SMEs lack circular knowledge

4th April 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Waste ,
  • Minimisation ,
  • Recycling

Author

IEMA

Nearly half (48.5%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe have not heard of the term "the circular economy", reveals survey

A further 25% of small businesses are not sure of what "the circular economy" means, according to a survey of SMEs in Belgium, France and the UK by the EU’s Fusion Observatory.

The poll finds that just 9% of the 231 companies surveyed claim to understand the term and consider it in their business.

A large proportion of the participating SMEs, including 60.5% in the UK, report that they recycle materials and repair equipment where possible, but few are looking to design out waste, and even fewer have examined their whole business process flow to reduce waste.

Almost a quarter (23%) of firms say that quantifying the economic benefits would make the circular economy more relevant to their business.

Respondents were also asked to identify the material streams that offer the potential for the greatest gains in a circular economy model. Packaging waste is singled out as the material stream best suited to a circular economy approach, though only 14% of respondents put packaging in their top three.

The research comes as Green Alliance report that banning five key waste materials from landfill and ensuring they are recycled, remanufactured or reused could support 47,500 skilled jobs in the UK and save £3.8 billion of valuable materials from being lost to the economy.

It also reveals that placing a blanket ban on landfilling wood, plastic, textiles, food and electronics would reduce the annual amount of waste being landfilled by 19 million tonnes and save 14.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.

Meanwhile, the environmental audit committee has launched an inquiry into growing a circular economy. MPs will examine:

  • the potential economic value of resources contained in waste;
  • the environmental benefits of the circular economy – including, design to reduce, reuse, repair/remanufacture and recycle;
  • the potential benefits of alternative business models, such as leasing; and
  • barriers to circular business models.

Also, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management has commissioned research on the waste sector can be best supported in delivering the circular economy. The findings will be unveiled in October 2014.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Transform. I hope that you’ve had a good and productive few months so far.

28th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close