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Posts tagged 'Circular Economy'

Our yarn supplier Aquafil implements a symbiotic relationship with an Aquapark next door

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Our main supplier Aquafil has started a symbiotic project where their excess thermal energy in their Econyl plant in Slovenia is then used by an Aquapark nearby.

Regardless of how different the two businesses are, their location has permitted them to start an incredible project where the excess of thermal energy is transferred to Atlantis Aquapark to provide it’s 100% requirements of thermal energy.

This actually translates into an expected reduction of CO2 emissions on more than 2.000.000. This is the equivalent of 1100 cars driving 35km!

This is what happens when companies think differently and not selfishly. The great irony is that Aquafil uses excess warm water for their thermal needs from the electricity station nearby. Pass it on!

Read the full article here.

Atlantis & Aquafil

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Combat Climate Change And Grow The Economy – Possible?

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This report from Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate outlines how to grow the economy and stave off climate change. Watch this video for more detail.

New Climate Economy

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and its flagship project The New Climate Economy, were set up to help governments, businesses and society make better-informed decisions on how to achieve economic prosperity and development while also addressing climate change.

The New Climate Economy was commissioned in 2013 by the governments of seven countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Commission has operated as an independent body and, while benefiting from the support of the seven governments, has been given full freedom to reach its own conclusions.

“2015 is a year of unprecedented opportunity. This year’s landmark intergovernmental conferences – the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July, the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September, the G20 Summit in Antalya in November, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in December – have the potential to advance a new era of international cooperation which can help countries at all income levels build lasting development and economic growth while reducing climate risk.”

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Policymakers Toolkit

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has recently released this report – ‘Delivering the Circular Economy’, an actionable toolkit for policymakers wishing to make a transition to the circular economy.

Business leaders and governments alike are acknowledging that continued long-term value creation requires a new economic model that is less dependent on cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, and that is able to restore and regenerate natural capital. In its research to date, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has demonstrated that the circular economy is a clear value creation opportunity. As many policymakers become interested in this promising model, they envisage the important role they can play in creating the right enabling conditions and, as appropriate, setting direction to unlock it. This report looks at the circular economy opportunity from a country and policymaker perspective, and aims to provide policymakers with an actionable toolkit to help accelerate the transition towards the circular economy.

Delivering the circular economy

It’s the result of a collaboration led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with the Danish Business Authority and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency as key contributors, especially in the Denmark pilot phase. The toolkit was developed in cooperation with Danish and international stakeholders, including leading policymakers, businesses and academics. The McKinsey Centre for Business and Environment (“MCBE”) provided analytical support. NERA Economic Consulting provided support for the macroeconomic and policy analysis for Parts 2 and 3 of this report. The MAVA Foundation funded the project.

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Ellen MacArthur, The Circular Economy and Interface

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Circular Economy Ellen MacarthurIt is always great for a company to get a name check in the press or to be noticed in some way for good reasons. To be mentioned by Ellen Macarthur on the BBC website, and associated with something we hold so dear, is something of a triple whammy.

Here is an excerpt from her piece that includes the mention of Interface and Ray. Click on the image to read the full article about why it is so important that we all push for a Circular Economy:

“For a long time, the proponents of natural capitalism and the circular economy were voices crying in a business wilderness. One corporate leader who did take notice was the founder of one of the world’s biggest carpet companies, Interface.

The late Ray Anderson had what he called an epiphany 20 years ago, when his company was already 21 years old. It was then that he read an earlier book by Paul Hawken – The Ecology of Commerce. This argued that only industry leaders could reverse the destructive harm industry was doing to the planet.

Ray Anderson was stunned by this. In response, he turned it into a company cause, pledging to turn Interface into a sustainable company without any negative impact on the environment by 2020.

Sadly, he died in 2011 before that could be achieved, but the mission continues. And other businesses are waking up to this imperative.”

