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3 min read

Business benefits of circular economy practices

Business benefits of circular economy practices

As businesses face increasing pressure to reduce their environmental impact and operate more sustainably, adopting circular economy principles can provide significant benefits.

By embracing practices such as reusing and recycling resources, companies can realise substantial cost savings, minimise waste disposal expenses, enhance compliance with environmental regulations, and improve their brand reputation and customer loyalty.

The principles of a circular economy

A circular economy is vital for tackling global challenges, such as biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

The circular economy is founded on three key principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution from the outset. This means creating products and systems that minimise the use of hazardous materials, generate little to no waste and emphasise durability and reusability. 
  • Keep products and materials in use for as long as possible. By reusing, repairing, refurbishing and remanufacturing, the lifespan of products and components is extended.
  • Seek to regenerate natural systems by returning nutrients to the soil, using renewable energy sources and managing resources sustainably. 

By embracing these principles throughout the lifecycle of products and materials, businesses can transition away from the traditional linear model of ‘make, use, dispose’ and move towards a more restorative and regenerative economic system.

Why should businesses focus on a circular approach?

Economic benefits

Embracing a circular approach can return significant economic benefits for businesses. By maximising the utilisation of resources and extending the lifespan of products, companies can realise substantial cost savings through waste reduction. Furthermore, recycling programmes and reselling equipment to second-hand markets can generate additional revenue streams. Reusing and recycling resources also diminish the need for continuous raw material purchases, thereby lowering input costs and improving resource efficiency.

Environmental compliance and risk mitigation

Adopting circular practices can enhance compliance with environmental regulations, reducing the risk of fines and legal liabilities. Effective waste management strategies, such as recycling and upcycling, can minimise expenses associated with waste disposal and landfill fees. By demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and responsible resource management, businesses can mitigate potential environmental risks and maintain a positive reputation.

A female storage worker putting plastic bags into recycle bin.

Improved energy conservation

The circular economy and energy conservation are intrinsically linked. By maximising resource efficiency and keeping products and materials in use for longer, circular practices inherently reduce the energy required for extracting, processing and manufacturing new resources. Each time a product or component is repaired or recycled, it avoids the energy-intensive processes associated with creating new items from raw materials. Moreover, the circular economy complements the transition towards renewable energy sources. As businesses shift away from finite, polluting fossil fuels, renewable energy systems like solar, wind and geothermal power can be seamlessly integrated into circular practices.


Strategies for implementing a circular economy

Develop a unified corporate mission

If you’re going to shift to a circular approach within your business, you need to ensure that your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is aligned with the rest of your operations and processes. This means that each department within your business is following a roadmap that is in keeping with the wider mission.

Product design for durability, reuse and recycling

A crucial strategy for implementing a circular economy is to design products with their entire lifecycle in mind. Sustainable product design considers environmental, economic and social factors to minimise the impact and conserve resources where possible. This involves creating products that are durable, easy to repair and can be disassembled for reuse or recycling at the end of their lifespan.

An elderly and young men repair a mobile phone together in a repair shop.

Invest in green technologies

Investing in green technology, such as renewable energy sources or sustainable transportation for employees can help businesses develop circular practices. This infrastructure helps to reduce carbon emissions and pollution but also promotes economic growth in sustainable industries.

Eliminate small power waste

Rising energy costs has placed greater emphasis on managing energy use strategically to give businesses control over expenses while reducing environmental footprint. 

Small power is the energy used by devices like printers, hot water taps and bottle fridges which need to be plugged into sockets. It accounts for 40% of a building’s total electricity use, yet as much as half is wasted. Tackling small power use in commercial spaces can go a long way to reducing a business’ carbon emissions and energy bills to move towards a circular economy.

The circular economy presents a compelling opportunity for businesses to reduce waste, enhance sustainability and drive long-term value creation. By embracing strategies such as product design for durability and reuse, closed-loop supply chains and introducing practices and tech that actively reduce emissions, companies can realise significant benefits. From cost savings through to efficient resource utilisation, reduced waste disposal expenses, improved compliance with environmental regulations and a strengthened brand reputation among increasingly eco-conscious consumers.

Discover how you can reduce small power waste and CO2 emissions to enable sustainable decision making in managing your building’s energy.


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