As consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues, topics such as climate change, ocean plastics and alternative proteins are grabbing the collective attention. An equally important issue, however, still seems to be hiding in plain sight: e-waste. Its scale and impact have grown because of the pandemic, as companies are purchasing new hardware to accommodate homeworking while the office equipment sits idle. As such, it is estimated that approximately 25 percent of IT equipment in Europe will not be used in the future. Electronics companies have a great opportunity in measuring the impact of their core activities and products, and collaborating with value chain partners on knowledge-sharing initiatives in order to ultimately reduce the generation of e-waste.
The Dutch climate agreement and recent developments in the carsharing market present business opportunities to tap into the circular economy and bounce back better. Car sharing not only reduces the administrative and financial burden of company cars but also decreases emissions and congestion, which lead to better ESG performance. It also paves the road for a more circular automotive industry by incentivizing manufacturers to retain ownership of cars and maximizing their useful life.
The World Economic Forum kicked off 2021 with its Annual Meeting - the year in which we hope to leave COVID-19 behind us. It is clear that we are not out of the woods yet, but the pandemic crisis has also revealed other underlying issues. It has amplified existing inequalities – there are those who have access to work, healthcare, education and digital technologies and those who have not – and has particularly exposed the many shortcomings of our current systems. The more reason for countries and companies to look into opportunities to emerge stronger and more sustainably. The pandemic has hastened the need for transformations and to #BuildBackBetter.
In a fast-changing world with increasing internal and external risk, companies need to find smart solutions to achieve their sustainability objectives. Building strong partnerships with external stakeholders can help companies increase their positive impact as well as gaining a competitive advantage. This article sheds light on the partnership between Accor and the food waste reduction start-up Too Good To Go, highlighting both organizations’ objectives and partnership’s benefits.
In the outskirts of Santiago, inexpensive food is very hard to come by. There are only few supermarkets, and the food at local stores is typically priced 30-40% more expensive than normal. Chilean based startup Algramo has developed a solution to address this challenge. Founded in 2012, the company is solving economic and environmental issues through its vending machines. Algramo dispenses staple products, like grains, rice, beans, lentils, and sugar “by the gram” (al gramo) to low-income customers. Now partnering with Unilever and others, the company has developed a reusable packaging solution for household cleaners and detergents.
With the rise of sustainability, reverse logistics is one of the next frontiers for retailers and manufacturers around the globe. In a 100% circular economy, the return flow is equal to the volume of the original transaction. According to Optoro, a UPS-backed service provider focused on eliminating waste from returns, the retail industry is far from achieving such circularity. In its Retailer Sustainability Research on 128 prominent U.S. and global retailers, the company found that less than 1/4 of the retailers analyzed were implementing programs and adopting initiatives to advance the circular economy and only 30% of retailers implemented product take-back or recycling programs for consumers.
Sustainable mobility is one of today’s biggest challenges and the increase in introductions of electric vehicles has proven this. According to Bloomberg’s 2019 outlook on the Electric Vehicle market, it is expected that 57% of all passenger vehicle sales will be electric by 2040, and 80% of shared mobility will be electric with companies as Uber and Lyft gaining market share.
As the launch of the new Loop partnership at the 2019 World Economic Forum suggests, today’s biggest sustainability challenges require collaborative solutions. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals include SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. However, the number of sustainability partnerships has remained low due to fierce competition between companies for recognition of their sustainability performance. By forging and maintaining partnerships companies can make a bigger sustainability impact while also gaining the competitive advantage they seek.
The next edition of the World Resources Forum is taking place in the heart of Antwerp, Belgium from 24-27 February 2019 in collaboration with the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM). This time, business leaders, policy-makers, NGOs, researchers, entrepreneurs, the media, and students will share solutions and practices undertaken to move from a linear and fossil to a circular and low carbon economy.
The circular economy is a concept in direct opposition to the more traditional linear way of thinking, i.e. take-make-dispose. To help teams get more comfortable with the notion of developing Many Alternative Sustainable Solutions (MASS) by identifying sustainability challenges and selecting circular economy strategies, experimentation is recommendable. This Business Model Canvas team training exercise is aimed at experimenting with the development of circular economy solutions based on the value proposition of the BMW i3.