Many companies are increasingly recognizing their impact on wider society and looking for ways to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. To do this, one tool they need is data. Circulytics, developed by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, provides companies with a quantifiable assessment of their circularity – a practice that designs out waste of the production cycle.
Circulytics aims to help businesses adapt to a broader circular economy. The circular economy, driven by the notion of circularity, aims to create a more sustainable, regenerative world and works to replace disposability seen in many products currently produced today.
“There is a growing understanding that the circular economy is a framework that gives companies new opportunities in the long-term and can deliver critical solutions to address…global challenges,” Jarkko Havas, Circulytics lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, tells Food Tank.
Circulytics provides a comprehensive score of a business’ circularity by evaluating potential enablers for change and current practices. By quantifying the concept, businesses and their stakeholders may be able to identify areas for improvement and measure them against key metrics, says Havas.
The agriculture industry is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, second only to the electricity and heating sector, and has tremendous power to directly influence the environment. Fully shifting to a circular economy in agriculture would produce significant tangible benefits, says Havas.
Regenerative agriculture practices are in line with circularity principles, actively improving ecosystems and biodiversity by eliminating synthetic materials and maintaining healthy soils. “Revolutionizing the food system in this way could…lead to significant reductions of antimicrobial resistance, water contamination, and foodborne diseases,” says Havas. “[C]ities…could unlock an opportunity of US$700 billion by reducing edible food waste and cycling by-products and organic materials.”
While Circulytics provides assessments for free, the potential expense to changing business models may make some businesses cautious. But, the benefits of the transition will outweigh the costs, Havas tells Food Tank. Businesses will no longer be exposed to unpredictable prices of inputs needed in today’s waste-based system; in a circular economy, all materials can be reused, presenting potential business opportunities up to €900 billion (US$962 billion) by 2030, says Havas.
With this data, the Foundation plans to publish aggregated results and insights on circular economy performances in different industries and regions at the end of each year. These reports will allow the tool to continue to provide updated industry benchmarks, indicators, and suggestions.
“[The Circular Economy] is a mindset that takes a huge effort to change and requires action on a systems level, involving huge numbers of different players — but we are starting to see it happen,” Havas tells Food Tank, “…we now need to catalyze a shift at a scale and pace we have never seen before.”