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BRIEF | BIRTH OF AN IDEA


is co-operation across the entire value chain which has resulted in and an almost ideal material cycle. Two: In the “state impulses” scenario, the Circular Economy is one that depends on consumer needs but operates within a state-led framework. Three: Consumers are even more important in the “society puts pressure” scenario: Here, the Circular Economy is driven by demand - for example, through customer requests for seals or modularised and recyclable products. The state is also shown to be slow to respond. Four: In the “dinosaur thinking” scenario, the issue of a Circular Economy is one that has not yet achieved social acceptance, or managed to influence politics or the marketplace. There’s little incentive for companies to engage without more demand for compliant products. We can therefore expect a fundamental change for mechanical and plant engineering companies. Dr Björn Moller from Fraunhofer ISI,


said: “The future Circular


Economy goes far beyond today’s waste and recycling industry, because the term applies to the entire value chain. This means that there will be a great need for new collaborations in the future. “But all manufacturing companies will also have to check their business models


and possibly have to turn them upside down.” ●


application-oriented research organisation. ●


The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research is part of the Fraunhofer Society, Europe’s largest


Pallmann Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Company KG is


a POWTECH exhibitor based in Zweibrücken, where it develops, manufactures, and distributes size reduction machines and preparation systems.


Opinions are divided as to where the term Circular Economy came from. The economist Kenneth Boulding 2003 essay, The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth, is often cited as the first expression of it, although Boulding doesn’t use the actual phrase. Walter R. Stahel, an architect regarded as a founding father


of industrial sustainability, is credited with having coined the expression “Cradle to Cradle” in the


late 1970s. He went on to develop a “closed loop” production approach, Institute in Geneva.


co-founding the Product-Life


But one of the best-known definitions came from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which described it as restorative and regenerative by design, one in which economic activity rebuilds overall system health and “recognises the importance of the economy needing to work effectively at all scales - for big and small businesses, for organisations and individuals, globally and locally”. They further define it as being based on


three principles: ●


● ●


Designing out waste and pollution


Keeping products and materials in use, and Regenerating natural systems


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