a system that will transform used wheels and turn them into new ones,” the students explained. “No more waste is created and the material stays in use.” + L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique Images via Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer

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Students design skateboard wheels made from chewing gum

Students design skateboard wheels made from chewing gum

March 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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Chewing gum: it’s a type of plastic pollution that we’re just not talking about enough. Most modern chewing gums are made from synthetic plastic polymers that don’t break down or biodegrade. That means when you toss your used chewing gum on the sidewalk or stick it underneath a bench, you’re littering. Not only that, but chewing gum is commonly mistaken for food by wild animals (especially birds), causing them to choke or die. Two design students from the L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique in France are imagining ways to combat this silent pollution problem creatively. Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer have created a concept that turns used chewing gum into skateboard wheels. Related: Sam Kaplan unwrapped 500 sticks of gum to create futuristic geometric structures They got the idea while brainstorming for a designed-focused way to tackle the gum pollution issue in urban areas. “We thought, why not take this characteristic waste of the city and use it to make it greener,” Maupetit and Fischer told Inhabitat. “The bold colors and texture of chewing gum is the perfect fit for use in skatewheels.” The idea is to bring the gum from the streets back to the streets in a sustainable way. The students envisioned a fictional partnership between Mentos, one of Europe’s biggest chewing gum producers, and Vans Europe, a popular manufacturer of skateboarding shoes and accessories. The students’ project proposes a line of vibrant skateboard wheels sold by Vans that uses old gum collected from the streets. How would they go about collecting the gum? According to the students, Mentos would install “gum boards” in urban areas to help spread the word and inspire passersby to stick their used gum to the signs instead of tossing it elsewhere. The gum would then be cleaned, molded with a stabilizing agent and stained with natural dye to form the base of the wheels. “Our initiative is supposed to clean the streets in a sustainable way. That is why we invented a system that will transform used wheels and turn them into new ones,” the students explained. “No more waste is created and the material stays in use.” + L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique Images via Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer

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Students design skateboard wheels made from chewing gum

Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

February 12, 2021 by  
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Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition James Woolven Fri, 02/12/2021 – 01:00 This article originally appeared on Circulate News . Measuring financial results, customer retention, productivity and inventory are all commonplace, but these measurements alone are no longer enough to tell a business whether it will stand the test of time. To be successful, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses need to consider their social and environmental impact — or else be caught out by changing legislation or left behind by customers. What once simply could be written off as a “negative externality” has financial implications and has to be central to business strategies. This means changing the way businesses see their role in society and, ultimately, transforming the economy. Our current economic model is based on extraction and waste. It is linear — we take materials from the planet, make products from them and eventually throw them away. This take-make-waste economic model fundamentally cannot work long term. It relies on the extraction and eventual disposal of finite materials and — to satisfy an ever-growing demand for resources — encroachment into natural ecosystems, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and staggering biodiversity loss. Alternatively, an economic system based on the recirculation of resources and the regeneration of natural systems offers a way forward that can work in the long term. This model, known as the circular economy, could help tackle the world’s biggest challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution. The circular economy is underpinned by three principles, each driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; and regenerate natural systems. Circular economy is gathering momentum and is being embraced across the public and private sectors around the world. For example, more than 50 global leaders, including CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies, policymakers, philanthropists, academics and other influential individuals, signed a joint statement in June calling for a transition to a circular economy in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In the plastics sector, more than 1,000 organizations have united behind, and are working towards, a common vision of a circular economy for plastics . As organizations begin to make strides in their efforts to transition away from a linear way of doing business and to implement real-world changes, clear and comparable metrics will be valuable for assessing their success and planning future actions. It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. Jarkko Havas, insights and analysis lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, explains: “Implementing changes can only be effective when we have a clear vision of a future state, an understanding of where we are now and a view of how quickly we are moving between the two states. Measuring progress and tracking changes is an essential factor in the transition to a circular economy.” Measuring the circular economy transition for businesses To understand whether business activity is achieving the aims of a circular economy, business leaders need access to data that measures the circular economy performance of their business, alongside the more commonplace metrics used for assessing the business. However, measuring circular economy performance is a relatively new area and this can lead to misinterpretation of circular economy, with the outcome being well-intentioned incremental tweaks to linear systems, rather than the adoption of truly circular business models. The concept of a circular economy, and what it means for businesses, has been interpreted in many ways. As a result, standardization of the concepts behind circular economy and their inclusion into broader non-financial reporting standards are areas of ongoing work. Measuring circular economy performance also requires data on areas of a business that haven’t traditionally been measured, such as the circularity of water flows or physical assets. Havas adds: “It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. On an organizational level, we also need to ensure that the circular economy is a part of strategy, risk assessment and organizational targets, to name a few.” In order to measure circular economy performance, it is important to take stock of the concrete results of a company’s efforts to transition to a circular economy — to create a snapshot of the company’s current circularity, in terms of material flows and business models. However, it is also important to look at things that enable the transition to happen, such as senior leadership buy-in and necessary infrastructure. This gives an insight into companies’ circular economy potential. As more businesses have employed circular economy models, a number of initiatives have been developed to measure circular economy performance. This includes the Circular Transition Indicators by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circulytics tool, of which version 2.0 recently has been launched. Broader reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative, also have started to embed concepts of the circular economy. Anna Krotova, senior manager for standards at the Global Reporting Initiative, says: “Since its last revision in 2016, we have updated the GRI Waste Standard to reflect the continued transition to the circular economy. This update will help thousands of GRI reporters look beyond operational waste, towards understanding how their activities, products and services cause or relate to waste impacts, and where in the value chain they are exposed to risk. Consequently, this will enable organizations to identify circularity opportunities and demonstrate to their stakeholders — such as communities, customers, investors and governments — how they are adopting a holistic and progressive approach to waste and resources management.” Circular economy measurement is also an ongoing area of work for Europe’s new Circular Economy Action Plan. The action plan calls for improved metrics to monitor the progress towards circularity. This monitoring should cover the interlinkages between circularity, climate neutrality and the zero-pollution ambition. The Bellagio process is an initiative taken by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research and the European Environment Agency to respond to this need. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. Peder Jensen, expert, circular economy and resource efficiency, at the European Environment Agency, says: “Circularity is an idea as old as nature itself. So it is really the linear model that is the ‘odd one out.’ Only by transitioning to a circular model can we ever establish a real model for sustainable development. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. “The Bellagio principles are a set of guidelines on how to monitor the transition to a circular economy. The principles focus on capturing both the narrow material flow related aspects (circular material use) and the broader aspects linked to the environment and social implication. In this way, it pays tribute to the broadly accepted concept of sustainability and sustainable development.” Havas adds: “At the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we are working on measurement on many fronts: We continue to develop our company-level circular economy measurement tool Circulytics together with our network of companies; work with circular economy measurement standardization as a liaison to the ISO technical committee on circular economy; with non-financial reporting standards efforts; and with public sector actors especially in the EU. Our food initiative has also developed a city self-assessment tool for cities to understand solutions to achieve a circular economy of foods. Our aim is to act as an impartial organization on these different levels of measuring the circular economy, and to bring consistency across them.” Benefits of circular economy measurement Having access to metrics assessing the circular economy performance of a company can have a series of benefits, both for the individual companies themselves and for the overall transition to a circular economy. Establishing the extent of a company’s circular economy performance can be a motivating force to drive faster, fuller adoption of the circular economy. It can empower strategic decision making, helping companies fully realize circular economy opportunities and can help to drive continued progress. The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. If made publicly available, data on the circular economy performance of companies also can help accelerate the wider transition to a circular economy by giving the financial world a metric on which to base investment decisions. Given that the circular economy is a complex and many-faceted system, making decisions on whether a company is “circular” can be complicated for investors without clear, consistent and comparable metrics. Intesa Sanpaolo was an organization involved in the joint statement calling for a circular economy transition. The bank’s global head of circular economy, Massimiano Tellini, says: “The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. The change of cultural paradigm generates both a benefit for our customers, in terms of increased competitiveness, and an opportunity for us in terms of advisory and business origination. The renewed awareness of the urgency of this change determined by the pandemic and the opportunity offered by the Next Generation EU plan are key elements for a redefinition of the development model on an international scale investing in innovation and training. “These aspects stimulate a dialogue based on the sharing of approach and information assets combined with the impact capacity of each player in favor of the transition, with the natural consequence of involving more and more actors in a common path to accelerate the transformation.” Pull Quote It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. Topics Circular Economy Data Ellen MacArthur Foundation Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  Freedomz  on Shutterstock.

