Introduction

The TecnoCampus Mataró - Maresme circular information point aims to answer the most frequently asked questions about the Circular Economy and help in the application of an alternative model in a digital format within the setting of the institution and the company.

In the following sections you will find a variety information on the concept of circularity. It also specifies how established companies can implement the new sustainable economic paradigm, or how entrepreneurs can apply the values ​​and methodologies in their new business.

 

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that aims to achieve a more efficient model of production and consumption from the generation of continuous and regenerative cycles.

 

What do you need to keep in mind?

In order to make a good transition to the circular economy, there are several factors that need to be considered when applying circularity to our projects. That is why we provide you with a brief summary of the most important areas for you to use as a reference.

The growing concern on the part of public institutions about the unsustainability of the system can be seen in the challenges that have been set at the global and national levels.

The United Nations proposed milestones linked toAgenda 2030 where some of the challenges were related to the environment and the application of circularity, as a result of this concern the “European Green Deal" came about in Europe in 2019 .

In line with the growing concern, the various countries have been incorporating sustainability into their action plan, as Spain did with the “Spanish Circular Economy Strategy and Action Plans“. Apart from incorporating sustainability at the strategic level of the country, the laws have also been incorporating legal limits for the reduction of pollution, such as the emergence of European regulations on the prohibition of the sale of plastics from a single use.

Thus, the trend of public administrations and regulation is to promote sustainability and penalize unsustainable practices.

According to the “Study on Responsible Consumption of Spaniards"The trend towards sustainability is clear, about half of those surveyed have changed their consumption habits in the last 3 years to make them more sustainable, for example, 46% has increased the acquisition of recycled products. In addition, 42% of people answered that the reputation of the brand weighs on the purchase decision.

However, more than half of those surveyed do not believe in brand and company promises about their sustainability.

Therefore, although the new consumer seeks sustainability, they do not do so from a superficial point of view, but do so consciously.

With the aim of helping companies and entities to make the transition, calls for support periodically arise to co-finance these projects.

There are currently several circular programs such as the European LIFE program or the line of subsidies from the Generalitat de Catalunya that promote the implementation of environmental design and development processes, among others.

In this way, the institutions make it easier for companies to obtain funding for the change of model towards circularity.

Innovation and technology are the pillars on which the circular economy is based. New technologies offer a wide range of opportunities to extend the life cycle of products for greater efficiency and more responsible consumption.

Digitisation of waste management promotes competition and increases labor productivity. The changes in the industry associated with digitisation will also change the job market, as technologies have great potential for innovation and growth.

That is why the incorporation of technology on a business scale is essential to facilitate processes and implement sustainability.

What are the benefits?

Restorative economy

Being restorative reduces deforestation and depletion of our natural resources.

Reducing carbon emissions

Reducing pollution with greenhouse gases and emissions that inevitably occur.

Solid waste reduction

Reduction of the amount and/or danger of the waste generated.

Lower capital investment and operating costs

With the implementation of circularity we save on capital investments and operating costs.

Potential to innovate

The redesign of materials, systems and products for circular use is a key requirement of the EC which represents a great opportunity for companies.

+ Shelf life

Longer-lasting products, in contrast to the rapid and planned obsolescence linked to the linear economy of “sell more, sell faster”.

+ Value

Superior value for the customer that involves maintaining their loyalty and satisfaction, as well as brand protection.

New markets

Creation of new markets for circular jobs that are starting to reflect a higher percentage.

Reduction of raw materials

Reducing the use of raw materials (natural resources), preserving them.

Itineraries

Below you will find information on the two itineraries that have been developed in order to apply the concepts of circularity to different projects or companies. The main function of the itineraries is to guide and support those people who want to generate actions not only of economic impact but also of social and/or environmental impact.

Do you represent a company?

If you run a company, please consult this section below to find out your business itinerary, which goes from the initial diagnosis to the final evaluation of objectives.

Are you an entrepreneur?

If you are an entrepreneur, check out this section below to find out about your entrepreneurial itinerary through the TecnoCampus entrepreneurship program.

Company itinerary

In this itinerary focused specifically on companies, you will find all the tools needed to carry out the process towards circular transformation. This transformation consists of 7 phases that are perfectly explained in the following chapters.

If you would like to choose to have more specific training, please contact the Chair of Circular Economics.

