Could the circular business model be the future?

Could the linear business model of take, make and dispose be a thing of the past? With the climate changing and prominent figures such as David Attenbrough warning of a coming ‘catastrophe,’ it seems that green business models may be a precedent for the future. This is where the idea of a circular economy comes in.

Currently, many businesses operate on a linear model of take, make and dispose. In contrast, a circular business is all about regenerating, repurposing and reusing. It aims to redefine business growth by dissociating economic activity from the consumption of finite resources through the adoption of three principles:

  • Design to remove waste and pollution.
  • Use products until they literally cannot be used any more.
  • Regenerate natural systems.

report by SystemIQ and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that there may be €320bn worth of opportunities in Europe surrounding food, mobility and build environment value chains, representing 60% of consumer expenditure and 80% of resource use – those are some serious percentages!

It may not come as a surprise, but the food industry is a significant contributor to waste in Europe. According to the United Nations, if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of CO2 globally. Which is a rather terrifying figure indeed.

There are a number of companies in the UK that are embracing the Circular Economy, such as:

  • Bio-bean – A clean technology firm that recycles used coffee grounds to make biofuels.
  • Bulb– The UK’s largest renewable energy supplier.
  • LettUsGrow – A business that builds farms of the future, specialising in vertical farms that empowers businesses to grow feed near where it is consumed.

Changing to this type of economy, however, will take a considerable length of time, as it requires changes at the political, corporate and consumer level. As this green circular revolution gains momentum, it seems that even more opportunities for investment will arise. Will the linear model of take, make and dispose become a thing of the past?

The same could be applied to your assets. You might not be dealing with food waste or energy, but still it may be worth thinking about how you can reuse or repurpose any assets that you have. Think about how you can get maximum value from a particular facet of your life. Is there something that you use once and throw away that you could be reusing? Small steps lead to big differences.

Watch this space for more updates.