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Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

February 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

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Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition James Woolven Fri, 02/12/2021 – 01:00 This article originally appeared on Circulate News . Measuring financial results, customer retention, productivity and inventory are all commonplace, but these measurements alone are no longer enough to tell a business whether it will stand the test of time. To be successful, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses need to consider their social and environmental impact — or else be caught out by changing legislation or left behind by customers. What once simply could be written off as a “negative externality” has financial implications and has to be central to business strategies. This means changing the way businesses see their role in society and, ultimately, transforming the economy. Our current economic model is based on extraction and waste. It is linear — we take materials from the planet, make products from them and eventually throw them away. This take-make-waste economic model fundamentally cannot work long term. It relies on the extraction and eventual disposal of finite materials and — to satisfy an ever-growing demand for resources — encroachment into natural ecosystems, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and staggering biodiversity loss. Alternatively, an economic system based on the recirculation of resources and the regeneration of natural systems offers a way forward that can work in the long term. This model, known as the circular economy, could help tackle the world’s biggest challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution. The circular economy is underpinned by three principles, each driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; and regenerate natural systems. Circular economy is gathering momentum and is being embraced across the public and private sectors around the world. For example, more than 50 global leaders, including CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies, policymakers, philanthropists, academics and other influential individuals, signed a joint statement in June calling for a transition to a circular economy in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In the plastics sector, more than 1,000 organizations have united behind, and are working towards, a common vision of a circular economy for plastics . As organizations begin to make strides in their efforts to transition away from a linear way of doing business and to implement real-world changes, clear and comparable metrics will be valuable for assessing their success and planning future actions. It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. Jarkko Havas, insights and analysis lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, explains: “Implementing changes can only be effective when we have a clear vision of a future state, an understanding of where we are now and a view of how quickly we are moving between the two states. Measuring progress and tracking changes is an essential factor in the transition to a circular economy.” Measuring the circular economy transition for businesses To understand whether business activity is achieving the aims of a circular economy, business leaders need access to data that measures the circular economy performance of their business, alongside the more commonplace metrics used for assessing the business. However, measuring circular economy performance is a relatively new area and this can lead to misinterpretation of circular economy, with the outcome being well-intentioned incremental tweaks to linear systems, rather than the adoption of truly circular business models. The concept of a circular economy, and what it means for businesses, has been interpreted in many ways. As a result, standardization of the concepts behind circular economy and their inclusion into broader non-financial reporting standards are areas of ongoing work. Measuring circular economy performance also requires data on areas of a business that haven’t traditionally been measured, such as the circularity of water flows or physical assets. Havas adds: “It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. On an organizational level, we also need to ensure that the circular economy is a part of strategy, risk assessment and organizational targets, to name a few.” In order to measure circular economy performance, it is important to take stock of the concrete results of a company’s efforts to transition to a circular economy — to create a snapshot of the company’s current circularity, in terms of material flows and business models. However, it is also important to look at things that enable the transition to happen, such as senior leadership buy-in and necessary infrastructure. This gives an insight into companies’ circular economy potential. As more businesses have employed circular economy models, a number of initiatives have been developed to measure circular economy performance. This includes the Circular Transition Indicators by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circulytics tool, of which version 2.0 recently has been launched. Broader reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative, also have started to embed concepts of the circular economy. Anna Krotova, senior manager for standards at the Global Reporting Initiative, says: “Since its last revision in 2016, we have updated the GRI Waste Standard to reflect the continued transition to the circular economy. This update will help thousands of GRI reporters look beyond operational waste, towards understanding how their activities, products and services cause or relate to waste impacts, and where in the value chain they are exposed to risk. Consequently, this will enable organizations to identify circularity opportunities and demonstrate to their stakeholders — such as communities, customers, investors and governments — how they are adopting a holistic and progressive approach to waste and resources management.” Circular economy measurement is also an ongoing area of work for Europe’s new Circular Economy Action Plan. The action plan calls for improved metrics to monitor the progress towards circularity. This monitoring should cover the interlinkages between circularity, climate neutrality and the zero-pollution ambition. The Bellagio process is an initiative taken by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research and the European Environment Agency to respond to this need. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. Peder Jensen, expert, circular economy and resource efficiency, at the European Environment Agency, says: “Circularity is an idea as old as nature itself. So it is really the linear model that is the ‘odd one out.’ Only by transitioning to a circular model can we ever establish a real model for sustainable development. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. “The Bellagio principles are a set of guidelines on how to monitor the transition to a circular economy. The principles focus on capturing both the narrow material flow related aspects (circular material use) and the broader aspects linked to the environment and social implication. In this way, it pays tribute to the broadly accepted concept of sustainability and sustainable development.” Havas adds: “At the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we are working on measurement on many fronts: We continue to develop our company-level circular economy measurement tool Circulytics together with our network of companies; work with circular economy measurement standardization as a liaison to the ISO technical committee on circular economy; with non-financial reporting standards efforts; and with public sector actors especially in the EU. Our food initiative has also developed a city self-assessment tool for cities to understand solutions to achieve a circular economy of foods. Our aim is to act as an impartial organization on these different levels of measuring the circular economy, and to bring consistency across them.” Benefits of circular economy measurement Having access to metrics assessing the circular economy performance of a company can have a series of benefits, both for the individual companies themselves and for the overall transition to a circular economy. Establishing the extent of a company’s circular economy performance can be a motivating force to drive faster, fuller adoption of the circular economy. It can empower strategic decision making, helping companies fully realize circular economy opportunities and can help to drive continued progress. The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. If made publicly available, data on the circular economy performance of companies also can help accelerate the wider transition to a circular economy by giving the financial world a metric on which to base investment decisions. Given that the circular economy is a complex and many-faceted system, making decisions on whether a company is “circular” can be complicated for investors without clear, consistent and comparable metrics. Intesa Sanpaolo was an organization involved in the joint statement calling for a circular economy transition. The bank’s global head of circular economy, Massimiano Tellini, says: “The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. The change of cultural paradigm generates both a benefit for our customers, in terms of increased competitiveness, and an opportunity for us in terms of advisory and business origination. The renewed awareness of the urgency of this change determined by the pandemic and the opportunity offered by the Next Generation EU plan are key elements for a redefinition of the development model on an international scale investing in innovation and training. “These aspects stimulate a dialogue based on the sharing of approach and information assets combined with the impact capacity of each player in favor of the transition, with the natural consequence of involving more and more actors in a common path to accelerate the transformation.” Pull Quote It is vital that we understand how to achieve a circular economy beyond the recirculation of materials. Upstream solutions such as product and service design are essential to eliminate waste before it happens. We therefore need to focus our attention on more than just the flow of materials, and include also environmental and social aspects. The circular sustainable life should be a good life. The systemic transition to a circular economy creates value and opens up opportunities for collaboration with a view to open innovation. Topics Circular Economy Data Ellen MacArthur Foundation Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  Freedomz  on Shutterstock.