Source BBC

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Net-Works – 9 tons of fishing nets arrives in Slovenia for recycling

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At the end of last month a container ship with 9 tons of fishing nets arrived in Slovenia from the Philippines. These monofilament nets were recovered by local villagers participating in the Net-Works™ project. Net-Works is a community-based initiative established by us and the Zoological Society to recover and recycle fishing nets from fishing villages in impoverished regions, connecting some of the dots for a more circular economy.

Over 660 million people on the planet depend upon the oceans to support their livelihood. But year after year, pollution in our waters and beaches gets worse.

Net-Works is the first step in creating a truly restorative loop in carpet tile production, cleaning up oceans and beaches while also creating financial opportunities for some of the poorest people in the world.

If you Google #IfNetEffect there are some great online spaces that capture the initiative in pictures, video and text. Like this Pinterest Board:

IfNetEffect Pinterest

 

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Growing a Circular Economy – Ending the Throwaway Society #Report

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Growing a circular economyHere is the content from a report released today by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee – @CommonsEAC

For more information contact Nick Davies on daviesnick@parliament.uk  or 020 7219 3297

Growing a Circular Economy – Ending the Throwaway Society #Report

MPs are calling for lower VAT on recycled products, longer warranty periods for consumer goods and a ban on food waste being sent to landfill, in a new report looking at how the Government could help insulate the UK from rising resource prices by creating a more ‘circular economy’.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Joan Walley MP, said:

“We had throwaway economics in the past, but that disposable society simply isn’t sustainable in the twenty-first century. Less than half of all the stuff we throw away each year is recycled and turned back into something useful, despite prices for raw materials rising across the world. Global food prices have roughly doubled since the beginning of the century, metal prices have trebled, and energy prices quadrupled. These trends look likely to continue as emerging economies expand and the world population grows to 9 billion by 2050.

Unless we rethink the way we run our economy and do business in a different way, environmental problems like climate change will get worse and the cost of living and doing business in the UK could continue to rise. The good news is that with the right Government support we can stimulate UK manufacturing, create jobs, grow our GDP and reduce our environmental footprint. We have to create a more circular economy that rewards innovative businesses, values natural capital, and is resilient in the face of rising global resource prices.”

There are potentially billions of pounds of benefits for UK businesses in becoming more resource efficient. The Committee heard from leading companies – such as M&S and B&Q – who explained that this makes economic as well as environmental sense. Some are exploring new business models where things can be hired rather than owned or using innovative processes and materials to reduce environmental impacts.

Recycling

Businesses told the inquiry that the vast array of different area-by-area recycling regimes in England is confusing, sub-scale and makes it harder for companies to access valuable materials that could be reused. The variety of different recycling services also means there cannot be consistent on-pack information about a product’s recyclability to help households. The MPs say the Government should give new guidance to local authorities in England to standardise recycling collections to create new economic opportunities, as Wales and Scotland have done. The Environmental Audit Committee also wants the Government to support EU proposals to increase recycling rates to 70% by 2030. It points out that while England has improved its recycling rates since the beginning of the century from 11% to 43%, these have started to plateau, and it still has a considerable way to go to catch up with the best performing countries, like Austria and Germany.

Joan Walley MP added:

“It is possible to get recycling rates to nearly 70% as other European Countries and some UK councils have demonstrated.  There is about 3% to 5% of waste that you cannot avoid landfilling at the moment, but with better product design even that might be eliminated.”

Lower VAT on recycled products

The report recommends that the Government takes steps to reform taxation and producer responsibility regulations to reward companies that design greener products.  Differential VAT rates should be introduced based on the environmental impact or recycled content of products. Tax breaks should also be considered for businesses that repair goods or promote re-use.

Zac Goldsmith MP, Member of the Committee:

“Unless we learn to live within nature’s means, we are going to hit a wall. We know that because even while the world’s dwindling resources are becoming more and more expensive, our global appetite for resources continues to soar. Designing waste out of the way we live and do business is therefore a defining challenge. What’s clear is that businesses that take this challenge seriously will flourish, and those that don’t will eventually fall behind. But Government has an important role too, and this report highlights some of the steps it needs to take.”

