We will write a custom Essay on Circular Economy and Its Business Implementations specifically for you
301 certified writers online
For many years, capitalists and organizational managers have been focusing on the most appropriate strategies to produce a wide range of products for their consumers. This kind of practice has created a linear economy whereby raw materials are used to deliver goods that are eventually disposed of. The outcome is that most of the available natural resources have become depleted and incapable of supporting sustainability objectives.
The predicaments of global warming and climate change have encouraged environmentalists and economists to consider evidence-based models that have the potential to improve people’s experiences and maintain the integrity of the natural environment. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed analysis of circular economy (CE) and the current literature or academic thinking on the topic. It goes further to use the examples of companies that have successfully adopted this system to highlight the potential barriers and best practices for delivering positive results.
Concepts and Approaches
The main idea behind the CE concept is to promote evidence-based practices that have the potential to deliver sustainability and society-wide gains. The consumption of finite resources and raw materials is incapable of supporting the needs of future economies. This means that CE is a notion founded on the attributes of renewable energy and waste recycling. These principles have become the cornerstones of CE: keeping materials and products in use continuously designing out different sources of pollution and wastes, and regenerating all-natural processes and systems (Sassanelli et al. 2019).
From this understanding, it is evident that a CE has been introduced to improve how waste products are eliminated from the natural environment and ensure that available resources are used continuously. The major concepts or processes underpinning this model include sharing, repairing, refurbishing, reusing, and recycling (Banaitė & Tamošiūnienė, 2016). Such initiatives are capable of minimizing the quantities of waste materials available from different manufacturing processes. Citizens are also guided and encouraged to recycle different products and materials.
These initiatives are essential since they will minimize carbon emissions and make every region sustainable. Banaitė and Tamošiūnienė (2016) go further to indicate the societies or people who pursue this system will ensure that infrastructure and equipment remain in use for the longest time possible. Different products will be purchased and utilized for more days or years. This kind of practice will ensure that additional raw materials do not have to be acquired and consumed throughout the production process.
Another principle is the idea of producing regenerative resources that can make it possible for more people to achieve their potential. For example, Banaitė and Tamošiūnienė (2016) reveal that farmers can consider the importance of using compost manure since it is less expensive, cleans the environment, and promotes the idea of sustainability.
One of the outstanding issues regarding the power and effectiveness of this kind of economic model is that it does not translate to reduced or poor living conditions. This is true since more customers will be able to use and reuse most of their products. Manufacturers will abandon their old linear models and consider the most appropriate strategies for delivering high-quality services and goods.
These initiatives will make it easier for the companies to continue engaging in long-term and sustainable business processes. Sassanelli et al. (2019) believe that CE models can deliver enough profits and make companies successful. When this process becomes common in every industry, country, and society, chances are high that the greatest number of global citizens will continue to enjoy the available services or products and eventually succeed in life. These approaches and concepts explain why there is a need for more people to embrace the power of CE.
Current Academic Thinking
The concept of environmental conservation has become a critical issue in different parts of the world. Banaitė and Tamošiūnienė (2016) acknowledge that planet Earth is currently facing numerous challenges are associated with the problem of climate change, including rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and prolonged downpours. Modern scholars and researchers have indicated that these developments have a close relationship with various contemporary economic models that have been pursued for centuries.
Throughout the industrial revolution period, companies and governments focused on various activities that would increase the delivery of natural resources to manufacturing plants (Sassanelli et al. 2019). These procedures resulted in the production of different goods for the growing population. Unfortunately, this model continued to put enormous pressure on both renewable and non-renewable resources in every part of the world. The environment has been obliterated due to the increased levels of forest destruction and overutilization of resources. The final outcome is that many people have been unable to acquire different products or lead high-quality lives.
This kind of environmental degradation is associated with consumerism, globalization, and the pursuit of wealth. These trends have led to the depletion of available resources and the worsening of human living conditions. Consequently, such obstacles have informed the development of the CE phenomena. This initiative is evidence-based in nature and seeks to promote the implementation of closed-loop service and product lifecycles. It has been observed to support the elimination of wastes and encourage members of the global population to embrace the use of renewable energies. Sassanelli et al. (2019) indicate that this kind of practice will minimize the quantities of toxic chemicals and pollutants available in the natural environment.
The consideration of natural cycles and biochemical systems remains an integral attribute of CE. This is the case since the integrity of the environment depends on the level at which different resources remain untouched. Lahti, Wincent, and Parida (2018) apply this knowledge to support the notions of biotic and technical loops. The technical one is pursued to ensure that various products are maintained for a long time. This objective can be realized by promoting the notions of repairing and refurbishing. The final attribute is to ensure that goods that are no longer usable are recycled.