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Why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

Developing a Comprehensive Circular Economy Strategy

September 11, 2020 by  
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Developing a Comprehensive Circular Economy Strategy How can companies establish an organizational circular economy strategy that’s owned and embraced by key internal stakeholders? The impacts of circular initiatives can ripple throughout a business and its supply chain, creating opportunity and disruption in its wake. But no matter how visionary or comprehensive, a circular economy strategy will translate into real-world impact only if it breaks through silos and takes hold across an organization. Hear from leaders who not only have established comprehensive circular economy strategies, but also effectively implemented them across their organization. This discussion explores the structure of different circular economy strategies — including core focus areas, KPIs, ownership and impacts on compensation — as well as actionable tactics to engage colleagues, assure alignment and create cross-functional initiatives without derailing existing operations. Speakers John Davies, VP, Senior Analyst, GreenBiz Group   Xavier Houot, Global SVP Safety, Environment, Real Estate, Schneider Electric Natasha Scotnicki, Program Manager, Circular Economy, Cisco Holly Secon Thu, 09/10/2020 – 20:19 Featured Off

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Developing a Comprehensive Circular Economy Strategy

Return to Sender: Navigating Reverse Logistics

September 11, 2020 by  
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Return to Sender: Navigating Reverse Logistics How can companies establish efficient reverse logistics to reclaim products and enable more circular outcomes? Product take-back programs are commonplace at retailers keen to have customers walk their used printers and sweaters back into the store. Manufacturers commonly offer mail-in programs, and even cosmetics brands have begun accepting empty packaging for discounts on the next purchase. But all this is very old fashioned, and oftentimes the path of used items is not circular, or even sustainable. This discussion examines efforts to modernize take-back and reverse logistics to forge stronger links in a circular supply chain. Speaker Katie Fehrenbacher, Senior Writer & Analyst, Transportation, GreenBiz Group  Ezgi Barcenas, Global VP of Sustainability, Anheuser-Busch InBev Crystal Lassiter, Senior Director of Global Sustainability, UPS Holly Secon Thu, 09/10/2020 – 20:15 Featured Off

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Return to Sender: Navigating Reverse Logistics

Rebuilding recycling to go circular

May 19, 2020 by  
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Rebuilding recycling to go circular Keefe Harrison Mon, 05/18/2020 – 18:18 This article is part of our Paradigm Shift series, produced by nonprofit PYXERA Global, on the diverse solutions driving the transition to a circular economy. See the full collection of stories and upcoming webinars with the authors  here . After the coronavirus pandemic has passed, the world will need solutions to repair our economy in a way that protects both the planet and its people. The circular economy is a solution for our future health and wellness and recycling has a vital role to play. A circular economy is not possible without recycling, yet it can’t happen through recycling alone. As companies ramp up their circular economy goals, they’re often based on the concept that recycling will be the workhorse and catch-net of a bigger system. The truth is, that system is not yet a reality. Recycling isn’t just a thing you do when you’re done drinking your bottle of water or reading the morning paper. It’s a system supported by hundreds of thousands of employees, generating billions of dollars in economic activity, and conserving precious natural resources. However, while it can feel as though it’s a singular service, in fact it represents a loosely connected, highly interdependent network of public and private interests. The U.S. census tells us there are about 20,000 local governments, each independently responsible for deciding what to recycle, how to recycle, or whether to offer recycling services at all. This collection of disaggregated waste management decisions is a challenging start of the “reverse supply chain” that is recycling. The Recycling Partnership’s 2020 State of U.S. Curbside Recycling Report addresses a system that is causing some communities to abandon their programs, but also shows an overwhelming majority of communities across the country still committed to providing household recycling services. Americans continue to value and demand recycling as an essential public service according to The Recycling Partnership’s 2019 Earth Day survey. A circular economy is not possible without recycling, yet it can’t happen through recycling alone. The time to transform the way we think about and manage waste is now. Conceptually, recycling is and has been the “gateway” for a circular economy worldview to take hold in our society. In this transition, it’s critically important to seize on the cultural momentum that recycling has inspired, because behavior change takes so much longer than many other solvable challenges in the transition from linear to circular. Citizens can feel disheartened by the realization that our efforts to recycle are often in vain. Consider the following statistics: More than 20 million tons of curbside recyclable materials are