04th August

Moving from a linear to a circular
economy

Disuniting from the orthodoxy of a linear economy. Are circles becoming
the preferred shape ?

Living systems have been around for a few billion years … and will be around for many more to come. In the living world, there’s no landfill. Instead materials flow. One species’ waste is another’s food. Energies provided by the sun, things grow – then die and nutrients return to the soil safely. The natural cyclical system works.

However the human being has adopted a different kind of approach – a linear approach. We TAKE, we MAKE and we DISPOSE.

The new Samsung S11 comes out – so we ditch the old one. Our 2 year old dishwasher has failed to give us a spotless clean for the last 3 usages – so we decide to  throw it away and buy a new one. You realise that Electric Scooters are not the chick-magnet you had made them out to be – so you dispose of it and upgrade to a moped.

Each time we do this, we’re eating into a finite supply of resources that often produces toxic waste. It simply can’t work long term, yet it ironically has been the fundamental approach since the industrial revolution.  So what can work ? If we accept that the world’s cyclical model works, can we as human beings change our way of thinking so that we too operate a circular economy? Is it finally time for another type of revolution to take place?

Rather than reducing capital, how can our waste help build it?

Before continuing, please understand that reading this article will not take you on an epic recycling journey, preaching its importance and how recycling describes the concept of a circular economy. That is severely inaccurate.

A circular economy circumambulates around the idea of capturing the most value out of each and every product generated. Traditionally,  at the end of life we are so used to incineration or dumping everything into a landfill that we totally hide ourselves away from the possibilities of loops such as increased optimization, refurbishment and  secondary-use purposes. Yes, recycling does play a factorial role however it is the least value-capturing loop in a circular economy because it is only incrementally better than disposal.

It is essentially based around three principles:

  • Design out Waste and Pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Most importantly, what is your new definition of risk management?

The ministry for the environment within the Maltese government has definitely taken a stand on the idea of a circular economy. Maltatoday published an article interviewing the minister, Hon. Aaron Farrugia where he was asked to give insights on the importance of a circular approach and what the new project at Maghtab entails.

He explains,

“It’s not about ‘reality catching up’ either, but more about implementing a vision: we don’t want to waste the opportunity to create precious resources, and we aim to do our best to avoid a scenario in which we would need to expropriate land for landfilling in the future. What we announced is a holistic plan that will valorise main waste streams to their full potential, enable us to reach our environmental and recycling targets, and improve the overall environment in the area, rehabilitate former landfills to give back to the public, and improve our quality of life on the islands.”

Hon. Aaron Farrugia

For the full article, click here

Every European costumes on average 14 tonnes of raw materials every year and produces 5 tonnes of waste. These materials could be re-used, repaired or recycled. The principle of the circular economy focuses around the extension of the lifecycle of products to reduce the use of raw materials and the production of waste.

Since statistics prove that Malta currently severely fails on EU standardized recycling and waste management targets, this whole project is a breath of fresh air. Apart from the great environmental benefits that it would reap, Malta would also manage to retain a dear amount of liquidity within the economy, promote innovation, boost economic growth and create more jobs.

However whilst all this is perhaps expected from the government, unless everything is regulated – then it is up to the company to make that inward change to entice outward change. This want to shift towards a circular economy within company culture can come from either top/management or it can be presented by an employee with a vision.

Whatever the case, Ellen Mac Arthur foundation has come up with a great approach on how you make a circular economy pitch within the organisation you work for.

They detail it into a simple 3 step process:

1. UNDERSTAND WHO YOU WANT TO INFLUENCE (within the organisation, or outside the organisation)

Make sure that the people you want to on-board are relevant to what your final goal is. You must tailor your thought process as on-boarding the right people and making them fall in line with your motivations will definitely make the battle easier.

What’s their agenda? What are their opportunities and risks, and what will they gain ? What motivates them personally and professionally?

 

2. DESCRIBE THE CONTEXT

Internally.

What are your current corporate and organisational goals? Perhaps your organisation’s current vision, motives and approach may already well be on the circular path. If not, identify how you can jump onto that route.

Externally.

A Circular Economy way of thinking has become very popular amongst companies world-wide. Present how other major influential companies are adopting a circular approach and use them as a basis to influence your audience.

 

3. DEFINE YOUR IDEA
What are you proposing to do ? What benefits would it bring to the organisation ?

ANCHOVY. is fully aware of this 3 step process and we have integrated the concept into our own internal systems. Here is an example of the these 3 steps were applied:

ANCHOVY. has successfully built a culture that attracts the best young talent on the island in multiple fields which results in great people being employed at the company but also regrets having to sometimes either reject great talent or be rejected by potential employees.

The source of individuals that did not build a sustainable relationship at ANCHOVY. created the opportunity to pose the question of:  how can we turn these lost resources into company growth for ANCHOVY.?

We applied the 3 step process to scenario to set the foundations, which were:

1. WHO DO WE WANT TO INFLUENCE?

It is essentially based around three principles:

  • Applicant – wants to have an impact in their job and give their 100%.
  • Companies – want great talent
  • ANCHOVY. – provide industry leading training.

2. DESCRIBE THE CONTEXT

HR is a big headache for most companies on the island, while ANCHOVY. is not making full use of the talent we have at our disposal – how can we help them with our excess resources?

3. DEFINE THE IDEA

ANCHOVY. has begun training employees in-house for clients who will then act as their in-house digital marketing expert.

Using the circular economy principle, ANCHOVY. has turned a dormant list of CVs into a service line to help improve the workforce of their clients.

Conclusion

Imagine we could design products that would come back to their creators. Their technological materials being reused and their biological parts increasing their value. On that note, imagine that these said products are actually made and transported using renewable energy. The circular economy is a model that builds prosperity on a long term basis and on a positive note, as of recently, many companies have resorted to beginning to adopt this model. The thing is that singular manufacturers changing a handful of their products isn’t going to make an effective change. It’s about all the interconnecting companies that form our infrastructure and economy coming together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken us to a crossroads. In very recent years, core focus was given to environmental sustainability by governments world wide. We have now been exposed to a new reality due to the virus. Two aspects have had light shed on them.

One of them being that people are re-evaluating their lives. People have had a lot of time to think during lockdown and anxiety was a contributing factor to this. Hobbies, priorities and motives are all changing – and at the helm of it, at least here in Malta, people found themselves relying on the simplicities of nature for entertainment which has proven to be very spiritual, actually. That being said, a much greater respect for our natural habitat has come to life.

On the other hand, as restaurants and shops have started to open up, we are now bombarded with regulations on how everything that restaurants provide us with HAVE to be completely disposable. From salt and pepper shakers to menus and cutlery. This poses the questions: Will all the great work we have been doing for the past couple of years with regards to environmental sustainability go down the drain because of covid, even though we have experienced a better appreciation for nature and the environment ? Or, perversely, has COVID-19 acted as the wake up call for us to stop putting the environment we live in on the back-burner ?

ANCHOVY. fully understands the importance of forward thinking
and customer-oriented strategies.
Help us help you!

If you follow the same understanding and want to digitally strategize your operations, improve your customer experience, track your customers and expand your reach to clients in the most natural way, contact us and hop on the metaphorical boat, let’s sail together straight into success.

To get in touch, kindly contact:
alessandro.morreale@anchovyinc.com or michael.psaila@anchovyinc.com

Author
Michael Psaila Debono
Business Unit Leader
Fact: Im a huge Man Untd fan

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