Month: June 2021

  • By Simina Scripat English Version The crisis caused by COVID-19 and the effects of climate change made the transition to an economic system in which production and consumption are more sustainable increasingly urgent. This implies a total paradigm shift from the status quo. In this new perspective, the needs of the present must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To achieve such development, in 2015 the Member Countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. These goals are based on the three pillars: environmental, social, and economic. Given the close interconnection of these levels, a transformation of the economic system can also bring environmental and social benefits. Generally speaking, studies have shown how the circular model can benefit the achievement of all SDGs. For example, it has a direct effect on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6). In fact, several parts of the world currently experience severe water shortages at least once a year. The use of circular practices, such as the development of small-scale water purification technologies or wastewater treatment to reduce the discharge of wastewater into drinking water sources, may offer a solution to this water access issue. Circular economy (CE) can also directly benefit the achievement of SDG 7 – ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Energy is one of the most polluting sectors, and as a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shows, the transition to renewable energy can address 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By introducing CE in five sectors (key cement, plastics, steel, aluminum, and food), it would be possible to reduce these emissions by 9.3 billion tons, thus curbing the other...
  • By Giovanna Matrone and Simone Bambagioni English Version The manufacturing process is currently living its fourth revolution: Industry 4.0. Based on a wide range of new technologies combining physical, digital, and biological aspects, this means taking an enormous step forward compared to the previous revolutions mainly characterized by technological advancement. These new technologies are impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries, as well as challenging ideas about our conditions as humans. The main characteristic of Industry 4.0 is the connectivity between machines, orders, employees, suppliers, and customers. This digital transformation – based on Internet-of-Things and electronic devices – impacts the entire value chain of the manufacturing process. Within this revolution, some trends are receiving more attention and investments due to their high potential: Smart factory, Predictive maintenance, and 3D printing. 3D printing is a computer-controlled process serving object production by adding sequential layers of material (metal, plastic, composite). The evolution of this technology, mostly used for prototyping of low volumes, is the Additive Manufacturing (AM) aimed to support a real serial production. This manufacturing process significantly differs from conventional subtractive methods, mainly based on removing material from a solid block. AM offers significant advantages: production innovation can be accelerated, while product customization and functional integration can be reached quickly and at lower costs. This makes AM attractive for many companies to differentiate themselves on the market and reach sustainability targets. Indeed, AM becomes a fundamental step in transitioning from a linear to a circular economy, disrupting current supply chain in terms of design, materials, manufacturing, and products. DESIGN AM basically expands the scope of design to a wider range of factors, asking engineers for a real mindset change. Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) is not just focused on the manufacturing step itself, but it also considers the material properties, part parameters,...
  • 8 June 2021

    Circular Threads

    Versione Italiana Comunicato Stampa Circular Threads Tondo presenta il primo studio italiano sulla relazione tra industria del tessile ed Economia Circolare per valutare il livello di circolarità del settore nel Nord Italia Tondo, Fondazione Pistoletto, Associazione Tessile e Salute e Rén sono lieti di annunciare la presentazione dello studio Circular Threads, che verrà illustrato per la prima volta presso la sede della Fondazione Pistoletto a Biella il 22 giugno dalle ore 14:30 alle ore 18:30.   Lo studio Circular Threads è stato sviluppato con l’intenzione di promuovere la transizione verso l’Economia Circolare nell’industria tessile attraverso una prima misurazione del livello di sostenibilità e circolarità su scala settoriale e aziendale. L’industria tessile rappresenta un settore cruciale dell’economia italiana. L’adozione di modelli produttivi basati sui principi dell’Economia Circolare permetterebbe a questo settore di diventare non solo più sostenibile, ma anche più resiliente, efficiente e redditizio. “Misurare la sostenibilità, saperla valorizzare senza cadere nei luoghi comuni del greenwashing e mantenere alti i valori dell’etica, questi sono i fattori che possono aiutare le manifatture a differenziarsi” – commenta Marco Piu, Direttore di Associazione Tessile e Salute. La ricerca, che ha coinvolto circa 300 aziende, è stata condotta su 3 livelli di analisi (desk search, questionario, misurazione della circolarità) fornendo una panoramica della situazione attuale del settore, con l’obiettivo ultimo di comprendere i gap esistenti e di accelerare la transizione verso l’Economia Circolare nell’industria tessile, anche grazie all’identificazione delle best practices e delle principali sfide da affrontare. “La volontà di portare avanti questo studio – racconta Alberto Monti, Head of Research di Tondo – nasce dalla consapevolezza dell’esistenza di una serie di criticità che il settore del tessile si trova a dover affrontare, ma anche dalla convinzione che i principi dell’Economia Circolare possano servire non solo per far diventare l’intero settore più sostenibile, ma anche più produttivo, redditizio e...
  • English Version Pietro Lanza General Manager of Intesa (IBM Group) and Blockchain Director of IBM Italia was with us at our Re-think Circular Economy Forum in October. Together we discussed how the transition towards the Circular Economy and the Green Deal create new opportunities for businesses in which technology and digital innovation play a key role. According to Pietro Lanza, what we are experiencing is a new industrial revolution that is based on exponential technologies, such as IoT, AI, cognitive computing, and Cloud. These technologies are growing at a global scale and allow companies to move towards new business models, enabling the Green and Digital Transition to a Circular Economy. The technology sector is then becoming a key player in redesigning businesses for Italian mid and big-size companies, especially because the supply chains of many industries are becoming more complex. Why are these technologies important? To unlock the potential of a Circular Economy through these new technologies, it is useful to highlight seven essential steps. First of all, it is necessary to understand and leverage the usage of IoT platforms. The second step is about focusing on the right data and analyzing them. This step is usually supported by AI combined with Machine Learning. The next one deals with rethinking the operations, an area in which Intesa is deploying a lot of effort, helping its clients in redefining their processes from the product design to the supply chain to the overall industrial processes. In this step blockchain, augmented reality, and optimization of the processes through innovation are often used. The fourth step is about connections: we are living in an interconnected world, which means that it is important to leverage on open platforms to connect in real-time actors across all the network. The blockchain is an example of a connected...
  • By Benedetta Esposito English Version The agri-food sector has been severely affected by many problems, such as resource scarcity, food loss and waste generation along the worldwide supply chain which, in 2019, counted approximately 1.3 billion tons, generating a cost of more than 1000 billion dollars per year (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2019). The decline in biodiversity and the improper management of resources and processes represent only some of the causes of such problems. Accordingly, a need has emerged to radically redesign the traditional linear economic path of production and consumption. In this scenario, Circular Economy emerges as a possible strategy that is able to overcome these critical issues, especially in the state of emergency generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the need to adopt models and tools of Circular Economy in the agri-food sector is imperative to overcome these problems. Under this lens, the company’s performance should be guided towards consumption reduction, optimization of resource management, reduction of environmental impacts, waste reduction, and the reuse of leftovers. Moreover, the literature has shown that stakeholders’ engagement plays a pivotal role in catalyzing the shift towards the adoption of circular economy models, which is required at the supply-chain level rather than the individual company level. Indeed, one of the main barriers to circular economy implementation is the lack of information about the stakeholders involved in the supply chain. In addition to primary producers, numerous categories of subjects should be involved, such as customers and consumers, investors, public decision-makers, the process and transformation industry and distribution. Insightful information about companies’ practices can support sustainable business systems in the agri-food sector. Consistent with this statement, researchers have demonstrated that incorporating social and environmental considerations into the decision-making process and customers ‘reuse activities’ yields significant economic benefits. Therefore, sustainability commitments and the actions of...
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