sent to landfills annually Curbside recycling in the United States currently recovers only 32 percent of available recyclables in single-family homes If the remaining 20 million tons were recycled, it would generate 370,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs It also would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 96 million metric tons of CO2  equivalent AND conserve an annual energy equivalent of 154 million barrels of oil OR the equivalent of taking more than 20 million cars off U.S. highways While recycling feels universal, only half of the American population has access to curbside recycling . Before we can implore a public to recycle, they need to be guaranteed the ability to do so. Many communities increasingly pay more to recycle , sometimes double the cost of landfilling  — and many more programs lack critical operating funds. Policy can and should help community recycling programs to improve by addressing challenging market conditions, providing substantial funding support and resolving cheap landfill tipping fees that make disposal options significantly less expensive than recycling. A truly circular economy — one that takes us off the perilous take-make-waste path — can’t be built on the shaky foundation of the current U.S. recycling system just described. It needs to be shored up, supported, rebuilt and reinvigorated. Most important, it cannot work properly without the aligned efforts from all members of industrial supply chains. Recycling is not just something that citizens do to feel good about buying something — it also provides a circular manufacturing feedstock that displaces newly extracted materials. It is needed by manufacturing to make new products, reduce environmental impact and achieve a more positive economic result. This is true for mature industries such as paper mills and aluminum smelters and for developing end markets such as chemical recycling. The fate of current and not-yet-recyclable materials rests in the hands of a broad set of private sector actors who must adapt to support the transition. Strong, coordinated action is needed in areas including package design and labeling, capital investments, scaled adoption of best management practices, policy interventions, and consumer engagement. The fate of current and not-yet-recyclable materials rests in the hands of a broad set of private sector actors who must adapt to support the transition. A three-step plan to ensure recycling supports the circular economy 1. Support for local recycling programs with policies and capital Local political support for recycling needs to be strengthened, such that municipalities are meeting the expectations of most Americans: recycling bins alongside trash cans, the contents of which are being recycled. All this needs to be supported at the federal level with policies that incentivize adoption and reduce confusion around recycling. It also means continued innovation in the collection, sorting and general recyclability of materials, including the building of flexibility and resiliency to add new materials into the system. 2. Significant investment in domestic infrastructure and end markets An extensive series of targeted investments is needed to deliver a deeper integration of circular manufacturing feedstock into the supply chain. This will help provide the carts to collect the recyclables, the trucks to pick them up and the facilities to sort it all out. There also needs to be a deepened commitment to support both existing end markets such as cardboard, bottles and cans, and new end markets, such as chemical recycling, to keep more packaging and materials in the economy and more molecules in motion. As published in The Recycling Partnership’s 2019 Bridge to Circularity Report, $250 million over the next five years could launch an innovation fund to design and implement the recycling system of the future using advanced technology, building more robust data systems and enhancing consumer participation. 3. Broad stakeholder engagement We need more than the involvement of dozens of the biggest companies in the world. When you go to the store, it is not a monolithic experience. We don’t buy all our stuff from one brand, one company or one packaging material. Those leading companies shouldn’t be the only ones taking part in this transition. Every aspect of the recycling system that feeds into the circular economy needs to be involved — from the design of the materials on store shelves for efficient recovery and recyclability to the community, infrastructure and end market components mentioned in the previous two steps. It’s clear that unless stakeholders from across the value chain align and conform to the circular economy, we will not be able to drive the change necessary to move recycling in the United States to that place where no more waste is going to the landfill. It will take bold public-private partnerships and leadership to make lasting improvements. Recycling cannot solve for the circular economy, but the circular economy could solve recycling. Now is the time for action. To learn more from the leaders of the circular economy transition, visit  PYXERA Global . Pull Quote A circular economy is not possible without recycling, yet it can’t happen through recycling alone. The fate of current and not-yet-recyclable materials rests in the hands of a broad set of private sector actors who must adapt to support the transition. Contributors Dylan de Thomas Topics Circular Economy Recycling Paradigm Shift Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock franz12 Close Authorship

