Nicolas Breyton of Schneider Electric on why the take-make-waste era is over
Today ’ s economy has the potential to become sustainable if companies thought of the world as an island in the middle of an ocean of inhospitable space .
This island – our Earth – provides us fresh air to breathe , freshwater to produce enough food , and provides an abundant amount of energy to distribute food and to build all the necessary materials around us .
All resources on a large island can seem abundant , but they will eventually , become constrained .
Sustainability is systemic : either we all succeed together to create a sustainable business ecosystem , or we all will face shortages of critical resources .
We must decouple the production of all companies from the amount of energy consumed and the raw materials necessary to manufacture final products .
The understanding of material density is key for improving sustainability . We must reconsider just how much metal , other materials , and energy are necessary to produce goods . The denser our world becomes in material used for energy and resource production , the more sustainable wealth we will keep .
Companies expected to succeed in the 21st century are those that are conscious about the limits of physics on energy and minerals . Further , they will move their core business towards the highest density and resiliency to transform the weakness of scarcity into a business strength .
And that strength will precisely come from embracing the circular economy concepts in the core business .
The concept of a circular economy is very simple : it is about closing all the loops of the linear economy to optimise resources .
It is about prolonging product lifespan by refurbishing , repairing , and remanufacturing products to extend their functionality as long as possible , and it is about reusing parts and components in new manufacturing processes .
It is also about maximising business turnover by reselling the same repaired product many times . And ultimately , it is about designing modular and robust products that are easy to dismantle and repair , to enable a new profitable and highquality second-life business .
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