A remarkable transformation is taking place in the global economy, with more and more established and start-up businesses generating value from waste products
that otherwise would end up in landfill or our oceans, rivers and lakes.
This is the finding from the recent fifth annual Circulars award, which recognizes businesses, governments and individuals that use innovation and disruptive technologies to reduce waste, emissions and the use of harmful materials.
With the circular economy estimated to represent a potential US$4.5 trillion growth opportunity for the global economy, this year’s awards saw an expansion in the scope and scale of successful circular solutions. In total, close to 450 applications were received from over 45 countries, a 50% increase on last year.
“More and more businesses understand that Closing the Loop isn’t just about stewardship of our natural resources, it’s about gaining a competitive edge. Companies that lack a circular strategy risk being left behind in the new economy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said Terri Toyota, Deputy Head of the Centre for Global Public Goods, World Economic Forum.
Below is a selection of winner, shortlisted companies and their solutions.
Award for Circular Economy Multinational
Schneider Electric (France) for integrating circular concepts throughout its business including prolonging product lifespan through leasing and pay-per-use; introducing take-back schemes into the supply chain and using recycled content and recyclable materials in their products.
12% of the firm’s revenues now come from circular activities and, between 2018 and 2020, about 100,000 tonnes of primary resource consumption will be avoided.
Miniwiz (Taiwan, China): For turning consumer waste into high-quality building materials.
Its “Trashpresso” mobile upcycling plant enables recycling without shipping waste long distances.
The company has saved 17 million kilogrammes of CO2 in construction projects alone
Tianjin Citymine (China): For pioneering the concept of “urban mining” using mobile recycling stations at waste sites to produce a reverse-logistics system of urban waste
“Consumers, employees, stakeholders and policymakers alike expect companies to lead with purpose around sustainability and are holding them accountable. Inaction or idleness can severely harm competitiveness, with a drop in stakeholder trust costing businesses globally $180 billion in potential revenues,” said Peter Lacy, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy.
“Moving to a circular economy delivers the disruptive change needed to secure a sustainable future, while enabling businesses to unlock innovation and growth. We are proud to recognize the individuals and organizations that are leading the circular movement, creating a thriving global economy.”