The circular economy, an extensively developed concept which incorporates significant disruptive changes for businesses and for society, was the focus of the most recent edition of iFriday, which was held on 26 October. Participating in the event was Nicola Cerantola, the founder and director of Ecologing. He explained the potential of the circular economy for generating real value in companies, as well as the business opportunities of this sustainable model.
What is the circular economy?
Cerantola began his talk by referring to the term ecodesign, a methodology that makes it possible to include environmental criteria in the design and manufacture of products. For the founder and director of Ecologing, the concept of the circular economy is also based on biomimicry, the science which studies nature as a source of inspiration for new technologies in order to solve human problems already solved by nature. Survival, defence, transportation and other aspects are identified by us so as to imitate and learn from them.
According to Cerantola, the circular economy is a relational exchange between us and the environment. He also referred to an “economy which is regenerative by design”. Thus, including regenerative principles in the concept phase of products, services and businesses helps to reduce vulnerability. “This economic concept represents a new paradigm, inspired in nature and sustainability, where the concept of waste - a definition invented by humans - disappears so that all resources become nutrients”, he explained at one point during his talk.
Specifically, the circular economy is based on a radical transformation of the means of production, supply chains, and consumption culture and habits. The linear economy that we all know, based solely on extraction, manufacture, use and elimination, has reached its limits. According to the speaker at this latest iFriday, resources and fossil fuels are running out, making certain elements more expensive, which increases the cost of retailing to the public. “The circular economy contributes to the safety of supply and reindustrialisation, transforming waste into resources for others as it is their raw material”, he stated.
Lastly, Cerantola mentioned how important it is to implement a servitisation model to generate business opportunities. This consists of moving from selling products (cars, washing machines, etc.) to offering services (mobility, laundry services, etc.) based on connected assets.