As covered in a previous blog, we are often asked what “circular economy” really means. As a consultancy, that frequently carries through to a more detailed conversation about what we can do for clients to help them on their circularity journey.
The circular economy, for us, is multi-faceted: it’s about closing the loop on resource use, de-materialising, eliminating adverse environmental impacts, all while creating jobs and prosperity. Those are all things that have been core to Edge’s mission since we started.
As such, in most cases, our existing array of services are well suited to supporting those companies wishing to make progress on building the circular economy into their business, albeit sometimes with a slightly different overlay. Key amongst those are:
- Corporate circular economy opportunities assessment – Life cycle assessment (LCA) helps companies understand where the big circular economy opportunities lie across their business, including supply chain, operations, and downstream impacts associated with their products and services. Our quantitative assessment helps to identify both potential high impact areas and quick wins.
- Circular economy policy analysis – similar to the corporate approach above, we apply our expertise to assess policy options at a national, state or local level. This includes quantification of potential environmental, social and economic benefits, key stakeholders, and implementation barriers and opportunities. In doing so, we can draw on our broad knowledge of initiatives that have been tried and tested here in Australia and internationally.
- Circular economy strategy – we regularly help clients to develop organisation-wide sustainability strategies, and developing a circular economy strategy follows the same approach. It’s all about understanding opportunities, developing objectives, prioritising initiatives, and developing appropriate circular economy targets and metrics!
- Waste and resource strategy – while resource management and avoiding waste is only one part of the circular economy picture, it’s an important one. We regularly advise clients on how to reduce operational waste in their businesses, and increase recycling rates, and in doing so contribute to their circular economy credentials.
- Supply chain and sustainable procurement – sustainable procurement is a cornerstone of circular economy practice, focussing on the supply chain, which often adds up to 80% of an organisation’s overall impact. Our detailed analysis can help organisations understand where big issues lie in their supply chains, and highlight opportunities for supplier engagement and substitution. As part of this, we can also make use of our Circular Economy Tool to rate suppliers and track progress over time.
- Circular design tools – again making use of our LCA expertise, we help clients create tools that can be used within their teams to design products and services that incorporate circular economy considerations and minimise life cycle impacts.
- Business case and impact evaluation – our team of analytic experts are well suited to help clients quantify the costs and benefits associated with circular economy initiatives. This can include up-front analysis to include in business cases, and/or post-trial evaluation.
If you’re currently considering how you might practically apply circular economy principles in your business, why not contact us. As with most journeys, the hardest step on the circular economy path is the first one. Whether or not you ask us to help you along the way, we’re always happy to explore ideas. Creating a circular economy will require unprecedented collaboration, knowledge sharing, and we’ll all be learning fast along the way!