Circular economy

Increasingly more enterprises choose circular economy models

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

BBC dedicates an in-depth report to this phenomenon: Europe is the cradle of transition. A convenient choice for all companies.

“More and more firms are completely rethinking how products are made; redesigning them to make them more durable, easier to dismantle, repair and reuse”. Circular economy is gaining ground and becoming a standard for global enterprises: this is what the BBC sustains in a detailed report dedicated to this transformation.

“Changing the way we organise our current economic model is no easy task, but European governments and some of the continent’s largest companies are waking up to the fact that profound change is needed”, says the British report. “The reason is simple; ever-growing demand, driven by population growth and wealth creation, cannot be met by the Earth’s finite natural resources”.

One of the leaders of this transition is the European Union, which currently imports over 60% of its raw materials. At the end of last year, the EU announced a new plan for circular economy with over €6 billion funding. The European Commission expects this investment to be highly profitable, with a saving of €600 billion per year and creation of thousands of jobs. Interestingly, an increasing number of big companies started adopting circular business models: the list includes industrial giants such as Unilever, Philips, Google, Ikea, Renault, and Jaguar Land Rover.

This means that the circular economy does more than just help the environment: it appears as a convenient solution in terms of costs and benefits even for profit-oriented enterprises.

The latest example is the Jaguar-Land Rover group. Two of the three Land Rover models are fully made of aluminium, which is lighter than steel and allows to improve performances and fuel consumption. The problem of aluminium is that it costs more and requires more energy to be produced, leading to a higher emission of CO2. For this reason, the automotive company decided to use recycled aluminium for its vehicles: the rate of recycled aluminium is currently 50%, but the company aims at reaching 75% by 2020.

It is impossible to deny that this transition had a certain cost, deriving from the difficulty of finding an effective technical solution and reorganizing the production chain. This cost, however, was abundantly covered by the savings generated by recycling, as it was no longer necessary to produce new aluminium. Now the company is studying the possibility of using other recycled materials, such as steel, magnesium, glass and plastic.

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