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  • Writer's pictureElin Wibell

There are so many ways for enterprise to work sustainably and to actually boost business from doing so! What follows is a brief account of how your company can make a positive impact by implementing a circular business model.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and IDEO have jointly developed The Circular Design Guide. The guide is really an ideal tool for identifying opportunities to make your business more sustainable. By joining the circular economy, you prolong the life of your product, thus furthering a positive cycle and, incidentally, generate numerous opportunities to expand your range of services.

  • Reuse – this way, you extend how long a product or a material stays in use. This might mean offering a product as a service, as in car sharing schemes, or reselling old possessions as on e-bay.

  • Refurbish - You design a product that can easily be repaired or upgraded to prolong use. There are many ways to have the product come back to you - this time as the service provider.

  • Remanufacture – Your product returns to the manufacturer after use to have any necessary components replaced before re-entering the market. Restore your product to new or better standard.

  • Recycle - You design a product that is made from pure materials, standardised to be recycled and returned to a raw natural state.

So how do you go about it? A start is to follow these steps:

1.) Define your challenge based on weaknesses/opportunities

2.) Find circular opportunities as in;

- Can your product be a service in some way?

- Can you make it easier for your users to repair it themselves?

- Can you minimise the waste stream your product produces?

- Can any of your materials be sourced more locally?

3.) Build a cross functional project team

4.) Circular buy-in & stakeholder mapping

5.) Develop or redefine your business model from a circular design perspective

6.) Create brand promise - How does your circular opportunity reinforce your brand value?

Read The Circular Design Guide to get all the steps defined and start your own journey

Source & Copyright © Ellen MacArthur Foundation + IDEO 2016.

  • Writer's pictureElin Wibell

Food waste is a huge global problem. 31% of food produced is lost or wasted through the value chain and as consumer waste.

That's why Tristram Stuart, an expert on the environmental and social impacts of food production, created Toast Ale in 2015. A start-up where all profits go to a charity aimed to stop the waste of food.

Toast Ale collects surplus bread from delis, bakeries and sandwich makers and use it to brew beer. 44% of all bread in the UK is thrown away so he want get a shortage of bread. This is a great example of circular economy.

Most companies have CSR-strategies in place. Yet many have not considered if and how their initiatives and strategies are linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

In order to be able to prioritise and really ensure your business is focusing on the relevant/most pressing issues, you must begin by scrutinising your CSR-goals. Not only to identify which goals actually apply, but also which ones you can improve.

The goals aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030. They provide a shared vision and goals for governments, the private sector and civil society for a more sustainable world.

Become an even better Employer

If you have a production site in a developing country (- or in a developed country for that matter) you probably have a minimum salary policy in place. But what stops you from actually becoming a role model as well as an attractive employer. In fact, ensuring that the salaries you offer go beyond compliance are closely linked to Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Establish local Partnerships The food and agriculture sector both hold the key solutions for development and are consequently vital factors in the global efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty. Yet, there are an estimated 500 million small farms worldwide, most of which are still rainfed, which provide up to 80% of the food consumed in large parts of the developing world.

These small farms play a crucial role in increasing food security and nutrition for the poorest local markets. If your company is sourcing for production in a certain area, why not establish local partnerships to support the local farmers. By doing so, you would actively contribute to Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Reduce, Re-use and Recycle

For those companies that have large production sites you probably already have explored the possibilities of clean energy solutions. Moreover, you have probably discussed how to become Co2 neutral in production. But did you know that one-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewables? Why not take it one step further and actively support innovative solutions by installing solar panels on your factory roof. They are cheap and will save you money, all while contributing to support the development of renewable energy solutions.

Oh, and don’t forget to ensure that the water you use is the minimum required - and always think in terms of; reduce, re-use and recycle. Did you know that?

  • Less than 3 per cent of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5 per cent is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers. Humanity must therefore rely on 0.5 percent for all of man’s ecosystem’s and fresh water needs.

  • Man is polluting water faster than nature can recycle and purify water in rivers and lakes.

  • More than 1 billion people still do not have access to fresh water.

  • Excessive use of water contributes to the global water stress.

By looking into these issues you are also making a contribution to Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Volunteering has tremendous potential to do good

Even if you do not have large production facilities or large workforces, you can still help the new generation to have the possibility to attend school. Obtaining a quality education is the very foundation to improving people’s lives - and for a sustainable development.

By supporting schools and sending your staff as volunteers instead of the old, predictable kick-offs, you are not only promoting Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. As an added bonus you are also building internal pride and engagement.

Did you know that 78% of the workforce is seeking a career that actually does good in the world? Consequently volunteer work is an enormous renewable resource for social, economic, and environmental problem-solving - throughout the world.

So, speak to your CSR-manager to discuss how to make sure your vision is aligned with the UN’s goals. They can be found in their totality here. If you want to support them privately, there are, moreover, many other ways you can help.

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