In order to be able to incorporate the circular economy into the company, first of all, a business diagnosis must be generated. This diagnosis serves to understand which areas are most important for the business, compare current performance with the desired performance or with the future and thus see the changes generated in each area. Discover the degree of maturity of your company in terms of sustainability and circularity to be able to set feasible and realistic goals and also to understand what needs to be done and in which department or process.

In order to generate this circular diagnosis, there are many tools that have been created, here are some suggestions:

The change of business model in the organisational field consists of the implementation of alternative paradigms to the neoclassical economic worldview that shape the culture, structure and routines of organisations and therefore change the way they do business regarding sustainable development, a sustainable business model is the aggregate of these various organisational aspects.

There are several circular business models that companies can leverage - separately or in combination - to drive resource productivity improvements in innovative ways that also reduce costs, generate revenue, and improve customer value and differentiation.

Some examples are:

  • Circular supplies: Companies dealing with scarce goods, in which scarce resources were replaced by completely renewablerecyclable o biodegradable resources..

 

  • Product life extension: Extend the life cycle of your products and assets to ensure that they remain economically viable. Material that would otherwise have been wasted can be maintained, or even improved, for example, by remanufacturingrepairupdate or marketing. By extending the life of the product for as long as possible, companies can keep the material out of the landfill and discover new sources of revenue.

 

  • Collaborative platform: The exchange platform model focuses on the exchange of products and assets that have a low ownership or use rate. Companies that take advantage of this model can maximize the use of the products they sell, improve productivity, and create value.

 

  • Resource Recovery: It takes advantage of technological innovations and capabilities to recover resource outflows, eliminating material leaks and maximizing economic value.

 

  • Servitization (Product as a service): Customers use the products through a lease or payment for use instead of the conventional purchase option approach. This model is attractive to companies that have high operating costs and the ability to manage the maintenance of this service and recover residual value at the end of its useful life.

In order to generate a good business transition to circularity, it is necessary, once it is clear from which point you start, to know the steps to follow and the items to consider to generate a reorganization of the business plan taking into account the various factors involved in the necessary actions.

In terms of aspects to consider, internally it is very important to know the structure of the company and take into account the human resources department, so that it is known who the employees are and their positions, obtaining information on the capabilities of each to be able to relocate them to other places or even ascend them, along with knowing each other’s leadership abilities.

You also need to set the challenges, the goals you want to achieve and the planning of how to achieve them, linking it to the Human Resources department to put the right person in each place in the project so that they are able to to do their job well, otherwise, no matter how good the strategy, it will fail.

Apart from all this, it is very important to make employees feel part of this process, as it is ultimately these that help to empower it. That is why it is very valuable to create a business culture so that they can engage in this new stage that they are embarking on.

With regard to the external environment, it is necessary to have a good knowledge of the market and consumers (current and potential) to generate a transition that is efficient in terms of real needs and that is linked to the values ​​of consumers, without losing market share. , but by winning it.

One tool that will allow you to get information about customers is the Customer Journey:

https://circitnord.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/T05_Customer-Journey-Tamplate_A0_ref.pdf

Once the path to follow is clear, it is necessary to determine what type of innovation you want to carry out in order to generate the path you want to follow. Some ideas for circular innovation tools can be devised in tools such as:

 

In order to generate a good transition, having a knowledge base is essential to be able to choose to have a range of possible actions to carry out in the best possible way. Training is essential to improve the transition and that is why we offer you some links where you can get specific training:

If you want to choose to have a more specific training, you can contact the Chair of Circular Economics (https://catedraeconomiacircular.tecnocampus.cat/)

Once the project has been completed, an evaluation of the various indicators laid out must be generated. This will allow another diagnosis to be made which compares the company that started the process and the one that ended the transition.

In order to be able to generate a good assessment, both economic and environmental aspects must be taken into account, because in the case of circularity, sustainability is key.

Where applicable, the grant received must be justified and, therefore, the assessment must be made with the documents and steps indicated by the granting entity.

The last step in the transition to circularity is to generate a review of the results and produce the necessary changes to rectify any part of the process if needed, thus improving the methodology in question and achieving even better results.

Entrepreneurial itinerary

If you want to start a new business, we recommend you visit TecnoCampus entrepreneurship program, the area of ​​innovation and entrepreneurship where they have specific itineraries for each part of the process.

In addition, you can participate in the program InnoEmprèn aimed at transforming your business idea into a real business project.

We have the Chair of Circular Economics in case you want more information related to the Circular Economy and Sustainability.