Extended warranties and eco-design

The Government should work with the EU to establish eco-design standards across a range of products to make them easier to repair, upgrade, or recycle. Such standards should phase out products made from materials that cannot be recycled and encourage companies to design goods that have a clear end-of-life recovery route and are fabricated using easily separable and recyclable components. The Government should also work with industry sectors to set longer minimum warranty periods for consumer products to encourage businesses to adopt more resource-efficient business models.

Joan Walley MP added:

“We all know the frustration when we have to throw something away even though it’s just past its warranty. In our disposable society it often makes more financial sense to buy a new one than get something repaired. Things are not made to last and many manufacturers don’t make it easy for us to fix things. Government should work with companies to incentivise and encourage design that makes it easier to repair products and finally remanufacture or recycle them. Ministers should also work with industry to extend consumer warranties so that companies are encouraged to build things that last.”

Food Waste

The Government should also ban councils from sending food waste to landfill. Just 400,000 tonnes of food waste is separately collected for organic recycling in the UK out of the 7.2 million tonnes thrown out by households every year; around 6%. Instead this food waste could be collected separately and composted or used in anaerobic digesters to produce biogas and renewable energy and fertiliser.

Joan Walley MP:

“Food waste could be used to produce biogas for energy and fertiliser for our farming system yet at the moment too much is thrown into landfill where its value is lost and it produces climate-changing gases like methane.”

Government leadership

The MPs found that the Government’s current approach to these issues lacks ambition and leadership. It is characterised by small-scale schemes and although responsibilities are split across a number of departments, there is no strategic plan to achieve systemic change linked to industrial policy. Furthermore, Defra has dramatically cut funding for resource efficiency initiatives. The Committee argue that the Government should learn from the strategic vision that other countries have adopted and embrace the EU’s ambitious targets for improving resource productivity, supporting business in achieving the economic and environmental benefits of a more circular economy.

Joan Walley MP, concluded:

“Reducing the dependency on primary resource use for economic growth is an essential part of moving to a more sustainable and price-shock proof economic system. Some businesses are showing real leadership and innovation to adjust their business models and become more resource efficient. However, the Government must do more to ensure that the right conditions are in place so that many more businesses can shift from a linear approach to a circular one. We heard from business how successful green taxes such as the landfill tax had been in driving change in the waste industry.  We need the same strong tax signals from the Treasury for the Circular Economy”

Background info

The European Commission published a Circular Economy package on 2 July 2014. This proposes that countries should recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030. The Package also includes a zero-waste-to-landfill policy for plastics, paper, metals, glass and bio-waste by 2025, as well as initiatives around eco-design. The European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik says that the European Commission’s vision was that “by 2030 each country should recycle everything it is possible to recycle”.

Latest figures (from 2012) show that recycling rates in Europe are highest in Germany (65 %), followed by Austria (62 %) and Belgium (57%).

Recycling rates by local authorities in England in 2011/12 ranged from 69% (Vale of White Horse District Council) to 14% (Ashford Borough Council). Figures from 12/13 are available, but not broken down by authority.

Other countries have introduced regulatory measures to divert organic waste from landfill, such as the regulations requiring households to separate out food waste in Ireland, or the landfill ban on food waste being introduced in Scotland.

The Environmental Services Association suggest that a more circular economy could increase UK GDP by £3 billion a year. A Government study in 2011 indicated that there were £23 billion of financial benefits from low/no cost improvements available to businesses in the UK. The Green Alliance estimate that introducing more consistent recycling collections could be worth £1.7 billion a year.

Novamont submitted evidence to the Committee which uses data from WRAP to estimate that 400,000 tonnes of food waste was separately collected for organic recycling in the UK in 2012.

