The Circular Effect: Can we ‘reuse’ our way to a greener and more profitable supply chain?

 Across all sectors and industries, it’s clear that sustainable production has never been so important. But this year particularly, the green commitments made by businesses are coming head-to-head with economic turbulence.

Businesses are looking for ways to become more sustainable. But it can be hard to balance this with the need to shore up their bottom lines. Could the circular economy hold the key to this balance?

In Brief

  • An effective circular economy sees materials and resources diverted back into the production cycle rather than being wasted
  • That means sustainable and economic benefits, with the World Economic Forum recommending the practice
  • As well as delivering social value, recent research from Accenture is highlighting the creation of new jobs and the importance of valuable rebates
  • At Axil, we’re leading the charge with our new Surplus Asset Redistribution marketplace – get in touch today to find out how a circular economy could benefit your business

With the focus on ‘reusing’ as well as recycling, an effective circular economy is one in which materials and resources are diverted back into the production cycle as opposed to being wasted.

And the benefits of the circular economy are being realised on a larger scale than ever before. For example, the World Economic Forum has recently recommended the practice. In fact, it notes that “organisations that embark on circular transformations… will be better positioned to prosper.”

We know that circular business practices help reduce your impact on the environment. It’s why we recently worked with Community Wood Recycling to divert 90 tonnes of wood back into their local community.

As well as delivering social value, new research from Accenture has revealed the economic value of reusing materials too. The report explores the changes businesses can make to reduce waste and create new sustainable jobs.  It reports that these changes could represent a market worth almost £4 trillion.

And it can boost efficiency too, for example by cutting the costs of procuring new materials. The research found that car makers taking a circular approach to manufacturing could see a 150% boost in profits.

But there is still work to do. A recent Bain & Company survey found that around 60% of active circularity initiatives have not reached scale. Why is that?

Firstly, businesses don’t have the tools or expertise to quantitively report on their circular economy efforts.  In November 2022, the European Commission adopted their new corporate sustainability reporting directive to put the onus on businesses to report on their circular activities. Yet only 22% of European businesses include measurement that fulfils this CSRD criteria in their reporting.

Businesses will need to do more to ensure they can keep up with these reporting demands. That means leaning on third-party suppliers to help them back up sustainability claims with concrete action.

It’s about making simple changes to your business to consider where you can reuse resources. Our recently launched Surplus Asset Redistribution Marketplace is one way to build ‘reuse’ into your practices. It’s helping businesses donate their surplus materials such as fence barriers and office furniture to the charities and local small businesses that need them.

The network has already facilitated the ruse of more than five million items, returning more than £400 million in disposal savings to its members.

Action like this – specific, impactful, and measurable – will be key to making ‘reuse’ work for your business. Read more about the scheme, and the importance of reusing, on our blog.

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