What is A circular economy?
The linear economic model of "extract - manufacture - consume - throw away", which is not very respectful of the environment and uses a lot of resources and energy, is now showing its limits.
This has led to the concept of the circular economy: increase the efficiency of resource usage and decrease the environmental impact, while increasing the well-being of individuals.
This alternative economic system is a promising way of addressing the current economic, social and environmental issues. This is why the Brussels-Capital Region has set up the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy (BRPCE). Launched in March 2016 for a period of four years, this Programme of 111 measures has three major objectives :
- to transform environmental objectives into economic opportunities
- to relocate the economy to Brussels in order to produce locally whenever possible, reduce travel, optimise land use and create added value for Brussels inhabitants;
- help create employment.
Part of the plan's measures were sectoral: four sectors were chosen based on their job creation potential, their impact on greenhouse gas emissions and because they are at the heart of the most significant challenges facing Brussels: construction, resources and waste, logistics, trade and food.
What is a circular business?
To define whether a business is circular, you have to look at its business model. Within the circlemade.brussels cluster, four categories of business model associated with the circular economy have been identified. A company is said to be circular if it has at least one of these business models. However, it is possible that several models can be applied to it.
Here are the four models:
1. Less is More - Circular Procurement
The business model allows the company to use fewer resources (materials, water and energy), while providing an equal or superior product or service offering to its customers. This can be achieved through eco-design and the use of renewable resources.
2. Make it Last - Extending the product lifespan/eco-design
The company has an offer that allows the resources to be kept in use longer, whether it is goods or an associated service (improvement of technical characteristics, repairability, preventive maintenance, etc.).
3. Use better - Better use of resources
The company develops an offer that allows better use of resources by sharing, making the product available without giving up ownership, the product's multifunctionality, etc.
4. Close the Loop - Reuse of resources
The company has an offer that promotes the reuse of resources. This can be in the same cycle (i.e. the same value chain: reuse, remanufacturing, recycling for the same use) or in a different cycle (i.e. different use and value chain: up and downcycling, recycling with a different use due to changes in the quality of the material).