OTHER INFORMATION: This report (in HTML or PDF format) is available from 18.00 on Thursday 24 July 2014 via:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmenvaud/214/214.pdf

Likewise, this news story will go live from 18.00 on Thursday 24 July 2014 at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/report-circular-economy

Membership of the Committee:  http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/membership/

Media Information: Nick Davies daviesnick@parliament.uk  020 7219 3297

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Evidence submitted to Environmental Audit Committee – What is possible?

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Today I submitted written evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee regarding the importance of creating a true circular economy. Offering real world examples of its application, with supporting facts and figures. My submission is below.

Environmental Audit Committee

About the committee – The remit of the Environmental Audit Committee is to consider the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and to audit their performance against sustainable development and environmental protection targets. In the previous Parliament (2005-2010), the Committee’s programme included inquiries on climate change and environmental fiscal measures (‘green taxation’), as well as sustainable development and environmental protection. Unlike most select committees, the Committee’s remit cuts across government rather than focuses on the work of a particular department.

My submission:

What is possible?

1. As European Sustainability Director at Interface, I have been privileged to see at first hand what is possible in this area. Interface is the inventor of carpet tiles and the world’s largest manufacturer, and since 1994 – thanks to the vision of its late founder Ray Anderson – has pursued a goal of producing zero negative impacts by 2020, which has transformed not only the economy but the rest of our industry including our competitors and suppliers.

2. Since 1994 Interface Europe has cut its own carbon emissions by 90% (without offsetting). Two important strategies have helped us forge ahead: increasing efficiencies and switching to alternative energy sources. Faster and more efficient production lines, and developing innovative technologies have reduced energy demand by around 60%. The remaining 30% of reductions have come from converting to green electricity and, more recently, to biogas.

3. Interface’s experience shows the importance of having radically ambitious goals. Back in 1994 Mission Zero seemed outrageous and unattainable, but by setting itself such a difficult challenge the company was forced to make tangible differences swiftly – and to think in new ways.

4. Modest, pragmatic targets – as most companies set – can generate results. But they are unlikely to provide the step change we need in business if we are to move quickly towards a circular economy.

5. Too often companies and countries constrain themselves by establishing sustainability objectives on the basis of what is already technically achievable. Managers and politicians are afraid of failing and want to ensure compliance with targets. That limits the vision to what they think it’s feasible. The only way to push boundaries is to set seemingly impossible targets that pushes people to look for better ways of doing things. Once you aim for radical ambitions you become released from the technology of yesterday, it takes you away from the ordinary, and challenges you to widen your scope – to look for alternatives that you didn’t know were possible.

6. The Mission Zero goal forced Interface to venture into the unknown, to search for technologies it never dreamt could exist. We found that applying technology from the aerospace industry using ultrasonic knifes we could cut carpet at doubled output and reduced waste by 80% (now we send absolutely no waste to landfill). The technology already existed, but we didn’t know about it – nor did anyone else in the carpet industry. Our engineers found it because our outrageously ambitious goal forced them to look in new directions. We only managed to crack the nylon-recycling conundrum for the same reason.

7. In the 1990s, the inventors of nylon told us that it was impossible to recycle nylon. Today, two of our suppliers, produce nylon with recycled content. One of them, Aquafil, saw the market opportunity and developed a big de-polymerization plant and produce yarn with 100% recycled nylon. This yarn does not go only to Interface, the biggest carpet tile manufacturer, but also to other players in the industry.

8. The nylon recycling processes from Aquafil not only allowed us to recycle nylon from carpet but look at start becoming restorative by recycling waste fishing nets, which are also made from nylon. We started a programme with the Zoological London society in the Philippines to clean up beaches while providing strong socio-economic benefits to the local community.

9. Today 44% of our global raw materials are recycled or bio-based. We think we can get to 100% by 2020.

10. The message is that very ambitious low-carbon and waste targets are achievable and can dramatically increase profitability and productivity. They must be set if the circular economy is to come into existence.

