Why go circular?
A circular economy represents an essential lever for companies wishing to boost their competitiveness and economic growth. It is a genuine tool for optimising production, creating jobs, reducing dependence on natural resources and bringing about an ecological transition. A circular economy thus makes it possible to combine economic, social and environmental objectives, as part of the corporate framework for social and environmental responsibility.
As producers, consumers and creators of waste, companies have great potential for implementing circular actions. By doing so, they can take action in terms of all circular rationales, and benefit from gains in competitiveness at every level of the economic cycle.
Thanks to a circular economy, companies can:
- Reduce their consumption of raw materials and energy. A circular economy makes it possible to reduce and/or better control consumption through more sustainable, local and diversified sourcing, as well as through production practices based on the reutilisation of resources. This is made possible by innovative thinking in regards to the raw materials used in production, partnerships with other local businesses, in which one company's waste becomes another's supply source, and the introduction of end-of-life goods collection programmes, which, in collaboration with reuse or recycling centres, provide a low-cost supply source. In this way, a circular economy limits the risks associated with fluctuating raw material prices or resource shortages.
- Increase their competitiveness, diversify and gain access to new markets, not only through the development of new products, processes or services with high added-value, such as eco-design, new business models (such as the economy of functionality or industrial symbiosis), but also through the development of innovative technologies and new, local production channels;
- Create new outlets, mainly in the industrial sector, and build customer loyalty through the adoption of business models that favour the supplier/customer relationship (such as the economy of functionality);
- Pool infrastructures, resources and services using innovative economic solutions that go beyond traditional economic practices through industrial partnerships between companies in the same region;
- Generate new sources of income by upcycling waste, whether through reuse, repair, remanufacturing, recycling or energy recovery;
- Keep up to date with the latest regulations and easily adapt their practices, in anticipation of future societal and legislative changes, while also being more resilient in the face of future crises;
- Communicate their commitments in terms of environmental and social responsibility to their partners and customers, improve the company's image and become more attractive.
How to become circular?
The circular economy applies to many sectors of activity, and involves a wide variety of actions. It is not always easy to understand them all, or to grasp the full scope of different behaviours. The 10Rs model presents a rather exhaustive range of possible actions, prioritising different behaviours according to their influence on our ecological footprint. Find out more about this model in our article (in French).