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Circular Economy

Circular Economy = maximization of resource utilization & value retention

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Circular Economy - what does it mean?

In recent years there has been a sharp increase in awareness about both the challenges and opportunities of better resource efficiency. On one hand, there is still a lack of knowledge of material flows in various industries while on the other hands, new business models are an important aspect of increasing resource efficiency.

The circular economy is a new way of thinking about the economy. Instead of the linear economy which is based on the take-make-dispose approach, circular economy adopts the cyclical approach which is aligned with the living systems. Circular economy focuses on the much more efficient use of resources and thus reduction or even elimination of the negative consequences related to waste generation. This means that every single object is taken as a resource at an each and every stage of life.

Circular Economy = maximization of resource utilization & value retention

One can say that a circular economy is all about maximization of resource utilization and value retention.

There are 4 Value Retention Processes (VRPs) which are allowing to maximize the resource value utilization at various stages of product life are:

  •   Repair/maintenance
  •   Reuse/redistribute
  •   Refurbish/Remanufacture
  •   Recycle

While putting sustainable development goals in the centre of organizations’ strategy, one will be led to new business model creation which will either replace the current one or will reveal emerging new business opportunities. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that bringing Value Retention Processes into the centre of the business strategy might bring real business impact which is up to 45% of cost savings for close/equivalent-to new quality products and up to 95 per cent for repaired products.

 

* REDEFINING VALUE THE MANUFACTURING REVOLUTION Remanufacturing, Refurbishment, Repair and Direct Reuse in the Circular Economy report by Rochester Institute of Technology under auspices of United Nations (http://www.resourcepanel.org/reports/re-defining-value-manufacturing-revolution).

How to measure a circularity?

Once the organization already set up SDG, such as zero waste, a new question emerges: how one can measure success?

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Material Intelligence developed  Circularity Indicators  to help measure the transition from linear to circular models.

This includes:

An input of virgin resources

An input of virgin resources

Utility during use (how long is the material in use compared to industry average)

Utility during use (how long is the material in use compared to industry average)

Diversion/destination after use

Diversion/destination after use

The efficiency of recycling

The efficiency of recycling

Whichever indicator one would use, access to proper data is a critical factor of sustainability programs.

Circular Economy in the global discussion

Having said all of that and looking at the current stage of global discussions and interest, one can say that the circular economy model is already well developed. Scientific advancements are growing rapidly as well.

What is now needed is a significant speed up in the implementation of the model. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is the one which has the biggest potential to bring science, business models and a huge amount of data gathered together in order to boost the circular economy development.

There are numerous technologies which we see as will have the biggest impact on Circular Economy and might be used as vehicles to advance circular economy implementation.

  • IoT as a source of information about product utilization
  • Big Data – a tremendous amount of data being generated by IoT become an invaluable source of information and guidance for decision makers
  • AI – artificial intelligence systems using available data allows to predict resource utilization, trends in smart cities and so on bringing CE to life
  • Cloud – constant connectivity of smart devices and applications allows for lifelogging and immediate relations and secisions keeping the resources in the highest utility level

Circular Economy and BlueSoft

Understanding the urgency of shifting business towards circular economy models, BlueSoft is already involved in various R&D projects where the scientific approach and knowledge is being paired with available technologies in order to deliver cutting-edge solutions and platforms allowing business to connect easily to IoT, data available and use those for the sake of circular economy implementation.

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