Companies can take six steps to join the circular economy
16 March 2023 16:09
Manufacturers are not doing enough to create circular economies that recycle their waste into new products, according to the World Economic Forum. To truly cut carbon and emit net zero greenhouse gases, manufacturers must join circular economies that recycle this waste into new renewable energy or other products.
The current circularity rate worldwide is now only 7.2 percent, however, the World Economic Forum contended in a March 14 post calling for renewed efforts to boost efforts to recycle and repurpose old materials into new goods.
“Without significant changes to the status quo, future product innovations will face difficulty participating in the circular economy. They will pollute our terrestrial ecosystem,” wrote Forum Fellow Jovan Tan, an expert in applied innovation and sustainability. “They will also indirectly encourage further material production and extraction of the Earth’s resources, emitting immense amounts of greenhouse gases in the process.”
Designing products so that they can easily enter circular economies requires “interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise,” however, wrote Tan. He and his colleagues developed a six-step process to help entrepreneurs and innovators plan with circular economies in mind.
First, companies should align their internal operations and external partners to create or join circular economies. They should then evaluate the end-to-end lifecycle of the product to understand how it can be used in a circular economy. Third, they must identify suppliers, waste collectors, treatment facilities, and others who can take disused products.
Next, they must understand revenues and costs per unit and make changes where necessary. Lastly, they need to devise an execution plan to bring an innovation to market and make sure their external partners are executing the plan, too.
Entrepreneurs don’t need expertise in waste management or other sustainability practices to use the six steps to see whether their product or idea might advance circular economies, argued Tan. jd