The importance of life cycle thinking

11. The key to creating a circular economy is to focus on the life cycle of a product. Most companies still concentrate primarily on the environmental performance of their own operations. Yet for many businesses that focus is mismatched with their true impacts, which lie outside their operations and fall instead within the lifecycle of their products.

12. When you view a company in terms of the products it makes – as opposed to its offices and employees – you soon discover that the vast majority of environmental impacts occur outside its operational boundaries. In many cases the impacts associated with raw materials extraction and processing, product use and end life far outstrip any ‘in-house’ impacts.

13. For Interface’s carpet tiles, for example, around 68% of the impact is associated with the production of raw materials, while only around 10% can be attributed to in-house operations. Sometimes the figures can be quite spectacular. For a consumer goods company such as Unilever, around 95% of a product’s impacts typically come from outside the company’s own operations.

14. The important thing, therefore, is for a company to carry out life cycle assessments (LCAs) for all of its products. An LCA gives a complete picture of the total environmental impact of a product throughout its life, and allows you to act accordingly. This is what we have done at Interface, and the results have been spectacular.

15. Through LCAs, we discovered, to our surprise, that around 70% of the overall environmental impacts of our carpet tiles were related to the raw materials used to make them. Of these, the oil-based nylon yarn, just one single raw material, had the single biggest environmental impact. We therefore re-focused our efforts where they could make the biggest difference: reducing the amount of yarn used, finding ways to recycle old yarn into new, and looking for bio-based alternatives to nylon. As already noted, we now use 100% recycled nylon and have halved environmental impacts as a result.

16. The other good thing about LCAs is that they allow companies to produce an environmental product declaration (EPD) for each product, objectively stating ‘ingredients’ and environmental impacts across the lifecycle and enabling customers to compare products and choose the ones that have least impact.

17. Such product transparency can deliver significant changes, as the example of the European car industry has shown. The EU Car Labelling directive required that car manufacturers publicly disclose the tail-pipe (exhaust) emissions of their new cars as measured in grams of CO2 per kilometre driven (g CO2/km).

18. This forced companies to carry out LCAs and then to publish EPDs stating each car’s g CO2/km value. Then a 2009 EU-wide regulation required each manufacturer to decrease their average portfolio of emissions to 130 g CO2/km by 2015 and 95 g CO2/km by 2020. The transformation as a result has already been huge, with the UK Climate Change Committee highlighting cars as one of the few success stories in terms of carbon reductions in the UK.

19. Today there is carpet in the market with 20kgCO2 per m2 and carpet with 5kgCO2 per m2. Both pay the same tax, same VAT. Once uses recycled raw materials, the other virgin. What is the market incentive for manufacturers to switch to the high recycled, low carbon carpet. Once we start taxing embodied carbon, we will be favoring the circular economy.

20. Unfortunately the use of LCAs, though growing, is still not widespread. It cannot be stressed enough that this has to be the future if we are to move to a circular economy. One good piece of news is that the European Commission has now recommended the use of EPDs by companies throughout the continent, and has kicked off a three-year testing period to develop product and sector-specific rules that will govern their use. But we need more from national governments to push the concept of EPDs and to move the corporate focus on to products, where most of the difference can be made.

Economic, political, and systemic influences on recycling

21. Imposing a ban on landfill is key to promoting a circular economy. Many products containing valuable raw materials still end up in landfill because it’s too easy to throw them away. Landfill bans would encourage better collection systems and create economies of scale that bring down the cost of recycling.

22. The Green Alliance estimates that preventing textiles, food, wood and plastics from going to landfill would keep at least £2.5 billion worth of resources in the UK economy, significantly increasing its circularity (http://tinyurl.com/kodkmyu).

