A circular economy is an economic system that focuses on eliminating waste and the unnecessary use of resources. What that means to businesses, industries and individuals can vary, leading many to ask, “Which practice supports a circular economy?” Using resources efficiently is the practice that is central to how the circular economy is implemented. In other words, the goal of a circular economy is to use as few resources as possible by keeping materials in circulation and getting the greatest value from them.
A circular economy enables us to restore natural ecosystems while still accelerating business and financial objectives. With 90% of CEOs seeing sustainability as important to success and 66% of consumers paying more for sustainable brands, the circular economy might be closer than we think—and it often starts in the supply chain.
Let’s look at a few examples. IKEA is on a journey to become more circular. Back in 2017, it developed its first designing for circularity guide, which helped define IKEA’s circular design. The results in the past few years have been impressive. In financial year 2019, the retail giant gave 47 million products a second life, 38 million products were resold through the as-is specialty shop, and more than 9 million products have been repacked back to the shelf.
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With an initiative funded by the KOREA-AFRICA ECONOMIC COOPERATION (KOAFEC) focused on waste management, the African Development Bank aims to accelerate the circular economy in Africa, a model which aims to minimize waste and maximize value from resources through the recovery and regeneration of products at the end of their typical service life. The rationale for the initiative, entitled “ Development of a Green Growth Investment Program in Africa focused on waste management and the circular economy,” is that waste management constitutes one of the major developmental challenges for Africa. It has serious potential consequences in terms of environmental quality, public health, fisheries, agriculture, and sustainable development. The expected outcome of the KOAFEC intervention is a stronger enabling environment for sustainable waste management and circular economy activities. This will be delivered through an enhanced policy and regulatory framework, capacity building and resource mobilization activities.
We talked to Marc Hazout of SusGlobal Energy about sustainable global management of the organic wastes and here is what he said about it. First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? Marc Hazout: We are doing fine and are grateful that we are involved in an essential business which has seen no interruption. Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SusGlobal Energy.
Marc Hazout: My background is in the Capital Markets, and I run a private equity fund founded in 1998. We mostly invest in proprietary technology, and we were identifying circular economy models and decided to start a sustainable organic waste managing and processing company that produces regenerative products from organic waste such as fertilizers both dry compost or liquid fertilizer.
In this episode The Engineer talks to Dr. Tom Wildsmith and Lorna Bennet from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult about the need to create a circular economy for the offshore wind sector. ORE Catapult and RenewableUK are hosting a virtual conference on Circular Economy + Renewable Energy on 29th June. Hosted by journalist Kate Russell, this all-day event features speakers from a variety of sectors on their shared sustainability challenges. The lively format will feature a mix of panel debate, presentations, interviews, technology showcases and a virtual visit to the ORE Catapult labs and facilities. You’ll have the chance to put your questions to speakers from the Crown Estate, Royal Society of Chemistry, Vestas, LM Wind Power, University of Leeds and founders of some of the UK’s most disruptive innovators in the circular economy arena.