Circular product development – your next best business decision!

What would it mean to your company if you doubled your circular material use over the next years? 

If you haven’t yet, now it’s time to consider this question. Doubling circular material use by 2030 is one the goals presented in the EU Circular economy action plan published in March this year.

You’ve very likely already set your carbon reduction targets, maybe decided to go carbon neutral over the next decade. As commonly agreed, compensation is not the place to start your emission reduction work, rather, it’s the last resort. You have probably also completed a long list of energy efficiency activities and changed into renewable energy. How to move forward?

Shift your focus on your product & service development. Manufacturing firms in the EU spend on average about 40% on materials. This means that closed loop models can increase their profitability, while sheltering them from resource price fluctuations (EU Green Deal). In addition, the majority of emissions come from poor (read: linear) material management, which in practice means an extremely wasteful take-make-waste model – both in terms of euros and the environment.

What does circular product development mean? 

Circular product development helps you create circular products & services and supporting circular systems. Consisting of three focus areas:

 

1) product and system design

2) business development

3) customer experience

it is an iterative process between the product level and system level.

At system level we work with you & your collaboration partners to create the supporting systems which enable successful transition towards circularity. Without developing a closed-loop ecosystem full circularity cannot be achieved. Think about, for example, Tarkett, the flooring company: they have developed ReStart® closed-loop system, which enables them to collect old vinyl floors and reprocess them into new floors. Setting up this type of system is obviously a strategic business decision.

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At product level we work together with your R&D and design teams to develop low-carbon (or carbon negative), circular products. Besides the closed-loop ecosystem, Tarkett uses the Cradle to Cradle framework and certification scheme to ensure their products are safe without any harmful substances and designed and manufactured for endless circulation. Ensuring material health is crucial when wanting to create truly circular products.

Creating a premium customer experience is where we need to put a service designer hat on to understand how the new circular product-service model benefits your customers. It is underpinned by circular narrative for creating unique marketing messages.

Get started with Circular Design Sprint

Perhaps you want to discuss some of your initial ideas and goals, start prioritising them or, simply start exploring circular opportunities? Maybe your design team needs to learn how to apply circular design principles into their own work? Or you need support to realise and set up a closed-loop system to support your circular product?

Circular Design Sprint is an intensive 3-day business programme taking your circular journey to the next level whether you are a beginner or more advanced on your journey. It is a combination of innovation, practical training and product and service development through circular economy thinking and design methods. Always tailored to your specific needs, it provides a hands-on platform for your team to develop a future-proof circular product with clear business benefits.

Anne Raudaskoski, Head of Consulting & Founding Partner