This means that the materials used to make them will not be thrown away (Sassanelli et al., 2019). These loops will create new opportunities for promoting and maintaining the sustainability of the natural environment. The biotic cycle is essential since it ensures that energy is not wasted throughout the production process. The feedstock loop has the highest value or importance. For materials that are biological in nature, people can consider the production of biogas for domestic use.
Camilleri (2018) goes further to present the idea of cycling instead of using motor vehicles. This is something necessary since the strategy will become a powerful model for promoting future developments in the field of CE.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
The latest publications on this topic have considered various procedures and attribute for implementing CE. For instance, Banaitė and Tamošiūnienė (2016) argue that multilevel levels are critical if CE is to become a reality in different societies, countries, or regions. For example, Sassanelli et al. (2019) reveal that the improvement of cooperation between governments and companies will deliver positive results and make sure that more people appreciate the concept. The involvement of civil societies and other stakeholders will also make the process successful. Unfortunately, this kind of partnership has become problematic since there are no powerful policies and laws that can force companies to consider and implement CE in their manufacturing loops.
Within the past five years, new attributes have emerged that stakeholders can consider when planning to promote or pursue the CE concept. According to Camilleri (2018) believes that there are various options for organizations and communities that want to become sustainable. Some of the leading ones include ecological transition, sustainable development, circular economy, and green economy (Sassanelli et al., 2019).
These models will leverage a wide range of activities and initiatives which will eventually deliver sustainability. The most important aspect is considering the aspect of functionality. This means that all organizations, government entities, and populations should be involved in an attempt to deliver positive results. Shared value emerges as another concept of management whereby all participants will be involved to support the CE model and eventually maximize profits. The existing societal dimensions should also be supported by circular thinking or practice.
The success of any CE strategy or model will depend on the effectiveness of the supportive multi-level and social structures. For organizations and communities to achieve their sustainability aims, there is a need for stakeholders and policymakers to consider evidence-based ideas that have worked effectively elsewhere. Continuous R&D will become a powerful practice for identifying the current gaps and proposing additional strategies that will empower more companies to pursue their objectives (Camilleri 2018). This approach is essential since it will enrich the present debate on the issue of sustainability and make the world a better place for more people.
Successful Companies in CE
The concept of CE can take different shapes depending on the objectives and goals of a given company. Without proper laws forcing corporations to implement CE in their business models, it is impossible for many managers to consider its importance or relevance. Fortunately, some international companies have decided to take this issue seriously. The first one is Timberland that partners with Omni United to ensure that its vehicle tires are recycled to produce shoes. After the end of the usable life of Timberland tires, the company ships them to different recycling facilities or plants to produce crumb rubber (Benzaken 2018). This is then processed to produce high-quality Timberland shoes.
The idea of R&D has made it possible for Aquazone to produce large quantities of fertilizer from wastewater. The adopted technology revolves around the use of biochemicals to separate nutrients and solids. The water obtained from the process is used for irrigation. It can also be recycled further to deliver high-quality or purified drinking water (Benzaken 2018). This is a powerful initiative for corporations that want to achieve the full benefits of recycling and CE. Another company that takes the issues of CE and the conservation of the natural environment VIGGA and it operates in the apparel industry.
This organization has a model whereby customers are able to receive around 20 clothes for their underage children. The beneficiaries with getting another set of depending on their expectations and sizes (Benzaken 2018). The collected undersized ones are then recycled and improved to meet the needs of a new generation of individuals. This approach resonates with the concepts of CE since products are used for the longest time possible, thereby minimizing wastes and making it possible for more people to achieve their potential.
Companies can, therefore, consider these achievements and implement CE in their current business models in order to make the natural environment more sustainable. These examples reveal that the highlighted companies focus on the CE concept to protect and conserve resources, reduce wastes, and maximize their profits (Camilleri 2018). Recycled materials present additional income to any corporation without having to incur additional expenses.
Barriers for Companies
Many experts in the fields of sustainability and CE believe that the world can implement powerful strategies to achieve positive results within the next three decades. This objective is attainable if different stakeholders, government entities, community members, and policymakers collaborate. Unfortunately, there are specific challenges or barriers that many companies pursuing the CE will continue to report or encounter.
The first one arises from the absence of strong or reliable laws and legal guidelines. The successful implementation of this concept depends on the presence of powerful laws designed in such a way that corporations and emerging firms will remain accountable for their actions. Such policies require the timely support of the government and relevant authorities in order to remain enforceable. Camilleri (2018) uses this gap to explain why there is a need for all governments to sensitize their citizens about this idea so as to support every new policy.
