Circular Economy

The world economy has been built on the ‘take, make and dispose’ linear economy, which is now under threat because of the limited availability of natural resources to meet growing demand, the problem of climate change and toxicity in materials.

Desso circular economy

The rising economies in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East are expected to lift three billion people out of poverty in the next few decades, which is likely to create ever increasing demand for consumer goods from the new middle classes.

However, the planet will not be able to sustain this surge in economic activity and use of resources this will generate unless a new more environmentally positive business model is created in which materials are managed more responsibly.

There is an alternative - the circular economy, which is a restorative or regenerative system by intention and design.

Desso, with its circular economic model shaped around Cradle to Cradle® design is well placed to take advantage of this new industrial innovation. A new report, Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition1) launched in January 2012 by Dame Ellen MacArthur, the founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation states that the circular economy, "replaces the 'end-of-life' concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and within this, business models."

The same report, co-produced with McKinsey & Co., calculated that businesses in the EU could reap annual savings of $630 billion/ €464 billion (almost 4% of annual EU GDP) by moving to the circular economy.

A second report, Towards the Circular Economy Volume 21), produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey in 2013 focused on the impact of circular models in the consumer goods industry. It found that there was a global economic opportunity worth USD 700/€516 billion in that sector alone .

Desso remains one of the pioneers of the circular economy, providing case material for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and others.

“We are delighted to see more and more interest in the circular economy model as a new, positive way forward for business and society. At Desso, we are five years into a comprehensive programme to change our business model in this way. It links directly to our core vision which is to deliver products that improve people’s health and wellbeing that also have a positive impact on the environment.”

Alexander Collot d'Escury, former CEO Desso Group

The report cited Desso as one of the pioneering companies leading the change.

After buying out the company, the top management team at Desso took inspiration from the Cradle to Cradle® movement and decided to pursue Cradle to Cradle® certification for the entire company. A major spur to innovation and an inspiration for both customers and employees, Desso's broad adoption of the circular economy principles has been driving top-line growth.

1) Both reports are available online at:

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