Arwin and Beta-i are launching a new joint initiative, called (RE)SET, a European accelerator 100% dedicated to innovations in the Circular Economy. The goal is to enable major groups to identify global innovations and integrate the best ones into their economic and industrial models.
Géraldine Poivert, former Deputy Managing Director of Citeo and co-founder of Arwin, and Pedro Rocha Vieira, President of Beta-i, announced today the creation of (RE)SET, a joint venture combining Arwin’s expertise in the field of Circular Economy and Beta-I’s know-how in the field of open innovation and acceleration.
(RE)SET is the first European initiative dedicated to innovation in the circular economy sector for large groups in different industries. Between Paris and Lisbon, this project aims to support industrial groups in their ecological transformation and to place the circular economy at the heart of their strategic and industrial development.
New consumer trends, regulatory pressure, ability to attract talents or investors, and future business models around resources and energy – these are some of the complex challenges driving the circular economy.
For large companies, the environmental arena is becoming clearly strategic. The challenge is no longer to convince, but to act, and move from a risk and compliance model to an opportunity and competitiveness based logic. Because the best performers on Circular Economy topics will necessarily be the best placed to become the champions of tomorrow, as the pressure on natural resources and the risks related to climate change impact the economic world.
With (RE)SET, the industry springs into action
The (RE)SET approach is simple: to associate the leaders of each industrial ecosystem with the best environmental innovations, so that they can collaborate effectively and deploy concrete solutions adapted to the needs and projects of companies. By combining the production capacities of the major groups and the inventiveness of the most innovative companies, companies can strengthen their competitiveness and find viable markets. (RE)SET aims to create a virtuous circle that combines growth and economic attractiveness, while effectively addressing the challenges of climate change.
We combine economy, ecology, strategic analysis and operational implementation. (RE)SET provides essential solutions to start the circular economy on a large scale. Yesterday’s promises are today’s truths: replacing plastic packaging, transforming food waste into biogas, eco-designing furniture or filtering microplastics in water, it is possible today if we use the right methods.
Géraldine Poivert, co-founder of Arwin and President at (RE)SET.
Entire industries and ecosystems have been transformed very quickly thanks to Open Innovation’s new methods. By using the methods we have developed and proven in trade, electronics and energy to solve the problems of climate change, we will enable major groups to integrate the best environmental solutions to meet these now strategic challenges.
Pedro Rocha Vieira, CEO at Beta-i.
A first program dedicated to Plastic-free Packaging
The first (RE)SET Open Innovation Circular program concerns plastic packaging. Made mainly of materials that are non-renewable and non-degradable and with high carbon emissions, plastic is a key component of our daily activities.
Why packaging first? Because plastic has made it possible to make significant progress on this market to fight food waste, create robust food barriers, lighten containers and above all lower costs. Today, 41% of all plastic production is used for packaging. However, these do not degrade when abandoned and are extremely difficult to recycle into an economic equation that makes sense.
In line with their commitment to the “National Plastics Pact for 2025”, Carrefour and Système U will be the first companies to engage (RE)SET to find the most promising plastic packaging alternatives, for use in stores and retail spaces. The accelerator will allow them to replace part of their plastic portfolio with improved fiber packaging, and to bring about faster change in the technologies and materials used.
Get to know (RE)SET Retail here.
Commitment towards a sustainable future
Several other programs are being prepared with major sponsors in the areas of water, capital goods, biowaste or textiles, for example. Through these programs, (RE)SET and its partners are taking a step by step approach, balanced with both conviction and efficiency, in the fight against climate change.
Get to know the (RE)SET project here.
The circular economy is here to stay! It represents both a solution to the environmental problems faced by our planet and an opportunity for business: the estimates say that $1.8 trillion is the worth of wealth that could be created by unleashing circularity.
This mega-trend is already pushing businesses to change and innovate – to respond to a consumer that demands it, to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility, and to create circular flows within their own business that allows them to reduce costs, improve efficiency and create new business opportunities.
Here’s a look at 5 companies who are integrating the circular economy into their business or building the path that allows for this new type of economy.
This is a project created by Chilean designer Margarita Talep. Tired of all the one-use, non-recyclable packages, she decided to create her own packages. She has created a sustainable, biodegradable alternative, using raw material extracted from algae.
According to the designer, the material only includes natural matter, including the dyes, used to color it, which are extracted from the skins of fruits and vegetable (like blueberries, purple cabbage, beetroot, and carrots), and the material biodegrades in between 2 (in summertime) and 3 months (in winter time).
The bioplastic is best for dry foods, and there are already prototypes for different types of packages: cellophane paper, bubble wrap, spoons, cookie packs, and straws. Even though they are not being mass-produced yet, Margarita believes that “bio-fabrication will be an important part of future industries,” said Talep. “As long as all the processes of extracting these raw materials and their manufacture are done with environmental awareness.”
Recreate Design Company
Recreate Design Company gives companies the option to be 100% sustainable when designing their new spaces.
They create bespoke spaces for both private homes and companies made from sustainable sources: by salvaging old furniture and materials that are then re-designed or re-used by the company to create unique spaces for clients.
