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November 25, 2016
Technology: the Circular Economy’s Enabler or Blocker?
Francesca Brady

We took part in a fascinating debate on the topic of the Technology and the Circular Economy. The online event invited thought-leaders and innovators to explore new economic models with an open audience. It was organised by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival.

Bill Clee, CEO at Asset Mapping, joined Founder of Metabolic Eva Gladek and Founder of Ecochain Technologies Boudewjin Mos to kick-off an open discussion on how organisations can share data to make the promises of a circular economy a reality.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes the circular economy as “one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.”

Most importantly for businesses, the Circular Economy is a €1.8 trillion opportunity that generates growth from within, “by increasing the value derived from existing economic structures, products, and materials.”

In today’s panel discussion, we talked about how the Internet of Things an enabler of the circular economy. When you connect a physical object to the internet, it starts broadcasting data in real-time concerning its characteristics, location, and condition. This information helps optimise how things are used throughout their lifecycle, provides great insights to manufacturers on how to improve product design overtime and allows people to share things, rather than buying them. Zipcar is an example we all know about, but there are many others, from tool libraries, to washing machines and even heavy equipment.

As discussed with Eva and Boudewjin, the technology necessary to use resources better is already there. The challenge lies in changing the business models that see value in locking data about materials and processes behind proprietary walls.

To learn more about the forward-thinking solutions we shared in this panel discussion, just hit play and enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEHqrSqi3EY

 

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