Regrettably, most of the times, such useful ideas for circularity are not evident. Data from the entire value chain is required since not all is what it seems. For instance, from a lifecycle perspective, it is known that merely closing loops is not always the best idea; it can even have negative consequences. An example of the tire industry: based upon Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data evidence suggests that using used tyre-scrap for new tyres has hardly any impact on the CO2 emitted during the lifecycle of the tyre as the rolling resistance has the biggest impact and adding tyre-scrap as filler will most likely increase the rolling resistance significantly. In this case recycling does not make sense.
To support the change towards circularity, a new approach – the “Opportunity Checker” – has been developed by Finch & Beak and PRé Sustainability. It combines two well-established and proven ways of determining material impact of sustainability issues – a materiality assessment and a hotspot analysis.
A materiality assessment provides valuable insights “outside in” by asking the main stakeholders which issues are most relevant to them and their business. This approach helps organisations to identify the main issues in a company’s ecosystem including all relevant stakeholders.
A hot spot analysis is a quantitative tool based upon LCA-data that helps organisations to understand where the biggest impact is in the business ecosystem, not only where in the value chain but also for which indicators. To do a structural hot spot analysis one has to determine the exact boundaries of the business system: is it gate-to-gate, cradle-to- gate or cradle-to-grave? This ‘inside out’ approach makes the relevant impacts very tangible.
Usually, these tools or approaches are used independently by different parts of the organisation. By combining both, the approaches and the teams, an organization can pinpoint what’s most relevant and where to make the biggest difference. By scoring issues and impacts on both scales a matrix is created illustrating the biggest opportunities for innovation.
After having created more insight into where to start with circularity in the value chain, let’s move forward and see how to turn the analysis into practice. Here are two steps to help companies become more successful in turning analysis into practice:
Alignment: An innovation event to focus the efforts and address challenges that have been previously identified in key areas such as packaging, raw materials, process optimization, product re-use and waste valuation. During the event, teams need to identify challenging product ideas and redesign processes, products and services.
Is your company working on integrating sustainability and trying to advance its business model towards the circular economy? Send an e-mail to Jan van der Kaaij today via firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn how Finch & Beak can help you solve your challenge.
This article was written by Eric Mieras, Managing Director of PRé Sustainability and Jan van der Kaaij, Managing Partner of Finch & Beak. Please download the PDF in the download-section on the top of this page for their presentations at the Masterclass Circular Economy that was held last February in Rotterdam.