The second potential barrier worth considering is the existence of contemporary laws and regulations in different countries. Companies that plan to pursue this economic model will find it hard to achieve their objectives. For example, many societies have laws that require that companies indicate valid expiry dates for all their consumer products (Lahti, Wincent & Parida 2018). The widely affected organizations are the ones operating in the beverage and food industries. This kind of arrangement ignores the fact that some preservation and storage technologies can prolong the shelf life for different products in an attempt to deliver the positive results of CE.
The third issue many pioneers of CE take into consideration is the availability of organized waste disposal mechanisms. For any company to engage in CE successfully, the specific region should have powerful infrastructure and mechanisms for collecting and recycling waste. Unfortunately, this is something lacking in both developing and developed nations (Camilleri 2018). Within the past two decades, many governments have failed to consider the relevance of this issue, thereby undermining every CE effort introduced or put in place.
The fourth problem that many companies face when trying to redefine their economic systems is the existence of unsustainable business models in their respective countries or regions. Camilleri (2018) uses the examples of states with large populations to describe how they are currently focusing on the idea of industrialization to emerge successful, such as Brazil, China, and India. Combined with the demand for a wide range of materials and products, many companies in these countries are finding it hard to invest in sustainable business practices or procedures. This gap will affect the performance of both emerging and existing firms for a very long time.
The fifth challenge that many companies encounter is the absence of adequate technology for pursuing recycling options and practices. Incorporations and industries that have made recognizable efforts in CE, it is evident that the available process results in the production of materials and items that are substandard in comparison with the original ones (Mrowiec 2018). This means that there are significant limitations in the manner in which quality can be maintained throughout the waste management and recycling processes.
The above discussions have indicated that the concept of CE has the potential to transform most of the existing economic models without undermining people’s lives and experiences. Unfortunately, many companies are unable to record some achievements in this area due to the above obstacles. The presentation of superior recommendations and ideas will make it possible for many firms to engage in CE and eventually encourage more people to focus on sustainability (Mrowiec 2018).
Firstly, there is a need for additional or favorable laws that create a favorable environment for recycling. When all stakeholders in the supply chain and distribution network are forced to target this goal, chances are high that more companies will be closer to implementing CE successfully.
Secondly, governments should review their current industrial requirements and present better ones that resonate with the above principles of CE. This effort will make it possible for companies to transform their procedures and engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) processes that will eventually support the concept of CE. When more people are empowered and involved, chances are high that the world is closer to realizing its sustainability objectives (Lahti, Wincent & Parida 2018).
Thirdly, there is a need for engineers, innovators, researchers, scientists, and government specialists to undertake R&D in their respective fields. This kind of effort will make it possible for them to present powerful technologies for improving waste management, handling, and recycling procedures. Fourthly, the involvement of all stakeholders is an evidence-based approach for delivering positive outcomes or results (Sassanelli et al., 2019).
This means that community members, corporate managers, consumers politicians, leaders, and policymakers collaborate and identify superior procedures for pursuing various CE objectives. This strategy will become a powerful model for all nations that want to true benefits of CE. New studies are needed to present superior insights and ideas for promoting this concept and making it acceptable in different parts of the world.
The above discussion has identified the CE model as an evidence-based practice for corporations that want to achieve their objectives much faster and conserve the natural environment. The outlined principles encourage different stakeholders and governments to focus on the most appropriate procedures that will make CE a reality and protect the planet for future generations. The examples of Timberland, VIGGA, and Aquazone should become powerful guidelines for companies that want to improve their operations, reduce wastes, and cut production costs.
The involvement of specialists, community members, researchers, policymakers, and government agencies will streamline the entire process and ensure that CE becomes the most appropriate model for many companies in different parts of the world. This move will present superior approaches for conserving the natural environment and protecting lives.
Banaitė, D & Tamošiūnienė, R 2016, ‘Sustainable development: the circular economy indicators’ selection model’, Journal of Security and Sustainability Issues, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 315-323.
Benzaken, H 2018, ‘5 companies that embrace the concept of a circular economy’, Goodnet. Web.
Camilleri, MA 2018, ‘The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: a review and appraisal’, Sustainable Development, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 530-536.
Lahti, T, Wincent, J & Parida, V 2018, ‘A definition and theoretical review of the circular economy, value creation, and sustainable business models: where are we now and where should research move in the future?’, Sustainability, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 2799-2817.
Mrowiec, B 2018, ‘Plastics in the circular economy (CE)’, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources; The Journal of Institute of Environmental Protection-National Research Institute, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 16-19.
Sassanelli, C, Rosa, P, Rocca, R & Terzi, S 2019, ‘Circular economy performance assessment methods: a systematic literature review’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 229, no. 1, pp. 440-453.