So, what is SUSTAINABILITY anyway?
Traditional business model:
‘The bottom line’ = $tockholder value
Sustainable business model:
Triple bottom line = Stakeholder value
Socially responsible – People
Environmentally responsible – Planet
Economically responsible – Profit
For ALL stakeholders: Employees, suppliers, customers and stockholders
What is a CIRCULAR ECONOMY?
A CIRCULAR ECONOMY is one that designs out waste so that none is produced in the first place. It is RESTORATIVE and REGENERATIVE and keeps products and materials at their highest usage and value at all times.
Sounds good, but HOW DO WE DO THAT?
In our current linear economy, we take-make-use-maybe recycle-dispose. The reason this fails is that 100% of end-of-life responsibility is placed on the consumer. In a circular economy, the producer or manufacturer of a product or material can retain ownership in order to take care of the product during use and recover it at end-of-use for upgrading, repurposing or recycling.
Why would producers want
all that responsibility?
By staying connected with their products, manufacturers can:
Study product weaknesses and failures and make improvements
Predict when maintenance should occur
Recover and reuse resources
These capabilities ultimately enable producers to establish lifetime customer loyalty and create better products that last longer so resources are conserved.
Give me an EXAMPLE
Rather than selling products, producers can lease ‘products as a service’. Imagine a new building where the property owner does not own the lighting system but rather leases it? The lighting-as-a-service company monitors lighting performance, optimizes it for energy conservation, maintains as needed and replaces and upgrades regularly. Zero worries for the property owner and the manufacturer maintains an on-going relationship with the customer.
OK, one more…
In 2015, Apple recovered $40MM in gold from its product take-back program. And that doesn’t include revenues from the 61 million pounds of steel, aluminum, copper and other materials recovered. Think that’s motivation?
And it’s not just about recycling
The move to circular economy models is about much more than recycling. It’s about energy, it’s about resources, it’s about profit. Find out what UPS and other enterprises are doing and have in store.
It all sounds good, but how can it possibly work?
If you have a dog or cat, you likely had a chip placed in them so you could be found if they get lost. Well, similar technology can help producers maintain contact with their products. Much of this is powered by RAIN RFID which are tags placed on or integrated into products that can wirelessly connect those products to the internet to provide information.
What is RFID?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), describes a number of technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify objects, materials or people. A tag that consists of a microchip and an antenna is placed on or incorporated into whatever is being tracked. The microchip holds data about the item and the antenna enables the chip to send that data to a reader from a distance. Depending on the application, critical and custom data can be stored and retrieved as needed, quickly and without error.
How about the “Internet of Things”?
Physical Items (things)
Electronically enabled (tagged)
so they can
Interact with people and each other (internet)
Without human involvement
How can the IoT support sustainability and a circular economy?
If we know what goes into our products and where they come from, we can verify that people and planet were taken care of when the product was produced.
If we know where that product is while it’s in use and what condition it is in, we can take better care of it so it lasts longer and works better.
When it’s time for a new model, you can connect with the manufacturer to take it back to repurpose the materials or direct you to a location where it can be donated or recycled.
What can be connected to the Internet of Things?
Smart Things & Systems
Grid & utilities
Electronics & appliances
Manufacturing & industrial automation
ICT (information and communications technology)
Automatic transaction systems
Supply Chains & Inventory Management
Farm to table