The reports’ authors considered how the circular economy model can help businesses tackle the challenges brought about by climate change in an integrated way.
Businesses embracing the circular economy in their supply chains were found to be less exposed to the fluctuations of energy and commodity prices, and thereby enjoying greater resource security. This helps mitigate against potential geopolitical and environmental disruptions, enabling consistent business operations.
Dan Botterill, CEO of Ditto Sustainability, commented: “If businesses are to future-proof their operations and supply chains then they need to move away from today’s disposal-economy, which is so reliant on making things that can never by recycled or reused. Now is the time to make the difficult decisions, and gain control over your assets.”
The report, which includes assessments of a number of businesses successfully developing circular economy principles, also found that those adopting the circular approach benefit from improved environmental performance and brand loyalty. If customers are connected to the return of products to their supplier, then they are much more likely to be loyal in future.
Dominic Hogg, Project Director of Eunomia, commented: “Policy makers are waking up to the fact that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. A circular economy mentality helps to build the resilience of businesses, as well as providing the basis for increased profitability now, and enhanced profitability in the future.”
New technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, machine learning, 3D printing, biotech and blockchain, were found to be key enablers for business leaders seeking to adapt their business models. From production condition monitoring and self-repair, to product sharing and smart control of assets, to traceability; digital technology has a key role to play in making the circular economy a reality.
The report also argued that embedding the circular economy in the mindset of both business owners and employees is an essential step on the journey.
Dominic Hogg, explained: “Although many of the concepts surrounding the circular economy make common sense, concrete examples and guidelines are required to help businesses put these concepts into practice. Online learning platforms have great potential for providing educational tools that can be used by businesses everywhere, spreading the word about the circular economy.”