The circular economy is here to stay! It represents both a solution to the environmental problems faced by our planet and an opportunity for business: the estimates say that $1.8 trillion is the worth of wealth that could be created by unleashing circularity.
This mega-trend is already pushing businesses to change and innovate – to respond to a consumer that demands it, to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility, and to create circular flows within their own business that allows them to reduce costs, improve efficiency and create new business opportunities.
Here’s a look at 5 companies who are integrating the circular economy into their business or building the path that allows for this new type of economy.
This is a project created by Chilean designer Margarita Talep. Tired of all the one-use, non-recyclable packages, she decided to create her own packages. She has created a sustainable, biodegradable alternative, using raw material extracted from algae.
According to the designer, the material only includes natural matter, including the dyes, used to color it, which are extracted from the skins of fruits and vegetable (like blueberries, purple cabbage, beetroot, and carrots), and the material biodegrades in between 2 (in summertime) and 3 months (in winter time).
The bioplastic is best for dry foods, and there are already prototypes for different types of packages: cellophane paper, bubble wrap, spoons, cookie packs, and straws. Even though they are not being mass-produced yet, Margarita believes that “bio-fabrication will be an important part of future industries,” said Talep. “As long as all the processes of extracting these raw materials and their manufacture are done with environmental awareness.”
Recreate Design Company
Recreate Design Company gives companies the option to be 100% sustainable when designing their new spaces.
They create bespoke spaces for both private homes and companies made from sustainable sources: by salvaging old furniture and materials that are then re-designed or re-used by the company to create unique spaces for clients.
They also have a programme to help companies moving to new offices to get rid of the surplus of unwanted furniture. They match the companies with non-profits and local schools who need the furniture so that it can be donated and its lifespan prolonged effectively.
Ikea is leading the way in terms of big corporations switching to a more sustainable business, making a huge commitment to become circular and climate neutral by 2030.
They are committed to consume 100% renewable energy by 2020 and also expand their offer of home solar solutions to consumers in 29 different markets.
They have integrated successfully into their products a circular mindset – designing to be recyclable and procuring recycled materials to produce their products – they already have products 100% recycled. This in an impactful measure due to Ikea’s scale – they consume around 1% of the world’s wood supply.
They are also changing their business to fit this mindset – they are now considering selling different spare parts of furniture, experimenting with allowing costumers to bring their used products to be re-homed or recycled in exchange for a voucher, and experimenting with a new business model by renting furniture.
Adidas partnered up with Parley for the Oceans (a non-profit organization) to reduce the number of plastic in the oceans. They produced a sneaker model completely made out of yarn recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets.
The model was a success – it’s said that each pair of shoes uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles, which means that Adidas has recycled some 55 million plastic bottles this year.
The company now hopes to have 100% recycled materials in its products by 2020.
The circularity mega-trend is impacting both mainstream brands and premium brands. This is particularly true in the fashion industry who is accused of representing a big part of the waste produced (mainly due to fast fashion trends). To contradict this trend, brands are opting for organic and sustainable options. Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection made out of orange fiber fabric – a fabric created with what remains after squeezing citrus fruits for juice – because there are more than 700,000 tons of by-product in Italy only.
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