A digital platform that enables buyers and suppliers to interact and exchange data to help create circular supply chains is among the top 100 sustainability solutions highlighted in the fourth annual study from the Danish think tank Sustainia.
Selected by sustainability experts from 18 international research organisations, including Yale University and the World Resources Institute, 20% of this year’s innovations are related to circular economy business models.
The innovations include food waste turned into biofuel, reused aircon filters and 100% recycled workwear. “An increase in commodity prices over the past 15 years has erased the real price declines of the 20th century, giving businesses and consumers a good reason to break free of the linear model of resource use,” said Laura Storm, Sustainia’s chief executive.
The think tank says that, by embracing reuse, recycling or takeback systems, circular solutions are reaping financial rewards while protecting themselves from the rising costs of resources. Its also says the innovations illustrate how companies are recognising and acting on strong economic incentives to rethink the conventional definitions of waste and value.
One example is Colombian furniture business Diseclar, which is turning non-degradable plastic and agro-industrial waste into a timber-like material for its products and reduces energy consumption by 85%. Another is Olleco, which produces biodiesel from food waste in the UK.
The innovations and technologies in the Sustainia 100 have been deployed in more than 150 countries and were selected from more than 1,500 projects across 10 sectors, from the built environment to transport. The think tank says their development illustrates that new sustainability solutions are increasingly becoming affordable and convenient options.