We believe society needs to move to a more efficient, circular economy focused on eliminating waste.
But what is the circular economy? The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leading voice on this vision, offers a neat explanation on the differences with the circular economy and our current ‘linear’ economy. Materials are extracted from the earth, products are made, before then being thrown away as waste. But a true circular economy stops waste from ever being produced in the first place.
But how do we get there? For supply chains, embedding renewable energy sources in every process is one clear way wasteful carbon emissions can be reduced and ultimately removed altogether.
The shipping industry produces around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, an estimated 2.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions – or more than the whole of Germany. The International Maritime Organization has set a target to cut these emissions in half by 2050. A complete pivot to a circular economy would increase the impact further by removing carbon altogether.
Meanwhile, collective action is helping to affect change. Hawk Xu said Lenovo, along with its suppliers, has set up its own aggressive circular economy targets which it’s working to hit by 2030. By putting requirements on their partners and suppliers to drive sustainability within the ecosystem, this helps to trigger a domino effect that inspires change across an entire industry.
The sharing of resources, such as using empty shipment space, was one initiative flagged by Mike Bhaskaran that has allowed freighters to aggregate demand. Technology makes this possible, ultimately reducing the amount of energy needed to move goods across the world.
Accelerating the circular economy was the core theme for COP27 these past weeks, so it’s an issue which will set the agenda for years to come.
To rise to the challenge of climate change, all industries must play their part. It’s clear sustainability goals must underpin supply chains of today and tomorrow – the future of the planet depends on it.
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