New research suggests that the global circular economy transition could be complete as early as 2029, as consumers and businesses increasingly prioritise sustainability.
Data research and advisory firm Gartner, which conducted the research, recommends chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) take prompt action to prepare for the circular economy transition as businesses move away from the traditional ‘linear’ model. In order to make the shift, businesses must take a holistic view of their supply chain processes to determine where techniques inherent to the circular economy – such as waste reduction, reuse of materials and implementing recyclability – can be adopted.
Steven Steutermann, Managing Vice President of Gartner’s Supply Chain practice, said: “Organisations are under pressure to reduce the amount of waste they’re producing — from consumers and governments alike. The solution to this challenge is a shift towards a circular, waste-free economy. The supply chain will play a key role in this process. 84% of participants in Gartner’s recent ‘Supply Chain and the Circular Economy’ survey stated that the supply chain has, or will have, decision making authority when it comes to their organisation’s circular economy strategies and initiatives.
“To turn around a supply chain system, 10 years is not a long time. CSCOs should deploy change management programs and start pilots now. The pilots will provide valuable learnings and help build momentum for further circular economy initiatives. Getting together with like-minded professionals will support CSCOs to sketch out a vision for an intelligent ecosystem of partners and peers. They should start with a single question, such as ‘How can I reduce packaging?’; and expand from there. While some metrics on sustainability already exist, they are mostly related to linear metrics, such as reducing waste to landfills or carbon dioxide emissions. It is important not to confuse those metrics with the circular economy. Good metrics for the circular economy could be the percentages of reclaimed, reused materials for production and the reduction of single-use plastic.”