22 May 2020
Monday afternoon saw the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce’s president Paul Little, host ‘Circular Glasgow’s Strategy Webinar: The Opportunity of the Circular Economy.’ In partnership with Accenture, members and speakers discussed the circular economy opportunities for the city’s businesses and the supply chain.
Accenture Strategy’s Peter Lacy began the Webinar sharing his insights from the ‘The Circular Economy Handbook’, which will be published in the UK on Sunday 24 May, and his work with global companies in a bid to become more circular. Peter was followed by other guest speakers from across the global circular network.
Peter highlighted how business models are at the heart of driving the circular economy, with key technologies an important area to focus on. Through business, consumers should be taken on the journey of the circular economy as it is relevant to any organisation, with a range of opportunities available.
Peter said, “At the moment, the global system is unstable and urgent action is needed. To reduce 50% of global greenhouse gases we must consider the way we reduce and consume resources; this is where the circular economy comes in.”
Peter went on to discuss the importance of opportunities following the COVID19 lockdown, with regards to investment to restart and reshape our economies. These should enable new ways to build relationships between resources, the environment and the economy.
In order to grasp these opportunities, businesses must reinvent the way they produce and consume in terms of products required. To introduce circularity, products should be looped back into the system, creating a regenerative and restorative system.
By embracing the circular economy, organisations can enter new markets, it is estimated globally to be worth $4.5 trillion and, in the UK, alone $40 billion each year.
Louise Koch, corporate sustainability director of the international region for Dell Technologies, discussed how the company have been using the circular economy to reduce waste from high production demand and the shipping of over 200,000 products a day globally.
Louise spoke about some of the circular material innovations Dell Technologies has been using to drive the circular economy across the IT sector by focusing on reduce, reuse and rethink.
Equipment is now designed by Dell with the whole lifecycle in mind - no part of a computer or server should go to waste using the modular approach. Recycled plastics have been turned into products by recovering materials from used electronics and waste from the aerospace industry has provided a strong lightweight material now used in Dell laptops.
As part of Dell’s Take Back Programme, the business has teamed up with Wistron to “connect the dots” in recovering plastics and shipping back to Asia. This allows for the materials to be reprocessed into 105 different models with a third of plastic in Dell’s servers made from close loop plastics.
Despite being shipped around the world, close loop plastics have a smaller carbon footprint than virgin materials and plastics, saving Dell $2million dollars and allowing the business to continue scaling up and furthering the project.
Dell Technologies began the Next Wave Partnership together with NGO lonely whale foundation, with seven other global companies, including: Trek Bikes, IKEA and main competitor HP. The company’s view is that encouraging circularity is too important not to share ideas with competitors, as reducing the use and scale of plastics encourages the innovative drive to reuse ocean bound materials.
Through scaling up the impact, it enables the creation of a large-scale viable process to bring ocean bound plastic back into the innovative system.
The organisation aims to further the use of sustainable, recyclable and reusable materials in products and packaging while continuing the growth of its end of life take back programmes.
Ryan Gellert, general manager, EMEA region for Patagonia, explained how the outdoor retailer includes the circular economy into its everyday running of the business.
Ryan said, “We run Patagonia by the four Rs. Reduce - only buy what you need, we want our customers to be owners not buyers of apparel. Repair - as a company we have free product repair facilities around the world as we value the circularity of products. In turn this allows for us to reuse items across the business, as we believe in keeping a product alive for as long as possible.
“Lastly, recycle, Patagonia will accept back any product we have ever made and recycle it, this has allowed us to increase technical capacities for product recycling.”
Ryan highlighted that any product or business can apply circularity at some stage in their process, whether it is on the small or large scale, it can make a difference. Especially in the retail sector, where the use of recycling products or materials is possible on the day to say running of any organisation.
Wesley Spindler, business strategy and sustainability senior manager at Accenture Strategy and co author of ‘The Circular Economy Handbook’, emphasised the importance of building good relationships across the industry to promote a successful circular economy.
Wesley said, “If a business is able to engage customers, investors, suppliers, and policy makers in its circular journey, cooperation and collaboration geographically and across industry becomes simpler. It allows for new markets and standards, whilst getting policy makers onboard, in turn helping investors to understand the value of the circular economy.”
To learn more about Circular Glasgow, a Glasgow Chamber of Commerce initiative, click here
Next week’s webinars, hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce:
Three webinars will be taking place next week, with HMTC’s Natalie Black guest speaking on Tuesday 26. She will be discussing the potential opportunities to harnessed across Asia Pacific to drive recovery and growth from Coronavirus. On Wednesday 27 Stuart Patrick will be hosting a Coronavirus business discussion and on Friday 29, Debbie Shields and other members of Scottish Women In Business will be on the WeeG platform.
For more infomation and to sign up please follow the link here