A circular economy is restorative by design. Using and reusing natural capital as efficiently as possible and finding value throughout the life cycles of finished products. It relies on three principles: preserve and enhance natural resources, Optimize resource yields by circulating products and eliminate negative externalities. Proponents of the circular economy argue that it can increase the productivity of resources, raise employment and growth and increase competitiveness and unleash innovation. Certainly, a circular economy is a substantial part of a sustainable future. But if we want quicker results we have to understand that big corporates have to be part of the solution. Here are 3 companies that are taking the lead in the transition to the circular economy.
IKEA’s sustainability strategy states its vision to create a better everyday life for many people. While unsustainable consumption from billions of new consumers put even greater pressure on the planet. As a response, IKEA visions becoming a circular business and climate positive by 2030. Ingka Group Annual Summary and Sustainability Report FY22 states that 75.7% of operational waste is recycled and a target of 100% by 2030. It also reported a 13.6% reduction in the total climate footprint since FY16.
By 2030, we are committed to becoming climate positive by reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits, while growing the IKEA businesses – Jesper Brodin, President and CEO, Ingka Group
Nike is reimagining things from top to bottom through sustainability and circularity. It aims that by 2025 it will emit 0.5M tons less of greenhouse gases, by increasing its use of environmentally preferred materials to 50% of all key materials: polyester, cotton, leather and rubber, with an aim that 80% of waste recycled returns back into Nike products and other goods. It also aims to use materials with less impact by reusing existing plastics, yarns and textiles, and inventing entirely new materials.
Nike’s impact report stated that as of FY22 there is a 64% reduction of GHG emissions in Nike-owned or operated facilities and it has reduced 182K+ metric tons of emissions reduced by using 39% environmentally preferred materials in our products. Its eliminate waste strategy includes optimizing speciality shoe packaging so all aspects of the shoe box can be recycled and changing the size of shoe boxes to create the best fit and reduce weight and waste. An interesting fact to note is that Nike’s European Logistics Campus is 100% converted to non-plastic packaging.
H&M once criticised for being an offender of the retail industry aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. H&M’s goals are very well aligned with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) definition of a circular economy. The company also states that for the fashion industry, it is important that products are designed to be used more, and made from recycled materials or renewable inputs.
The company aims to reach 100% recycled and other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. Their report mentioned that 97% of their cotton is organic, recycled or otherwise sustainably sourced.
Big companies are key players in assuring a circular world. But the power is in the hands of the consumers, now more than ever we have to make conscious choices. We should look at what brands we are buying, are their products sustainably sourced? It also means the conscious choice of even if it is sustainable do you really need it?