They also have a programme to help companies moving to new offices to get rid of the surplus of unwanted furniture. They match the companies with non-profits and local schools who need the furniture so that it can be donated and its lifespan prolonged effectively.
Ikea is leading the way in terms of big corporations switching to a more sustainable business, making a huge commitment to become circular and climate neutral by 2030.
They are committed to consume 100% renewable energy by 2020 and also expand their offer of home solar solutions to consumers in 29 different markets.
They have integrated successfully into their products a circular mindset – designing to be recyclable and procuring recycled materials to produce their products – they already have products 100% recycled. This in an impactful measure due to Ikea’s scale – they consume around 1% of the world’s wood supply.
They are also changing their business to fit this mindset – they are now considering selling different spare parts of furniture, experimenting with allowing costumers to bring their used products to be re-homed or recycled in exchange for a voucher, and experimenting with a new business model by renting furniture.
Adidas partnered up with Parley for the Oceans (a non-profit organization) to reduce the number of plastic in the oceans. They produced a sneaker model completely made out of yarn recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets.
The model was a success – it’s said that each pair of shoes uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles, which means that Adidas has recycled some 55 million plastic bottles this year.
The company now hopes to have 100% recycled materials in its products by 2020.
The circularity mega-trend is impacting both mainstream brands and premium brands. This is particularly true in the fashion industry who is accused of representing a big part of the waste produced (mainly due to fast fashion trends). To contradict this trend, brands are opting for organic and sustainable options. Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection made out of orange fiber fabric – a fabric created with what remains after squeezing citrus fruits for juice – because there are more than 700,000 tons of by-product in Italy only.
Get more information on Circular Economy and keep up with our updates: subscribe to our newsletter.
The circular economy has been gaining momentum in recent years. The urgency created by the impact of consumerism on the planet’s environment has created urgency in governments and consumers to support and make the necessary infrastructure available.
So far, the development of tech has been focused on supporting and improving the traditional solutions that already exist and enable circular economy: waste collection, sorting, and recycling.
However, new developments and advanced technologies can and will bring the next level of innovative solutions to enable an (almost) complete circular economy.
Augmented reality can be useful to in several levels of the circle. This tech can help several activities performed become more efficient, reducing its costs. It’s also useful in the prototyping processes by visualizing design prototypes in 3D, and testing and redesigning manufacturing processes, reducing or eliminating entirely the use of some raw materials.
In real life:
Scope, a Canadian firm specializing in AR solutions for industry, has developed a software tool called WorkLink that can transform traditional paper-based work instructions into Smart instructions, It uses animated, intuitive, 3D computer-generated imagery that overlays on top of the real world.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) systems can be an enabler of circularity, offering assistance in the process of resource recovery. Smart objects can give info about their location, status or need for upgrade. IoT can also be used in predictive maintenance (determining the condition of in-service equipment or machinery in order to predict when maintenance/servicing should be performed) to maximize product life span and reduce costs.
In real life:
San Francisco and London have installed solar-powered automated waste bins that alert local authorities to when they are full; creating ideal routes for trash collection and reducing operational costs by 70 percent.
Big data play a big role in making industries and supply chains more efficient. It can be very useful for route optimizations, reducing risk, streamlining manufacturing and making supply chains more transparent, by enabling businesses to make decisions based on accurate data-driven insights.
In real life:
DHL has a Big Data Business Platform that supports all its activities. It uses data collected by sensors, on top of getting data from the financial industry, public authorities, retailers, SMEs, and its own research. DHL uses the technology for route optimization, strategic network planning, operational capacity planning, risk evaluation and resilience planning, customer loyalty management, and environmental intelligence (statistics on pollution, traffic density, noise, parking spot utilization, etc.)
Platform Economy refers to digital marketplaces. Amazon, Alibaba, etc, already changed the way consumers buy industrial products. It’s a concept that can be applied to help implement what is called ”Industrial Ecology” – the concept that the waste of one industry can be the input of another one.
In real life:
Organix an online marketplace for organic waste. It links organic waste producers with biogas operators to facilitate energy recovery from such waste.
Product as a Service
This is a business model in which manufacturers retain control of the product throughout their lifecycles – instead of selling the products, they lease them to costumers. This means that the responsibility of disposing of the product at the end of its lifecycle shifts from the consumer to the manufacturer. It also opens the possibility of recycling or refurbishing the product to give it a longer life span.
In real life:
DriveNow is a sharing service that offers a fleet of the latest BMW and Mini vehicle models. Users can locate a car and unlock it using an app, use it, then park it again.
Famous for its use in Fintech, Blockchain represents trust in transactions, since there is no third-party intervention. It can be leveraged by the circular economy too: blockchain technology can be used to make supply chains more transparent by tracking products from the manufacturers to the shelf. This access to information can help customers be informed about how the products were made and shipped, empowering them to make environmentally friendly decisions.
In real life:
Provenance uses blockchain to make supply chains more transparent, It builds a traceability system for materials and products. It gives consumers information about suppliers by tracing the origins and histories of products.
