Circular Economy: How to Hack the $4.5 Trillion Opportunity?
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Circular Economy: How to Hack the $4.5 Trillion Opportunity?

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imageIt is expected that India’s transition to a circular economy could increase the global economy by $ 4.5 trillion by 2030. The country’s approach to waste management and the circular economy could help the country in hacking economy breakthrough—a new paradigm that emphasizes the need to look at products and processes holistically in tandem with the global circular economy. The government actively formed a policy and promoted projects that included the latest technologies for the country's transition to a circular economy. India has already announced various rules in regard to sustainability, such as plastic waste management rules, electronic waste management rules, construction and demolition waste management rules, metal recycling rules, etc. And now, business entities turn to join hands in the circular economy.

CEO Insights Magazine recently interacted with Nitin Gupta, Chief Executive Officer at STEER Engineering. When asked about his approach toward sustainability, he says, “I think the most important aspect for any company or organization is to look at how they contribute to sustainability. I think the first thing is that they need to understand the different aspects of sustainable development. Hardly a few people today are actually clear about what sustainability initiatives or sustainability roadmaps involve. Sustainability is not just an environmental or energy perspective or model perspective. I think it's a combination of the best possible use of resources. So, when we talk about sustainability, we need to talk about how much we can reduce waste and at the same time how much we can use the available resources to the maximum.”

Transition to a Circular Economy

The transition to a circular economy (CE) has increasingly become a strategic focus for organizations worldwide. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data have the potential to disrupt layered business models as they enable mass customization, allowing companies to select sustainable inputs to meet customer demands. These technologies also support extending product life by developing preventive maintenance requirements, thus further improving the customer experience and reducing consumer waste. Companies moving to digitization can improve overall manufacturing, processing, logistics, and waste disposal capabilities by enhancing visibility in all phases of the supply chain. The unprecedented technological integration associated with this transition has the potential to enable more productive and sustainable development of local and global economies and enterprise-level business models.

India's transition to a circular economy offers tremendous opportunities to create jobs and promote sustainable economic growth. According to a World Economic Forum report, up to 50 million jobs could be created, with an economic impact of $15 trillion. The ILO (International Labor Office) also estimates that the transition to green and sustainable practices can lead to 24 million jobs by 2030, of which 18 million are directly related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, and other resource-efficient sectors. In addition, the transition to a circular economy may require an increase of 1.2 billion jobs.

Business and Sustainability

Business entities are one of the main actors in sustainable development. A society experiences the impact of its existence in the way it returns value to shareholders and stakeholders. Its mission, location, operating income, employment practices, and even how it rewards or disciplines staff speaks volumes about the company and its values. It also sets the tone for whether the company is likely to have a positive or negative impact on the community. Therefore, companies must adapt their policies to the goals of sustainable development.

Gupta says, “It is very important to understand that sustainability must be considered in the entire value chain, not only in our own activities but also in the material purchased as raw materials must be sustainable. For example, when I was at Tetra Packaging when we bought the paper for our packaging material, we made sure that the wood that goes into those papers is certified regrowth; it's not deforested. It's a plantation forest. Similarly, when you buy resources, you must ensure they come from a sustainable source." He adds, "Another important thing is in your own operations: how can you reduce the energy costs of producing the material, how can you reduce the use of water, and how can you reduce all kinds of waste in your system? Hence, sustainability must be in the design stage. You have to think about what happens to the product after its lifecycle of 10 or even 20 years”.

Businesses don't just benefit from a better reputation. They benefit from better stakeholder relationships, lower costs, and a deeper understanding of the community and market. They also benefit by creating new sources of income.

 

As consumer preferences shift towards socially responsible products, companies can adapt their offerings to meet this need. About 91 percent of global consumers believe that companies have a responsibility to address social and environmental issues. If the quality and price are similar, they are more likely to switch brands to those associated with a good reason.

Unleashing the Circular Economy in the Electric Vehicle Battery Supply Chain

Electric vehicles are seen as a crucial technology to make mobility more sustainable, leading to a sharp increase in the product and use of electric batteries. Besides, electric vehicle batteries are sustainable if they support reducing the overall impact of the force chain, making indirect enterprise a crucial factor in the transition. Blockchain technology supports the junking of being walls to the indirect frugality by easing translucency and traceability, especially for stoner operations outside the dominant players of the diligence.

"The management needs to take responsibility for building the sustainability aspect into the long-term plans, not just as a stand-alone initiative. It must be included in your organizational and business goals,” Gupta concludes.