Each year, more than 100 billion tons of resources enter the economy, with only 8.6% of it being recycled and used again. At present, the manufacture of everyday materials accounts for 45% of CO2 emissions, what’s more, globally we currently produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic waste each year. Our traditional linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model has devastating effects on humans, wildlife and the environment. Businesses that are moving towards a more circular economy are not only having a positive impact on the environment but are also benefiting from innovation opportunities and economic value.
Currently, there are already various environmental & sustainability standards, such as ISO 14001 Environmental Management and ISO 5001 Energy Management, which support waste prevention and energy consumption. To help organisations implement a circular economy, BSI have created BS 8001, which focuses entirely on the concept of the circular economy and resource management. It provides organisations with the framework to implement the principles of circular economy from practical techniques to obtain smaller ‘quick-wins’ all the way up to assisting businesses in rethinking how their resources are handled holistically.
The circular economy is not a new concept, however with the recent push for businesses and organisations to move towards a more sustainable approach, one which moves away from the traditional and linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model, environmental standards such as BS 8001 are becoming increasingly popular.
The Circular Economy & Your Organisation
While startups and new businesses may adopt a circular economy model from inception, existing organisations can also implement the principles of the circular economy into their existing operations.
BS 8001 provides a framework for applying a structured circular economy model, with additional guidelines and advice.
In addition to the environmental benefits, organisations can also find cost savings and social benefits in applying these principles.
The standard can be used in isolation or together with others such as ISO 14001.
Benefits of a Circular Economy to your Organisation
Businesses that use a circular model utilise fewer virgin resources and more recycled goods. This decreases a company’s vulnerability to fluctuating material prices and supply chain interruptions.
Businesses may strengthen their resilience and gain a competitive advantage over their competitors by shifting to more decentralised circular economy models.
According to an Accenture study, the circular economy has the potential to generate $4.5 trillion in economic value through decreasing waste, boosting innovation, and generating jobs. New business models centred on reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and sharing provide enormous prospects for innovation. Creating new by-products from recovered waste may lead to new markets and sales, while broadening your offering to include repairs, remanufacturing, reselling, and sharing can lead to new income streams.
Get Started with BS 8001
If you are interested in the principles of the circular economy and how BS 8001 can help your organisation become more sustainable