Environment & sustainability specialist, Andy Whyle FIEMA discusses IEMA’s Extended Resource Ownership Model and new paper 'The Value of Collaboration for Corporate Sustainability Outcomes.

As a Circular Economy Practitioner, Chair of IEMA’s CE Network- –I have spent a number of years explaining the practical aspects of the Circular Economy to colleagues, engineers, academics, Professors and even Government Scientific Advisors. As many practitioners can testify, this can be a difficult task!

So, how do you explain the circular economy? Do you dazzle with technological and biological cycles, talk of material circularity? Or do you stick with the simplistic ‘take-make-dispose’ explanation and expect your audience to magically become ‘Circularity Crusaders’.
Are you lost in a world of biological and technical cycles yet? Then consider how ‘normal’ people struggle with not only the concept, but also how to apply it in practice. The bigger challenge we face as CE experts is to demystify these principles so that more and more people can understand and apply them in their organisations.

IEMA’s Circular Economy Network comprises expert practitioners who strive to develop and embed the principles of the circular economy into their relevant sectors. Representing a wide range of organisations (from regulatory agencies to consultancies) and operating in different sectors and industries (from construction to manufacturing) the network members have followed the principles set out in IEMA’s The Value of Collaboration for Corporate Sustainability Outcomes to help advance good practice on CE (available to download for IEMA members here).

We have developed a new resource for IEMA members – the Extended Resource Ownership Model.

  • Click here to access the interactive process flow of the model.
  • Click here to download the stage by stage written explanation

Originally created for the UK Govt Office of Sciences’ policy advisory report “From Waste to Resource Productivity” (used in the #Resources and #Waste Strategy for England 2018). It was created as a list of practical actions to supplement existing academic concepts. This was then adopted and developed by the Networks’ Steering Group to share with IEMA members.

Downloadable for members, the process flow approach considers design, procurement, sustainable business, remanufacturing and increasing circularity of materials. The simple step-by-step approach is coupled with examples to provide individual bite sized explanations at each stage of the process, enabling practitioners and academics to share the circular economy with non-specialists.

Initially focussing on manufacturing, next steps are to consider construction, the water industry and agriculture, with a view to incorporating any sector that needs to engage in the Circular Economy.

There were close to 200 members tuning in for the launch webinar for this resource with nearly 400 registered. If you missed the session then you can watch it here.

The Q&A session saw many questions with lots of positive feedback.

Gillian Gibson (FIEMA) said “Linking the process flow for dealing with ‘waste’ and overlaying it with something which looks at ‘resource’ (i.e, repurposing) enables the organisation to move completely away from linear process

Radha Daniel (PIEMA) also commented that this was exactly what was needed when you ‘don the hi-viz’ and explain circular economy aspects in the workplace.

The audience poll revealed that close to 80% of attendees would find it useful to have a process flow that supports embedding CE in their sectors!

After highlighting the importance of CE Design in the model there will be a webinar on this in 2021 to engage designers in this critical phase of the process flow. The CE Network will continue to increase the awareness and engagement that is necessary to embed this Model into everyday operations, further enabling us to Build Back Better.

If you have any suggestions, comments or would like to support development of the model then please get in touch and let IEMA’s CE Network Steering Group know – [email protected]

IEMA members can download The Value of Collaboration for Corporate Sustainability Outcomes guide here.

If you're not yet an IEMA member you can purchase a digital copy here and click on 'corporate sustainability'.

Photo of Andy Whyle
Andy Whyle

Andy Whyle is an environment & sustainability specialist. He is an IEMA Fellow who chairs the IEMA Fellows Working Group on Collaboration for Corporate Sustainability, he also chairs the IEMA Circular Economy Network steering group. As a proven leading sustainability practitioner on a local, national and international basis he is a subject matter expert on the circular economy. He has utilised his experience for DEFRA advisory groups and the UK Resources Council amongst others, representing the manufacturing sector to increase circularity in the UK. A guest lecturer at several universities, his experience as a practitioner has led to several best practice case studies, developing, and demonstrating sustainability solutions and the benefits of collaborating for sustainability.