A WORLD-FIRST standard has been launched to help companies of any size adapt to the circular economy.
BS 8001: 2017: Framework for implementing the principles of the circular economy in organizations – guide has been developed by BSI, the UK’s business standard company, with input from a wide range of organisations including Rolls Royce, Amec Foster Wheeler, government departments, universities and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
The standard has been created to help companies rethink how their resources are managed and become more sustainable. This change in practice seeks to move away from today’s mainstay economic model of ‘take, make, and dispose’ and instead redefine products and services to design out the waste.
This involves redesigning products – for example mobile phones – so that the components from the old model are reused in the new ones. Consumers may need to rethink their ownership of products so rather than buying a phone and then disposing of it, we would instead lease it from the manufacturer and return it for disassembly.
BS 8001 outlines what the circular economy is and how any organisation of any size and from any sector can transition from a linear to a circular, and more sustainable, day-to-day operation. It provides step-by-step guidance on implementing what the BSI describes as the six principles of the circular economy: innovation; stewardship; collaboration; value optimisations; transparency; and systems thinking.
Aside from the environmental benefits, it is argued that adopting the principles of the circular economy will help companies reduce their own costs and supply chain risks.
“Resource productivity is at the heart of the government’s new Industrial Strategy and demonstrates how standards can be considered business improvement tools which help organizations unlock the untapped potential of sustainable growth. BS 8001 was developed to enable organisations to take practical actions to realise the economic and social benefits of the circular economy,” said David Fatscher, Head of Sustainability at BSI.
There are a wide range of companies that have already begun to adopt circular principles including Google, Sinctronics and the German government. However, to achieve the desired wide scale environmental and economic benefits will require a shift in practices that span supply chains rather than individual companies or products.
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