Business Models for the Circular Economy

Opportunities and Challenges for Policy

image of Business Models for the Circular Economy

Natural resources, and the materials derived from them, represent the physical basis for the economic system. Recent decades have witnessed an unprecedented growth in demand for these resources, which has triggered interest from policy makers in transitioning to a more resource efficient and circular economy. This report presents a typology of five circular business models that could support the transition to a more resource efficient and circular economy: circular supply, resource recovery, product life extension, sharing, and product service system models. It reviews the current market penetration and assesses the potential scalability of each business model. Environmental potential is also discussed, as well as risks and unintended consequences that could result from a more widespread adoption of these business models. The report provides a broad set of policy approaches that could help alleviate some of the barriers that currently hinder the widespread adoption of circular business models.


Case examples

Nico Spacecraft designs and builds furniture, cabinetry and interiors for the residential market. Drawing from their global experience, the owners seek their inspiration in quality, good design and environmental principles. Plywood is a primary building material, so they sought out a plywood product in harmony with their environmental ethic: Purebond® by Columbia Forest Products. Nico Spacecraft has found that the PureBond® plywood they now use in most of their projects satisfies their quality, design and environmental criteria. They also use reclaimed materials where they can. Through seeking out circular supplies for their small business, Nico Spacecraft has been able to successfully incorporate circular economy practices such as non-toxic materials, design for recycling and durability into their products.


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