• Circular Economy Hand holding an infinity symbol
BY: Lynda Haig Thoresen | Marketing, Communication & Sustainability Manager

Linear to circular economy

To actively drive sustainability, we need to enforce sustainability into our processes, which means shifting from a linear economy to circular economy

A linear economy based on take-make-use-dispose (cradle to grave) is hardly sustainable in the long run. Transitioning to a circular economy however is. Circular economy is based on the three R’s reduce-reuse-recycle. According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, transitioning from a linear to a circular economy is not just about reducing the negative impacts of the linear economy. It represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

Choosing sustainable options

At Data Respons Solutions, we do not develop own products but develop products and solutions according to our customers specification.

– Our most valuable contribution is to positively influence our customers to choose sustainable options.

We believe that a successful sustainable development can only be achieved in cooperation with our valued customers, partners, and suppliers. Being serious about sustainability is becoming important factors in terms of customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and a business’s reputation.

We are however experiencing that there is a higher environmental focus among our customers.
A few of our customer have stipulated in their service agreements that damaged products / solutions shall be used to repair and maintain other returned or damaged goods. Others have stipulated a certain percentage of their products to come from recycled plastic.

Green, sustainable, rugged, and profitable

Providing our customers with the expertise to make the product both green, sustainable, rugged, and profitable can be a difficult balancing, where we need to take our customer’s concerns of reduced quality seriously. Knowing that extreme environments place special demands on industrial solutions to ensure optimum functionality vs protecting the environment.

– There is increased access to good technical alternative product / solutions that are environmentally friendly and that isn’t conflicting with, or compromising, the technical solution.

Green vs Sustainable design

One might think that green and sustainable is the same. There is however a difference. Green design focuses more on the short-term goals. Sustainable design, however, offers a larger impact. Where green design, for the most, relates to environmental concerns, sustainable design goes beyond.

Sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of ecological sustainability. The table below outlines the major differences.

Green Design

  • End product as environmentally friendly as possible
  • Short term impact
  • What you can do here and now
Take-make-use-dispose
Cradle to grave
Potentially shorter development timeframe

Sustainable Design

Based on 3 pillars of sustainability:

  • Economic development, Social development & Environmental protection.
  • Long term impact for future generations and multiple life cycles
Reduce-reuse-recycle
cradle to cradle
Potentially longer development timeframe

The role ecodesign

Ecodesigning a product minimises environmental impact and maximises its business impact along its life cycle by designing a circular system around it. We are very conscious about sustainability when choosing technology platform. We also contribute to making the value chain more circular by eliminating unnecessary energy use. We already follow the ROHS/REACH directives and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations and think low energy, long-term and using fewer components and parts.

We are aware of potential hurdles (potentially higher costs, longer R&D development processes, risks of testing out new materials etc. Overcoming these hurdles can lead to more advanced, profitable, and sustainable products / solution.

In the future, we aim to professionalise our procedures further to offer our customers’ circular products/solutions and make it traceable that the opportunities were reviewed with the customer and have already started working on an ecodesign checklist, based on the 8 stages of ecodesign, that we will actively use in meetings with our customers and will be added our current development procedures.

Sustainability through technology

We believe that new technology is a key enabler to sustainability and strive to explore technology projects that contributes in making the world greener, stronger, smarter, and more equal. Many of our technology projects contribute through the innovation of smarter and greener technology solutions that leaves a lasting sustainable footprint. The products or solutions we develop should be designed for lifetime sustainability (cradle-to-cradle), easy to maintain and service, and easy to upgrade to increase the products lifetime.

Three emission scopes

The Greenhous gas protocol Corporate Standard classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three scopes. Corporate Standard classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three scopes.

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased energy.
  • Scope 3: indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) from activities of the organisation occurring from sources that are not owned or controlled. Includes both upstream and downstream emissions.

Illustration showing the 3 different emission scopess

Source: Greenhous Gas Protocol

Our carbon Footprint

Most of Data Respons Solutions’ emissions come from purchase of goods (Scope 3 upstream) and shows that we have a big job ahead of us. As one of our core values is to take responsibility, we need to be a positive factor fighting climate change and focus on developing technology that matters to the planet. We need to reduce our emissions and implement Circular Economy systematically throughout our supply and value chains.

Chart showing Data respons Solutions Emissions for 2019

New ISO standard in the making

As a response to the growing consciousness about circular economy and sustainability in recent year the International Standards Organization (ISO) has formed a circular economy technical committee to standardise the concepts scope (ISO TC 323).

The scope of Circular Economy standard ISO/TC 323 is currently under development and will provide standardisation in the field of Circular Economy to develop frameworks, guidance, supporting tools and requirements for the implementation of activities of all involved organisations, to maximise the contribution to Sustainable Development.

We welcome this standard as a great benchmarking tool for circular economy compliance.

EU’s European green deal

The new Circular Economy Action Plan has been promoted as a central pillar of the EU’s European Green Deal and sets an ambitious roadmap towards a climate-neutral circular economy. It seems inevitable that we follow this path.

Link between Circular Economy and UN SDG’s

We celebrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals and commit to support the UN Global Compact and conduct our business in line with the ten universal principles related to human rights, labour standards, environment, and anti-corruption.

Shifting from a linear to a circular economy can impact the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Circular-economy-impact-on-SDGs

With that said – our circular journey begins!

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