23. At Interface we know the difficulties associated with overly-free access to landfill. Although we now have the technology to recycle carpets, we find it difficult to compete with the non-recycled products of rivals because landfill costs are so low. In parts of Spain, for instance, it is possible to throw away a carpet almost without any charge, which means there is no incentive to recycle or to buy recycled. If the cost was increased (eg. UK landfill escalator), or better still if a ban on putting carpet into landfill was instigated (eg. German bans), then this would give signals to the market that machines for recycling carpet could be profitable to operate, to make, to be designed. It would create a market for circularity. That is local jobs, cannibalising the imports of virgin raw materials and energy.

24. There is a clear correlation between landfill bans and higher rates of recycling – Germany is a prime example. In the US, where there is no landfill ban on mobile phones, there is virtually no recovery of mobile phones, but in the UK, where a regulation came into effect in 2009, the rate of recovery is 25% and growing.

25. It is therefore important not only to improve recycling technology radically but to increase the costs of landfill and to impose more landfill bans. If we do both, we will soon reach a tipping point and behaviour will change.

26. We also need more mandatory end-of-life measures such as the EU’s End of Life Vehicles directive, which has significantly increased the recycling of cars. Thanks to this measure, Interface can now a source a substitute for latex from a material found in car windscreens, something that was not available to us when cars went into landfill. By creating a new market for recycled materials, the regulation has helped Interface to source additional, less carbon intensive raw materials. The power of this should not be underestimated: quite simply, there needs to be more intervention by politicians in this field.

27. Coming up with a way to measure circularity at product level is also important. Probably the easiest thing is to measure the post-consumer recycled content of products, as this assures that care has been taken to recycle something into a valuable product.

28. Another metric to consider is the extent of CO2 equivalent (kgCOeq) embedded in a new product. This takes into account the fact that post-consumer recycled materials are usually less carbon intensive than virgin materials (and if not, then the recycling process is badly designed anyway). Judging products on this metric would therefore favour the recycling of entire components rather than including bits of them in new components. As well as CO2, other indicators such as abiotic depletion could be utilised.

29. We also need to look at the idea of measuring recyclability, which is a tricky thing to do. At product level it is possible to measure the parts of a product that can be dismantled, with a focus on their value. At Interface we are planning to investigate this area further.

30. At macro (national and regional) level we also need metrics to measure circularity, but more important than circularity itself is dematerialisation. If, for example, we measure the amount of GDP generated against some measurement of ‘stuff’ this allows us to take into account the generally lower impacts of the service economy, and to adjust taxation policies accordingly, by redirecting taxes more towards products.

31. As mentioned before, the same applies to measuring the embedded CO2 in products or services. By measuring embodied CO2 and penalising high scoring products through taxation, legislators would indirectly be helping to encouraging more recycling. At present, for instance, we produce a carpet from recycled material that has 5kg of embodied CO2 per metre compared with 20kg in other non-recycled carpets in the market. Where is the incentive today for the market to move towards low embodied carbon products. Let’s think beyond carpet: cement, steel, the whole construction sector does not receive a single signal when it comes to embodied CO2.

The service economy is the circular economy

32. To most people the circular economy involves a scenario where products are still bought and sold, but where the materials that make them are reused and recycled and shifted around more efficiently, with little or no waste. But the ideal theoretical conditions for a circular economy are for products not to exist at all.

33. In other words, the service economy is the perfect circular economy – or vice versa. If we could reach a position where we could serve peoples needs without physical products, then we would have achieved true circularity.

34. Of course that outcome is highly unlikely, at least looking from where we stand today. But there’s no reason why we can’t move towards circularity by thinking more about how we can provide more services rather than wasteful products.

35. One interesting example of this can be found at an airport. If you spend a couple of hours there before catching a flight, what you really require – most of the time – is to be entertained for those two hours, or at least to fill the time productively. The waiting time should be a good opportunity to get a hair cut, or to take a Spanish lesson, or to listen to some jazz music. But what we are actually offered at an airport is the opportunity to buy endless lines of products – shoes, luxury goods, perfumes – that we probably don’t need. One of the reasons for this is that services rely heavily on labour, and labour is taxed more heavily than anything else. That makes it more difficult for individuals to offer hairdressing at an airport at a reasonable cost, and profitable for multinationals to sell us cuddly toys and bars of Toblerone. If we were to switch more of our taxation on to products rather than labour, then we could make our way much more quickly towards a circular economy based on a preponderance of services. That requires planning at a macro-economic level. And tinkering with the tax system is an elephant in the room for chancellors across Europe. We need to ask ourselves whether we want a circular economy or not.

