Close

Making Sense of the Circular Economy

The 7 Key Elements

Disruptive Startup

Bundles has a trailblazing product-as-a-service model by leasing Miele appliances. This promotes unique customer engagement and provides and incentivises product life-extension.


Corporation

Auping is a global mattress and bed manufacturer that is aiming to produce fully circular products. The company has plans to move towards pay per use leasing models for its beds to retain ownership of its products and raw materials. 


Circular Job

The leasing process manager is responsible for the coordination of the external service partners distributed across market segments. By contributing to the workings of a product as a service model, the leasing process manager contributes to the circular economy through the ‘rethinking the business model’ strategy.

Finding a Common Language

Disruptive Startup

Ioniqa has developed a game-changing technology to produce high-grade raw materials from PET waste. It was awarded the 2016 Accenture Innovation Award in the circular economy category.


Corporation

Renewi, formed from the merger of Shanks and Van Gansewinkel, is a leading waste-to-product business that operates across nine countries. The company focuses on transforming waste materials into a wide range of useful products.


Circular Job

The recycling operative’s job consists of sorting through recyclable waste and separating materials to be recovered. This sorting and separating constitutes an essential element in the recycling process, which involves the ‘use waste as a resource’ strategy, and thus presents itself a circular job. Day to day activities of the recycling operative include physical labour and machine handling such as forklift driving.

The circular economy has seen a significant increase in interest over the past few years and is continuing to gain steady momentum. 


With this surge in popularity, many mention the term “circular economy” or “circular principles” without really explaining what they mean. On the other hand, if the term is defined, the definition widely varies depending on the problems being addressed, the audience, or the lens through which the author views the world. 


In an effort to define a common language for the circular economy, Circle Economy has mapped the various terms and definitions used by over 20 organisations - NGOs, government agencies, academia, consultancies, etc. - working on elements of the topic. After interpreting and grouping these various terms, seven key elements emerged that defined the majority of terms linked to the circular economy. 


Ensure renewable, reusable, non-toxic resources are utilised as materials and energy in an efficient way.

Disruptive Startup

Floow2 is the first online, asset-sharing marketplace for companies. The platform reduces costs and increases product utilisation by matching supply and demand.


Corporation

DHL is a leading, global logistics service provider. The company is experimenting with integrating crowd-based logistics, drones and “parcelcopters” into its logistics systems and delivery chains.


Circular Job

The data analyst makes sense of large amounts of information by means varying from simple data aggregation to complex data mining. The data analyst’s occupation involves the ‘incorporate digital technology’ strategy and thus allows for smart systems and technology integration in the circular economy. This job often requires tertiary education in relatively new fields of data science and computer engineering.

Disruptive Startup

ACTronics remanufactures automotive electronic components, based on innovative and cost-effective processes. The company's rapid growth demonstrates the viability of its business model.


Corporation

Royal Philips is a global healthcare company that aims to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation. The company is starting to focus on remanufacturing and refurbishing programs for medical imaging equipment.


Circular Job

The appliance technician contributes to the circular economy by extending the lifetime of products. By embodying one of the strategies of the circular economy, ‘to preserve and extend what’s already made’, all repair and maintenance jobs are considered circular.

Consider opportunities to create greater value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services.

While resources are in-use, maintain, repair and upgrade them to maximise their lifetime and give them a second life through take back strategies when applicable.

Disruptive Startup

Fairphone designs modular mobile phones by using fair materials, good working conditions to enable the reuse and recycling of parts. The Fairphone 2, released in 2016, has anchored the company's niche position in the market.


Corporation

Desso is an international designer and producer of circular carpet tiles and broadloom. The company designs its own products and has developed innovative new techniques that allow its products to be collected and recycled or reused. 


Circular Job

An architect is responsible for designing buildings and by extension for the materials used during a building’s construction, its energy efficiency during the use phase and the potential for material recovery when it is demolished. An architect can thus contribute to the circular economy by ‘designing for the future’.

Disruptive Startup

Dutch aWEARness focuses on circular business-to-business workwear. It aims to increase transparency and information sharing in order to strengthen cooperation throughout the entire textile supply chain.


Corporation

DSM is a multi-national, chemical company that is active in health, nutrition, and materials. The company engages in frequent collaboration internally to develop innovative solutions, and also engages in a variety of partnerships with academia and the public sector.


Circular Job

The director of a trade association manages a membership organisation composed of multiple companies within a specific industry. The director can support the circular economy by encouraging greater collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking between companies. As such, the director can employ the ‘collaborate to create joint value’ strategy in order to contribute to the circular economy.

Utilise waste streams as a source of secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling.

Put in practice...

Put in practice...

Put in practice...

Work together throughout the supply chain, internally within organisations and with the public sector to increase transparency and create joint value.

Account for the systems perspective during the design process, to use the right materials, to design for appropriate lifetime and to design for extended future use.

Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies that provide insights.

Put in practice...

Put in practice...

Put in practice...

Disruptive Startup

SkyNRG is the global leader in sustainable aviation fuels and has pioneered new supply chains and production processes. It has supplied fuel to over 25 airlines, on all continents.


Corporation

Vitens is the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands and is pioneering innovative approaches to ensure a sustainable and continued supply of drinking water to the country.


Circular Job

The solar panel installer works within the energy sector to promote the use of solar as a renewable energy source. The job contributes to the circular economy by ‘prioritising regenerative resources’, the first strategy of the circular economy.

Put in practice...

We would love to hear from you!

What do you think of this perspective on the key aspects of the circular economy? How does your organisation define the circular economy?