The philosophy, as described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, identifies three key principles:
- Preserve natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows – for example replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
- Optimize resource yields by circulating products, components and materials in use at the highest utility, at all times, in both technical and biological cycles – for example sharing or looping products and extending product lifetimes.
- Increase system effectiveness by revealing and designing out negative externalities, such as water, air, soil and noise pollution; climate change; congestion and negative health effects.
At AkzoNobel, we use circular economy principles to strive for our own radical resource efficiency. We aim to source more renewable raw materials and energy, and to initiate or contribute to programs with a range of partners to accelerate production and adoption of these supplies. Examples include our bio-based materials partnerships and programs for wind energy and renewable steam.
We seek out opportunities for our “waste” to become a secondary raw material and use other people’s “waste” as our secondary raw material.
We currently have two main focus areas – products that do more with less, use less material and last longer; and initiating partnerships, for example converting waste to chemicals, or to re-use unwanted household paint through our ReColor program.
A core element of our work with suppliers, our own operations and the products/services we sell, is to design out negative externalities. Examples include operational eco-efficiency programs; investment assessments which incorporate carbon pricing; products/services that reduce energy use for our customers, or improve air or water quality compared with standard products.
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