36. In short, if we are to create a new, sustainable economy then we need to sell each other more services that have no physical impact. That doesn’t mean a zero growth economy, as some argue: it means unlimited GDP growth, but with no cost to the planet.

37. We can do that by selling more of the intangible stuff that people really need. For example, how do I deal with anxiety? I buy another ice cream or a KitKat. I buy them, I eat them and I regret 10 minutes after. How does my wife deal with it? She buys a pair of shoes. Again, a product. Maybe other people light up a cigarette. But answering anxiety with products costs too much to the environment and our health and in many ways we end up with products we regret later. The ice cream makes me fat and my wife throws away the shoes after a few wears. We buy these things impulsively and because they are easily available.

38. Could an innovative company come up with a service to address my anxiety and make money out of it? The economy that creates local jobs is the service economy: hairdressers, doctors, restaurants, aerobics classes. Services are more likely to serve end human needs than products. I would be much better sorting out my anxiety with a swim, or a visit to concert or a comedy club.

39. In order to achieve sustainability we need to move towards a service-based economy. Taxing products on the basis of their environmental costs would act as a huge favour to services. Unfortunately we are far from that scenario, as we can see by the ridiculous price of carbon. We are working with a few leading minds in Europe to help make this transition such as the Ex-Tax project.

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My Talk From ‘Resource 2014’

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Back in March I was privileged to talk at, and be part of a panel discussion at Resource 2014 – The first major event for the Circular Economy.

A bit more about Resource – ‘A resource constrained world demands new thinking and new business models. Representatives from extraction, design, recycling, manufacturing, retail and resource recovery must come together to capitalise on the commercial opportunities of a circular economy.

Resource is the first major conference and exhibition for organisations looking to develop strong resource strategy and resilient resource security, providing opportunities to collaborate, partner, network and learn.’

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GuardianSustBiz Live Chat on Global Resource Challenges – Review

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I was delighted to be part of a live chat group yesterday for the Guardian, discussing ‘how businesses can create value loops that keep resources in the economy for longer.’

The main core of the discussion was exploring how companies are adapting their business models to absorb global resource challenges, that are increasing in severity and frequency. Hannah Gould wrote “Progressive companies are preparing for resource challenges by rethinking the design of their products, reworking the services they offer and building more collaborative relationships with suppliers and consumers.” which is absolutely spot on.

The panel was comprised of myself, Henk de Bruin, global head of sustainability at PhilipsForbes McDougall, corporate waste strategy leader at Procter & GambleMarkus Zils, Principal at McKinsey & CompanyNeil Harris, green technology and innovation manager – Cisco.

Business model changes discussed, included:

* Orangebox has created a stronger loop strategy in its manufacturing process, chairs are removed from customers sites before delivering new sets, disassembled to reuse and recycle. They changed design priorities so that chairs can be re-manufactured more efficiently.

Interface operates ReEntry – A scheme which offers to take its carpet back from its customers, divert it from landfill and repurpose it to extend the lifespan. Leasing models mean businesses can retain ownership and secure the resources critical to continued production.

P&G announced that in the last five years, it had created $1bn in value from waste – paper sludge from its toilet paper is converted to low cost roof tiles for homes in Mexico, shaving foam waste is now repurposed as commercial compost.

Read the full article here and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page for the chat!

Please comment below or tweet me – @ramonarratia examples of business models that innovatively address resourcing challenges. Would be great to hear from you.

Thank you to Hannah, the rest of the panel and the Guardian.

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