Let us first introduce what the circular economy is.
In a year in which the European Union itself is confronting greenwashing (Green Claims Directive), the concept of circular economy runs the risk of being perverted, as was the case with sustainability. We agree that both should be promoted, but we must also be very critical of the excessive use of the term by brands and corporations.
This new economy has emerged as a promising approach to counteract the growing scarcity of resources and environmental stresses resulting from conventional or linear production and consumption patterns. The throwaway culture is no longer viable on our little blue planet and the Circular Economy will be the only model that will allow us in the medium and long term to maintain a quality and welfare of our modus vivendi and above all is the only solution to be able to provide all regions and countries with what in the West we have called welfare state.
The circular economy asks us to focus on austerity in the extraction of materials and minerals, on renewable energy sources, and on sustainable production and consumption; focusing on the benefits to society as a whole of bringing this new category of products and services to market.
Every company today should have circular economy objectives in its strategic plans at the same level as it has for decarbonization or energy transition. And, of course, not to claim to be sustainable on the basis of a tiny part of production or sales for a very marginal or unrepresentative circular product. We consumers have already learned from this. Paper does not hold everything and not all that glitters is gold.
Any company currently boasting circular economy practices must demonstrate:
- minimized use of raw materials,
- less hazardous characteristics compatible with the environment or even biodegradable,
- origins based on recovery and recycling,
- waste generation tending to zero
- low energy intensity
- low emissions towards carbon neutral or net zero-carbon.
In addition, the degree of circularity of the resources used, throughout the supply chain, must be known and follow these same objectives, also adding factors such as product longevity, utility and obsolescence . Even for the use phase of products and services, consumers and users must be provided with more durable, multifunctional experiences and utilities and, of course, free of new environmental impacts. Circular Economy is also dematerialization or servitization, reverse logistics for products, packaging and integrated resource-waste management.
So, is my product or organization circular?
It will depend on indicators and quantitative and qualitative magnitudes associated with all the aspects or criteria indicated above.
We can give our products and services pretty pictures, music and even a ribbon if we want, but in the end the circular economy is a matter of industrial design of products and processes, of creativity and innovation throughout the life cycle. It is a matter of business commitment and of applying that millenary theory that tells us that less is more. A sort of Lean methodology applied to the flows and balances of matter and energy.
At this point and as no one said that this was going to be something simple, Ecomundis, Consulting specialized in sustainability, proposes to make use of the Material Circularity Index (MCI: Material Circularity Indicator), which collects each and every one of these indicators for each product and organization. This metric was initially developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Design in 2015 as part of the European Life project and in September 2023 Ecomundis makes it more accessible and makes it available to companies on its platform RightSupply.net as a specific metrics management module.
Ecomundis simplifies this index in the form of a % circularity index so that any product manufacturing company that wishes to do so can already enroll in its circularity index calculation program. Request more information in the attached form or consult more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.