THE FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR CIRCULAR BUSINESS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
This text is part of our white paper on circular business. For explanation of how other companies have created business opportunities through circular economy, download our full white paper here.
The way we see it, circular business in the built environment can be summarised by four main principles. Used separately, they may provide your company with business value by securing raw material supply, reducing costs, access to new markets, improved brand value due to higher quality and more sustainable solutions and such. Combined, they will equip you with a superior and robust business setup that is both profitable today and capable of matching and exceeding the expectations of the market place. It will drive up the value of your brand and put you in a state of preparedness for the changes that will inevitably come and that we cannot even see today. So, developing and applying a circular business mindset
will put your business on the road to success, both in a shorter and longer term.
This section provides a brief explanation of the four principles, whilst the next sections go more deeply into how different companies gain business value using these principles of circular economy. Finally, we introduce you to what we define and label as “The circular business mindset”. It consists of a range of enabling competences or disciplines that you need to successfully realise the potential within the circular economy. Mastering them is key to make you capable of lifting your business to that superior and robust level in line with the market place today and world of tomorrow. The peak level of the business cases is enabled when the four basic principles are linked and form the business dimension. Together, that creates the top of the pyramid and the epicentre of circular business. We claim that the four most important principals of circular business in the built environment are:
1. Circular design thinking
While design thinking as a concept is all about being user centric and realizing value in the crossover between the user, technology and economy, circular
design thinking is all of the above, just adding an extra layer. Circular design thinking aims at designing all components, products and buildings for flexibility, robustness and resilience, in a way so that they easily and cost effectively can be modified, upgraded or disassembled for remanufacturing. This ensures that maximum value can be harvested from the materials.
2. Material choice
All material choices are made to maximize utility and value at all times, both shortand long-term. Choice of materials is core for value creation. Be it through their impact on increased productivity, reduced employer sickness and less negative health impacts through better indoor climate, or laying the foundation for any kind of future revenue stream through reuse and high-quality recycling and/or upcycling.
3. Regenerative use of natural resources
Natural resources are used in a way which allows them to create value both now and in the future. This applies both to the finite stocks of nutrients as to renewables, such as renewable energy sources, water, soil, land areas, biodiversity, food production, urban farming, ecosystems and all living things.
4. Optimised use of resources
This utilizes the highest possible degree of spatial resource use through a multifunctional approach. Use of spaces includes all urban spaces, both indoors
and outdoors, ranging from urban areas, blocks, cityscapes and buildings to rooms.
Figure: Circular business enablers