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Rebuilding recycling to go circular

Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

May 13, 2020 by  
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For this year’s Bangkok Design Week, which took place in February 2020, Thai design firm Plural Designs created the Everlasting Forest Pavilion, a temporary, tunnel-like structure built of biodegradable materials that promotes sustainable ideas and products to the public. Created in collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary experts, the pavilion champions the idea of environmentally friendly architecture and circular living as part of a larger vision for sustainable urban living. Installed in front of Bangkok’s Grand Postal Building, the Everlasting Forest Pavilion follows a “BCG” concept named after its three zones of Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy. Each zone is a showcase of innovative products and ideas and seamlessly connects to the next space. The pavilion’s circular form reinforces the idea of circular living with its tunnel-like architecture; the pavilion is centered on an “Everlasting Forest”, a densely planted green space with a walkway. All materials used in construction are eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from waste material. Related: Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis The first zone visitors encounter is the Green Economy, which introduces a variety of eco-friendly materials including lightweight fiber rebar, or glass-fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP), as a durable and low-carbon alternative building material to steel. The second zone is the Circular Economy , where examples of plastic waste upcycled into new, value-added products are showcased. Examples of uses for biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics are shown in the third zone, Bio Economy. The pavilion also includes a rest zone. As an extension of the project, a Smart Recycling Center was installed nearby to show the public how to responsibly sort and manage waste generated at the event. The architects said, “Everlasting Forest Pavilion is a space demonstrating the co-habitation between man-made structures and their surrounding environment including buildings, green spaces and daily life objects, whose resources and waste are all sustainably managed and utilized.” + Plural Designs Images via Plural Designs

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

The 3 essential elements for the circular jobs of the future

May 1, 2020 by  
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Here’s what real benefits for workers and communities can look like, as laid out by Circle Economy.

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The 3 essential elements for the circular jobs of the future

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