Towards circular economy strategies from a company perspective: How should sustainable “closed‐loops” look like for a given product?

Niki Bey, Monia Niero, Philippe Maurice Stotz

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    Abstract

    In the global strive towards more sustainable solutions, Circular Economy is seen as a central approach since it aims at a.o.t. closing material loops and thus at reducing the necessity to extract (new) raw materials for new products. While this overall idea is easy to understand, it is not easy to identify from a company perspective, what types of closed loops would be preferable – ranging from completely open loops to fully closed loops entirely under control of the company – and which implications the different options yield in terms of economic viability, technical feasibility and environmental sustainability. Also, the number of company‐external stakeholders to involve in each alternative differs, depending on the type of loop and, not the least, depending on the type of product and concrete markets, the product shall be sold on. At the same time, systematic support in finding suitable pathways towards closed‐loop solutions does not exist. This project aims at developing the foundations for such support; namely a systematic and integrated approach to identify candidate pathways. Key idea is to, firstly, combine state‐of‐the‐art insights from the knowledge pools “Technology”, “Business models”, and “Sustainability assessment” in an integrated closed‐loop system approach (fig. 1), and, secondly, to apply it to assess selected scenarios against the target factors “Climate impact/Abatement potential” and “Economic impact & viability”. Chosen product context is that of aluminium beverage cans and the approach is being developed with partners covering four key areas of recycled can systems: Carlsberg A/S, expressing the B2C demand, Ball Corp., being a B2B supplier, and two leading universities in recycling technology and sustainability assessment, incl. sustainable business models – KU Leuven and DTU. Expected results are 1) A comprehensive mapping of state‐of‐the‐art knowledge in three key knowledge pools that currently are rather separated (i.e. aluminium recycling technologies, circular business models, and sustainability assessment methods) 2) Two‐three identified high‐potential candidate paths that qualify for feasibility testing in an intended follow‐up project, wrt. technology and conditions on different markets globally (economy, infrastructure, consumer behaviour, etc.). Expected CO2e‐impact reduction from the combined infrastructure/technology approach is at least 10‐15% compared to today.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventSustain-ATV Conference 2016 - Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 30 Nov 201630 Nov 2016
    http://www.sustain.dtu.dk/

    Conference

    ConferenceSustain-ATV Conference 2016
    LocationTechnical University of Denmark
    CountryDenmark
    CityKgs. Lyngby
    Period30/11/201630/11/2016
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    Sustain Abstract A-12

    Cite this

    Bey, N., Niero, M., & Stotz, P. M. (2016). Towards circular economy strategies from a company perspective: How should sustainable “closed‐loops” look like for a given product?. Abstract from Sustain-ATV Conference 2016, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. http://www.sustain.dtu.dk/