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Where are my business opportunities in the circular economy?

I was facilitating the discussion on the best ways forward around circular economy for about 100 people yesterday. In the break once again a CEO asked me that question: Where are the business opportunities in the circular economy for my company? It seems the list of executives asking this question just keeps growing.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, nothing short that I could put in a post. But I have some good news, there is a simple way right now, as I am offering free one-hour strategic calls for a short while, how about you just send me a message and we can book one in?

Do it yourself

Anyway, there are some questions you can ponder and themes you can consider in your search. Some of them are:

  • What are your top five business issues right now – and what do they look like through the lens of the circular economy? This is essential to be sure that you maximize the value of your circular business.
  • Have you decided on the level of your commitment to be working with the circular economy in your business? And how ambitions do you think you are? This is important to gain traction in your quest for a better sustainable.
  • Do you already have circular economy initiatives in place? If not, don’t worry. Together we can find the right place for you too.
  • Where have you focused your circular efforts in so far? Have they been successful?
  • What other areas can you focus your circular economy efforts on to make it most valuable? Maybe you are on track, maybe we will need to shift your focus to make the outcome more impactful.
  • How widespread is the circular economy mindset in the organization? Do you have your key stakeholders on board? Key stakeholders will make or break your initiatives. If you haven’t got them on board, don’t worry we will find the right strategy to get them engaged.

Answering the above questions will lead you on a path of discovery answering the question of what to focus on to make the biggest impact in your business.

How to discover your opportunities

An important tool is to map the flow of resources through your value chain. Uncover the different processes and activities and their interaction and nodes or intersections. Look at the value chain as a whole; all its individual pieces and steps; as well as intersections with the surroundings and greater community, collaborations and partners, customers, clients and suppliers.

This step is about discovery, not an in-depth analysis. At this stage, there is no right or wrong just a current state. The purpose is to gain an overview of key activities such as resource use, value gains and losses, customer relations, customer context, products, distribution, impacts, etc. Applying a discovery process built upon a circular mindset is imperative to change the current state and impact your business results.

Key take-outs from your discovery should be clarity around challenges and threats to existing business models and partnerships, as well as to existing priorities, objectives, and strategies. There is the key to your opportunities and possibilities, for instance, tied to changing needs in the market place or increasing competition for raw materials.

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