Circular Economy is all about closing the loop, but unfortunately, not everything can be recycled back to a raw material state to be re-used. Upcycling enables creative re-use of products for different purposes (without breaking them down). Companies can find alternative inputs for their products, and customers can find ways to re-use their products once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycles.
In Real Life:
Samsung has introduced Galaxy Upcycling, which is a program that enables the embedding of IoT in old smartphones to be used in households. On their website, they suggest ideas for using the phones, and they offer the software and the hardware (sensors). For example, the device could be used to monitor fish tasks, check conditions, and give food to fish while the owner is away.
Like we mentioned in our last article, Circular Economy aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times. The way to do this is to focus on the principals of the model, commonly known as the “7 R’s” of circular economy.
Re-thinking business models and solutions at every level to be mindful of resource use and waste production. The sharing economy is proof that ownership of material is dropping, making for fewer materials used. Businesses like IKEA are already looking into renting business models.
At home: Rethink your consumption and evaluate if you really need that purchase – Refusing to consume what you don’t need to.
Reduce consumption of energy and materials by applying lean design principles and producing products that are made to last.
At home: Reduce your consumption of energy by switching to low-consumption appliances, turning off unused appliances, and reducing your consumption to a “need only” basis. Invest in quality clothing, with ethically sourced materials, that will last you longer.
Reuse products by transferring them to another user. The marketplaces like eBay have already taken hold on consumers’ markets and it’s starting to be used in industries as well.
At home: Sell the products you no longer use to other users and consider purchasing second-hand instead of brand new. Find new uses for products (old bottles can be used as flower vases!).
Repair components and parts so that products can be used longer by the user. With the slow-down of throw-away consumption, consumers will be thinking about purchasing products that last and the “repair” business will get a boost.
At home: Consider repairing small appliances, like toasters, instead of purchasing new ones when the old ones fail. Invest in quality clothing and take pieces to mended if needed.
To achieve circular economy, businesses can look into recovering and refurbishing old products to be sold again or transformed in new products.
At home: Upcycle old products by giving them new life: recover old furniture and give it a new life with new paint, re-use old pieces of clothing by sewing a transforming them into updated models.
Recover embedded energy from non-recyclable waste material where feasible. Non-recyclable waste may at least be converted into energy through waste-to-energy processes such as combustion and gasification.
Recycle materials or resources by disassembling components and separating parts.
At home: Separate and recycle!
Now that you know the 7 R’s, we challenge you into picking one and changing something according to the principle! Let us know what you did by tagging us on social media: @beta_i
A new paradigm that allows infinite growth with finite resources
As we mentioned in our Consumer Trends Report, the Circular Economy is one of the trends that will be taking over the conversations. Don’t know much about it? Let’s do an overview of the basics of Circular Economy!
Why Do We Need Circular Economy?
The linear economy is not sustainable anymore, as we are currently experiencing:
- Resources depletion: Over the last four decades, the global use of materials almost tripled, from 26.7 billion tonnes in 1970 to 92.1 billion tonnes in 2017.2 Not only has material use been increasing, but it has also been accelerating and is forecast to grow to between 170 and 184 billion tonnes by 2050.1
- Waste production: “Throwaway culture” has been having an impact on our planet, especially our oceans. In 2016 alone, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to about 24 trillion plastic bottles – and that is just 12% of the total waste generated each year2.
- Global Warming: Climate change and material use are closely linked: around 62% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) is released during the extraction, processing, and manufacturing of goods to serve society’s needs1.
- Demographic Explosion: In August 2018, the total population of the world exceeded 7.63 billion people, and this number is continuing to grow each day, driven by the economic growth of emerging countries.
What is the Circular Economy?
A circular economy is an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.
The Circular Economy is all about business – economy has always been about how we manage scarcity and resources efficiently. In this sense, we should look into the earth’s resources as finite and design structure to be sustainable, share resources and re-use everything: design everything integrated into a bigger circle and closing the loop for every piece of material produced.
Restorative by design
The Circular Economy is restorative by design: it aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times. It’s about maximizing efficiency in all aspects – it’s pure economy.
Even though this system is compatible with environmental causes, it doesn’t really dwell on guilt. It’s about innovation and integrating everything into a bigger purpose: individual action is nice, but cooperation downstream and upstream can really leverage the power of small changes.
Businesses don’t have to choose between profits and doing good for the world – because if they do it right, they’ll be doing both.
What is driving CE?
- Regulation: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, are just two examples of regulations that will push forward innovation and working in the circular economy.
- Eco Trends: Consumers’ are more connected than ever to causes and to brands who support their convictions (we talked about this in our Consumer Trends Report), so businesses will be increasing efforts to diminish their footprint.
- Business Opportunity: The world economy is only 9% circular. Filling the circularity gap redefines markets and creates tremendous business opportunities. It is estimated that $1.8 trillion is the worth of wealth that could be created by unleashing circularity.
Get more information on Circular Economy and keep up with our updates: subscribe to our newsletter.
1 Source: The Circularity Gap Report 2019
2 Source: The World Bank
3 Source: World Population Review