By now you’ve probably seen the words ‘Net Zero’, ‘Circular Economy’ and ‘Carbon Neutral’ all over your social media. Many large enterprises such as Shell, Apple and IKEA have set Carbon Neutral targets to achieve by 2030. But what does it mean?
Well, it means that each company has committed to more environmentally practices as a whole to ensure they have reduced their greenhouse gas production in line with the amount being removed from the atmosphere to achieve a neutral status.
The circular economy redefines the process of manufacturing by focusing on the recycling, repurpose and reduction of materials and energy throughout the cycle. The growth of consumerism and modern manufacturing processes over the last 100 years has seen the creation of an unsustainable linear economy.
Products are made, used and sent to landfill. Recycling may be possible with some products but this is down to the end-user to act upon. Manufacturer’s had not been held accountable for their part in the pollutant effects of their industry and as a result, carbon emissions have increased year on year (peaking in the 1890s and steadily dropping ever since) at a rapid rate. We’ve come a long way since the infamous smog-logged skies of London during the 1800s Industrial Revolution, but there’s still a way to go to ensure a safe and clean planet for future generations.
Experts are saying that the circular economy could be the key to success.
The circular economy cycle asks manufacturers to consider their processes to combat non-sustainable practices at the start rather than as an afterthought. Value is added to the products that are manufactured by increasing their potential life span with higher quality or renewable materials to keep them in the cycle for longer and keep them out of the landfill.
The general benefits of the circular economy include:
- Fewer Greenhouse Gases
- Healthier Soils for farming and the natural eco-systems we rely on for our food supply
- Creation of new industries and jobs
- Decreased dependence on fossil fuels and finite materials
The most common and potentially greatest benefit of being adopting a circular economy structure for your company is what it can do for your reputation. Eco-friendly products are quickly appearing in our supermarkets, TV Ads and social media feeds.
Awareness of not only eco-friendly products but eco-friendly lifestyles is booming and it is not just a short-lived trend. 2020 saw people spend 12% more on eco-friendly options than the unsustainable competitor brands.
Don’t get left behind – green is good and people are keen to do their part. An eco-focused reputation with a proven cycle of sustainable processes and recyclable products could see your profits significantly increase.
A circular economy allows you to really look into your operations and identify the environmental risks within it, implement strategies to combat, prevent and resolve any issues to ensure you are meeting not only the environmental goals you want to but also oversee quality control as an indirect advantage.
The lockdowns experienced worldwide in 2020 proved just how dependent we are on the supply chain to keep things running smoothly. Reconsidering the resources you use, particularly those that are non-sustainable can provide security to your business. Raw materials such as fossil fuels and timber are quickly running out – coal and natural gases are predicted to run out by 2060 – so to refocus our attention on the reuse and repurpose of already manufactured products not only protects us now but also in the future.
The thought of becoming an eco-centric business may be overwhelming or seem unattainable but it doesn’t need to be! Candy Management Consultants offers ISO 14001 which is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems.
- Reduce your waste
- Save you money through more efficient manufacturing practices
- Reduce your insurance costs
- Reduce energy and water consumption (and the bills from them!)
- An improved reputation
- Continually improving practices meaning you are always up to date with the latest legislation
- Compliance with governmental policies
We utilise the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle to ensure consistent implementation of the standard.
Plan: What needs to be done? Who needs to do it? How long will it take? When does it need to be done by?
Do: Realise the plan, put the thoughts from the planning stage into action and discuss the ideas you have with those that will be involved in implementing them.
Check: Monitor the processes, the implementation of them and the expected results.
Act: From the results you have seen, what is next? Are you happy with them or do you want to see further improvements?
The process then begins again and is continuous. When used correctly PDCA can yield amazing results for any business.