Circularity goes beyond mere buzzwords; it means making real changes that can benefit the planet and businesses. We take a look at some noteworthy examples of major brands adopting circular practices in their operations during 2023.
In a world grappling with environmental challenges, the concept of a circular economy offers a promising solution. Unlike the linear economy’s ‘take, make, dispose’ approach, a circular economy aims to eliminate waste and keep products and materials in use for as long as possible.
In this article, we explore how some of the large brands are embracing a circular mindset.
Patagonia is a renowned outdoor apparel and gear company that has been actively championing the circular economy movement since 1986. The company’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its Worn Wear program, which involves repairing and reselling used Patagonia products. Moreover, Patagonia incorporates recycled materials into many of its products, encourages customers to buy less through repair and rental services, and designs durable items meant to withstand the test of time.
Last year, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, announced plans to give away his company to help fight the climate crisis.
IKEA is a well-known Swedish furniture and home goods retailer that is dedicated to enhancing the longevity and repairability of its products. Through initiatives such as a buyback scheme, IKEA allows customers to sell their used furniture back to the company in exchange for an IKEA refund card. IKEA has set a target of becoming a circular business by 2030, demonstrating its efforts of minimising waste and promoting sustainability.
Unilever is a global consumer goods company known for popular brands such as Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Unilever is actively working on reducing its environmental impact by incorporating recycled materials into its packaging and partnering with suppliers to decrease waste. The company also supports circular economy startups and has committed to achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Unilever is working towards an absolute reduction of 100% of its emissions in its operations by 2030 and net zero emissions across its value chain by 2039.
Accenture is a prominent consulting firm that offers valuable assistance to clients in designing and implementing circular supply chains. Through partnerships like the Global Change Award with the H&M Foundation, Accenture is driving innovation in the fashion industry, promoting a circular and sustainable ecosystem. The company’s goal is to support clients in achieving net zero emissions by 2040, while also demonstrating the advantages of circular economy solutions through insightful research and reports.
Global fashion retailer H&M has taken significant steps towards reducing waste. Together with recycling company, Remondis, H&M has established the venture called Looper Textile Co., which collects used clothing for resale to second-hand fashion companies and the recycling industry. This venture is expected to extend the lifespan of millions of garments, contributing to waste reduction.
After facing accusations of greenwashing in 2022, H&M promised to speed up its efforts and be completely open about its impact on the environment by March 2023. In line with this promise, the company released its sustainability report for 2022 in March, which details its sustainability initiatives.
In 2021, Tesco teamed up with reusable packaging platform, Loop, for a trial aimed at eliminating the need for single-use packaging. The program allowed customers to buy popular brands like Persil, Coca-Cola, Heinz, Radox, and Tetley in reusable packaging by paying a small deposit and was available online and in select stores, giving customers a more sustainable packaging option.
According to Tesco, the trial with Loop was a valuable learning experience for the superstore. It showed that there is demand for reusable packaging among consumers, but it also highlighted some of the challenges that need to be addressed before it can become mainstream. These challenges include appropriate branding to alert customers to the trial, as well as changing consumer habits around returning reusable packaging.
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