Tech and the Circular Economy: Write up and conclusions

Read here for a write up of the main points and presentations from the Tech and Circular Economy Conference.

Moving from a linear to a circular economy is one the biggest macro-economic challenges the world faces. The linear model of buy > use > dispose is not sustainable, so coming up with a new model where goods can be reused or recycled is something all sectors are taking seriously.

To see how the tech sector was approaching this, we held an event with speakers from across industry, academia and consultancy to look at how the sector was doing. From new design philosophies and business models to using the latest tech to help other sectors become circular, presenters share their expertise.

A write up of the conference is here (and by clicking below), the presentations from the day are here and the key conclusions are bellow.

  • The bigger picture. The circular economy needs stable macro-economics, the right incentives and penalties, aligned policy goals and political and corporate will.
  • Circularity should not mean no growth. we need to keep the economy growing whilst reducing/stagnating resource consumption. How to decouple the link between growth and consumption should be front of mind.
  • Circular by default. As the economy digitises and moves to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, circularity must be the default, not the linear model we have used so far. Designing for circularity is essential.
  • Servitisation is a huge opportunity. Particularly for manufacturers, moving to an as-a-service model helps build new revenue streams without not needing to sell goods in the conventional sense.
  • Consumers are increasingly onboard. Customers (both consumers and businesses) are more environmentally aware and are more open minded about alternative business models than ever before.
  • Common standards and metrics. To build the circular economy and get scale there needs to be common standards, metrics, taxonomy, standards and definitions.
Tech and the circular economy

The conference also looked at the opportunities and major barriers and see better data leverage, increased revenues from going ‘as-a-service’, remanufacturing and seeing ‘waste’ as a resource being the major opportunities.

This was the final conference in our series looking at how the tech sector was integrating the Sustainable Development Goals and to learn more about what we’re doing on environment and sustainability please get in touch via the details below.