Profitable shift to Circular Economy for Manufacturers and Retailers: Monetize Waste, Boost Sales, while Saving the Environment

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Circular economy
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The circular economy in its ideal form is zero waste as all resources are fully recycled. A second-hand marketplace like eBay is clearly extending the lifetime of products by recycling them in society. And many manufacturing brands, like DELL, have re-use and refurbishment as a key policy. Circularity has considerable and sustainable net benefits for businesses. Indeed, there is value in viewing waste as a resource as it can lead to new profit streams. In an attempt to uphold its Corporate Social Responsibilities, Icecat encourages its partners to experiment with circular transitions and to understand what the benefits are of the circular approach for Manufacturers and Retailers.

Circular Economy

According to the report launched by the “Circular Economy” organization in January 2019, “The transition to circularity is […] a means to an end”. The Linear Economy has become unsustainable and costly for businesses (Environmental Leader, 2015). Moreover it is leading to price volatility and decline or even depletion of critical resources.

The concept of the Circular Economy is a sustainable business response to the challenges of climate change. It involves thinking about the end of the product, at the beginning. It is about designing products that can be reused, refurbished, and repaired. And making the waste of one product, the raw material for another.

This circular transition is indeed an active attempt to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As well as ensuring the Paris Agreement. The 2015 report of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicted that the European economy could grow by €1.8 trillion by 2030. The Circularity Gap Report 2019 explains that “the world can maximise chances of avoiding dangerous climate change by moving to a circular economy”. Proposed circular strategies involve extending the lifetime of products through optimizing their utility, using waste as a resource, and ultimately, circular design.

Benefits for Manufacturers

For manufacturers, the key is to look at the manufacturing process to understand the size and value of the waste stream and how to monetize it. Not only will it cut environmental costs, but it will generate cost savings. By broadening the use and expanding the life of the product through re-manufacturing, you can create further value and generate a new profit stream. Repairing, remarketing, and upgrading products that would be otherwise lost through wasted materials can have significant financial benefits, according to ING Americas (2018).

DELL driving circular economy in IT

DELL’s partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation culminated in a closed-loop initiative of recycling the plastics from its products to make new plastic parts. Within this closed-loop – plastics – recycling process, DELL extend the life of that material, while reducing the carbon footprint and other environmental costs. Moreover, DELL views circularity as a way to increase its competitiveness, new product development, and ultimately boost sales. It shows that businesses can indeed increase its net benefits by shifting to circular production. DELL’ s circular transition makes it an innovator driving the circular economy in the IT industry.

Benefits for Retailers

Increasing the attractiveness and deepening the connection with your customers are amongst the benefits of moving to the circular economy. Another key element is competitiveness: be an innovator able to compete in your industry. Below, you can find a suggestion of how to do so by David Rakowski.

Circular Economy

Icecat adopting a Circular Approach

The Circular Economy is about using a product efficiently to create further value. Icecat’s business vision chimes with this circular mentality. One could say, that Icecat’s core-process is recycling great manufacturer product data, and re-organizing it in a way that makes it extremely useful for e-commerce. The more productively and efficiently, Icecat can do this in co-operation with brand and retailer clients, the better ecommerce buying processes are facilitated. Potentially, lowering average transaction costs and returns.

Two of the takeaways of our colleague Elisabeth Krussand. Visiting the “Circular Economy” conference on January 22, 2019, in Amsterdam – relate teaming up with like-minded partners to generate more traction and to increase awareness about the importance of the Circular Economy.

“Closing the circularity gap serves the higher objective of preventing further and accelerated environmental degradation […]”

Circular Economy, Jan. 22, 2019

About the Circular Economy:
Circular Gap Report 2019:

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