In the second half of the 20th century we got better at extracting the earth’s resources. Much better. So much better in fact, that for 40 years, despite demand for natural resources growing, the cost of those resources decreased. Not anymore. Since 2000, prices for the world’s natural resources have been steadily rising. The old linear model of business – take-make-waste, where profit depends upon managing resources in the production of products – is not only environmental suicide, it’s also business suicide.
Businesses now need the ‘Circular Advantage’ – where growth no longer equals increased resource use, where products are regenerative by design and where resources move back and forth between production and consumption with minimal loss in quality or value. By decoupling growth from resource use, organizations protect themselves from rising and volatile commodity prices, become more resilient to supply disruptions, and reduce their environmental footprint. They also extend their core customer value chain beyond design, production and sales into product use — where most customer value is created.
In Waste to Wealth the authors examine five new business models that provide circular growth – from deploying sustainable resources to the sharing economy – before setting out what business leaders need to do to implement the models successfully. They prove that Green and Growth are not binary alternatives – that there are ways smart firms can make fair profits while delivering great products to customers and that those customers will be able to use those products in a world fit for our children to inherit.