Circularity Toolkit

Introduction

Creating a strong, resilient economy. Mitigating risk for businesses. Tapping the potential of people and employees. Hearing voices and creating equity at decision-making tables. These are actions successful businesses and organizations are taking through systems approaches to tackling problems that offer a competitive edge.

Sustainable Growth Coalition members are driven by the understanding that the world has finite resources, climate change is real, and disparities are impacting communities. Our shared vision for change in a circular economy is our systems approach.

The Business Case for Circularity

Why circularity matters to you and your company or organization will vary. Are you a manufacturer who needs to address resource scarcity, brand identity, supply chain risk, or consumer preferences for more sustainable and recycled materials? Are you an organization where circular principles will help you retain and attract top talent? Are your investors demanding you move to a more sustainable model to mitigate risk and protect the long-term financial health of your company? Can you reduce energy use and associated costs by exploring the connection between water, energy, and materials?

Perhaps many of the above questions resonate with your current position. The needs of every company or organization will be different but incorporating circularity into your organizational model can have a substantial positive impact in the short and long term.

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Business Values of the Circular Economy

  • Foundational business values of the circular economy as defined by members and other thought leaders:
  • Reduce operational and supply chain costs and risks.
  • Create new business models, products, and services.
  • Meet demand from customers, investors, and employees.
    Drive economic growth and regional prosperity.
  • Develop, attract, and retain talent.
  • Address systemic issues impacting business including equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Improve racial, economic, social and public health outcomes.

Using the Circularity Toolkit and Case Studies

With this toolkit, you’ll find that circularity is not just an academic concept. The case studies in the toolkit will highlight successful organizations which understand that no problem is isolated, comprehensive solutions mitigate risks, and action builds more resilient economies.

The toolkit will provide you with examples of multi-national corporations investing in circularity with global implications. Other examples are shared by small-to-medium-sized businesses actively integrating circular principles to meet regional needs. The organizational representatives highlighted in the case studies are thought leaders in sustainability.

What is a Circular Economy?

Many thought leaders have shared their version and vision of a circular economy. The Sustainable Growth Coalition believes that a circular economy is a thriving economic system that values and preserves all types of capital – financial, natural, manufactured, human, or social. In this system, nothing is lost or wasted, and all resources and talents are utilized to their highest potential. All inputs into the economy – such as natural resources, goods, and services – are used and then re-used to continue serving our social, environmental, and economic needs in a cyclical fashion. The result of a functioning circular economy is a continuous positive development cycle that decouples economic growth from resource constraints.

What is Systems Change?

A circular economy cannot be achieved without systems change, reinforcing the connectedness of people, nature, business and communities. A broad view of a systems change requires acknowledging how relationships and power structures influence the complex steps that lead to transformational outcomes.

Well-known levers of change that result in scaling up toward transformational change include demonstrating scale and viability of the market and enabling market acceleration. In these case studies, you will learn which market levers were used to advance circularity through a systems approach.