Corporate social responsibility is one aspect companies need to consider when it comes to the adaptation of the circular economy. But, there is a business element to it as well.
“It is important for these efforts to have value. There is money in garbage believe it or not,” Dr Rørvik states. “But who is going to capture this value? Businesses must approach this with longterm thinking and an understanding of the market.”
She adds business leaders can’t afford to ignore sustainable solutions since more customers want products that are made from recycled materials. This is something SCG is witnessing first hand where demand is shifting from single-use items driven by the linear economy to more sustainable products.
“Large international companies are heading towards a sustainable product mix and there isn’t really a choice,” Dr Rørvik explains. “We have to offer what the clients ask for. Business and sustainability go hand-in-hand and thinking circular has become a key strategy.”
This means it is also necessary for SCG to work with clients when designing recyclable solutions in new products and highlights another challenge of the circular economy; putting raw materials back into use instead of simply discarding them after a single use.
Dr Rørvik believes there will always be demand for our raw materials, but finding ways to maximising these into reusable resources with value beyond a single use is necessary to reduce waste. of a circular economy. It wants to put its resources behind the movement while also encouraging others to do the same.
“We can really make a difference. We are a global company with more than 50,000 employees so we have the size and scale to take the lead on the circular economy. But we can’t do it alone. Everyone from governments to businesses and even individuals must be working towards the change,” Dr Rørvik details.
In order to close the loop, everyone must contribute by sorting their waste and stop littering. Dr Rørvik adds that all over the world it is important to set up a good waste management system and educate the public on why it is needed and how they can help.
“As we have seen with the recent ocean plastics news, people want to be a part of this positive change, but they may not always know how to go about it. Especially in countries where there hasn’t been a lot of emphasis placed on recycling and environmental care until now. Everyone from the larger industrial corporations to individuals needed to join this effort in order to save our oceans,” she notes.
After the Symposium, a number of large corporations approached SCG wanting to know how they could get involved. This cooperation is vital as it allows all parties to share current practices, avoid overlapping development and get the whole value chain from raw materials to products in circle. Dr Rørvik points out there is no need to invent what already exists and sharing knowledge guarantees everyone makes progress and works towards completing the circular economy.
“In order to be successful, the circular economy needs everyone to participate and collaborate. This includes people recycling, businesses like SCG finding new ways to maximise the usage of recycled materials, companies offering products made from these materials and so on. It truly is all connected,” Dr Rørvik concludes.