Scientific support for business with implementing circular economy

Circular economy for enhanced competitiveness and sustainability

Circular economy (CE) is a promising approach towards maximising value by increasing resource productivity, enhancing energy efficiency, lowering resource consumption and decreasing waste. The idea central to circular economy is to move away from linear practices or to “take-make-usedispose”. Instead, industrial systems should continue to extract value from resources by extending their productive lifetimes. This can be achieved through material ‘cycling’, thinking of recycling, cascading and industrial symbiosis, or product ‘cycling’ by applying such tactics as reuse, repair, upgrading, remanufacturing, redistribution and product/service-systems.

The CIRCit research project will develop science-based tools and approaches with the aim of supporting the Nordic industry in its transition to a circular economy in six main areas:

  • Business model innovation – including new offerings and value propositions
  • Circular product design – for enhanced value creation
  • Intelligent product operations – through the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data
  • Closed loop strategies – based on product design and end-of-life/ use treatment possibilities
  • Development of cross-sectoral collaborations and networking initiatives
  • Sustainability evaluation – based on economic, environmental and social indicators

 

>> How CIRCit can support you

The CIRCit consortium has expertise to offer in the areas of:

  • Determining what circular strategies are suitable for your business
  • Business model innovation and development for improved competitiveness
  • Development of products suitable for circular systems
  • Tracking, tracing and monitoring of materials, products and usage patterns through IT solutions
  • Determining what product end-of-life and/or end-of-use strategies to put in place
  • Supply and value chain development for creating circular value chains
  • Identifying sustainability improvement opportunities

 

>> Who can join?

Whether your company is considering or has already begun to integrate circular economy, we can support planning and optimising your circular activities at all stages of your innovation journey. You will receive expert support on the issues that are of direct importance to your company’s needs. By joining CIRCit you will benefit from being part of a community that is working towards the same goals: closing material and product loops, whilst improving competitive advantage, gaining marketshare and sustainability benefits.

 

>> How we work

We help you access existing experience and scientific knowledge through practical frameworks and tools for your business to use. Your collaboration and input helps CIRCit researchers to understand what knowledge is useful and meaningful in the context of your business, and at the same time aids in theory building and the validation of that theory. This pragmatic approach to working in close collaboration with companies we call ‘action research.’ The goal is to develop tools that are helpful to you, and that could potentially be helpful to other companies as well. This way, circular value networks can be established that form the backbone of a circular economy.

 

>> ABOUT OUR WORK PACKAGES

An integrated approach is important for circular economy driven innovation, as it requires a systemic change in how to understand and conduct business, with sustainability as a strong foundation. Therefore, we have organised the project into six complementary work packages, which focus on areas of competency that are vital for circular economy. The work packages mirror, to a large extent, the stages of product development and operations within a typical production company. In addition, we place great emphasis on understanding the sustainability and collaboration enhancing activities that must be in focus to achieve a circular economybased business. To get the most out of CIRCit, we propose that you choose two or more work packages of particular relevance to your company.

WP01 – Sustainability impact assessment for circular economy
How does one determine if a circular solution is better in terms of environmental performance, social innovation and business benefits than a linear one? This work package addresses this question and develops a method for assessing the sustainability potential of circular solutions.
Read more about WP01 – Sustainability impact assessment for circular economy.

WP 02 – Circular business models
This work package conceptualises, develops, validates and implements a tool to support the creation
of sustainable circular business models, based on a company’s position in the value chain, current
and new products and services, best practice, success cases, and the company’s strategic goals.
Read more about WP 02 – Circular business models.

WP 03 – Development of circular products and services
Different circular strategies may not have the same potential for resource productivity. To optimise resource productivity these differences need to be measured. Therefore this work package develops a tool for assessing circularity and formulate a set of practical design guidelines to support the early product development process.
Read more about WP 03 – Development of circular products and services.

WP 04 – Circular product operation by the use of intelligent assets
Tracking, tracing and monitoring of materials and products is important for performing repair or
preventative maintenance and for recovering and recycling materials. But what technologies to use
and how to turn the generated data into a competitive advantage? This work package evaluates and
adapts ‘intelligent assets’ and IoT technologies for enabling and facilitating circular economy.
Read more about WP 04 – Circular product operation by the use of intelligent assets.

WP 05 – Closing the product cycle
This work package develops an assessment tool and design guidelines to support the identification
of the best circular strategy, given an existing product and existing end-of-life and end-of-use
infrastructure.
Read more about WP 05 – Closing the Product cycle.

WP 06 – Cross-sectoral vertical collaboration and networking in supply chains
When designing, implementing and optimising circular value chains it is easy to get lost in the complexity of using multiple circular strategies in parallel as well as having to engage with more, new and/ or different types of actors. For this reason, this work package develops a framework to support conceptualising different circular value chain configurations. This work package will also support you in structuring this co-creation process.
Read more about WP 06 – Cross-sectoral vertical collaboration and networking in supply chains.