• 15 January 2021

    Industrial Ecology and CE

    Industrial Ecology: A foundation for envisioning and measuring the Circular Economy transition By Shyaam Ramkumar – Tondo Associate English Version The concept of a circular economy has been quickly gaining momentum in recent years. Many local and national governments, companies from startups to SMEs to multinational corporations, and a growing number of NGOs such as Tondo are driving the push for a transformation of our current economic model towards one that is more circular, regenerative, and resilient. However, the theoretical and conceptual foundations of the circular economy have a much longer history. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation lists seven different schools of thought that make up the basic tenets of the circular economy, one of which is Industrial Ecology. Industrial Ecology became a prominent concept with the publication of an article by Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos in Scientific American titled “Strategies for Manufacturing”. In the article, Frosch and Gallopoulos conceptualize how industrial systems could behave more like ecological systems. Similar to the symbiotic relationships found in nature where wastes of one species are resources for another, they pondered how outputs and wastes from one industry could be inputs into another industry. The field has since evolved to encompass a set of tools and methods that can help transform value chains across cities, regions, and countries to become more circular. These tools and methods can provide a foundation for envisioning and measuring the circular economy transition. Life Cycle Analysis One of the main methods within Industrial Ecology is Life Cycle Analysis, or LCA. Using the LCA methodology, enables the assessment of the environmental impacts across the whole lifecycle of a product, process, or service. The methodology creates a detailed inventory of all the resources, energy, and materials required from extraction and processing to the production, distribution, use, and disposal of the...
  • 27 July 2020

    CE and COVID-19

    By Alexandra Kekkonen – Tondo’s associate English Version What have we learned about Circular Economy from COVID crisis? The massive disruption of the global value chains in the result of the measures taken by the governments to address the Covid-19 crisis has revealed the fragility of our lineal global economy model and productive arrangements linked to a single geographic location and a single supplier, high degree of dissolution of our innovation, production, supply and consumption systems. (Serada, 2020) It has raised the concerns about the resilience of our economies and led to intensification of such trends as diversification of sourcing and supplies, reshoring, developing strategic autonomy in the critical sectors, intensifying automation, transforming supply chains into more simple, digital, regional more transparent, facilitated by the new delivery modes and contactless innovations. The experiences obtained during the COVID 19 crisis have reaffirmed – there is a need of the great reset and building a more resilient, just, responsive and sustainable economies. Circular Economy is increasingly considered a valuable option allowing to collectively reimagine and redesign our systems to ensure an ecologically safe and socially just space for all. The circular economy also now has the opportunity and duty to further incorporate equality and resilience into this model.  Product design and product policy factors such as repairability, reusability and potential for remanufacturing offer considerable opportunities to enhance stock availability and, therefore, resilience. Rethinking business models in terms of the circular economy presents many opportunities to improve competitiveness, efficiency, innovation and sustainability including through facilitating an access to and shared use of underutilized products.  Circular supplies represent a model for developing components that are reusable and recyclable at the end of a product’s life.  Product life extension prolongs the useful life of a product through improved product design and long-term maintenance.   Resource recovery...
  • 8 July 2020

    CE in Estonia

    By Alexandra Kekkonen – Tondo’s associate English Version Estonia is an innovative nation in Northern Europe known globally for its digital ambitions. It is one of the top countries in Europe in terms of start-ups per capita and ranks first in the Entrepreneurship Index by the WEF. The country is a world pioneer in providing public services online – 99% of all public services provided 24/7 online. Thanks to smart e-solutions, it takes only a few hours to start a company and minutes to declare taxes.   Estonia has a small population (1,3 m.) and territory (45,226 km²). Unlike other countries, the country is characterized by strong deurbanization tendencies in 15-years perspective. Another distinct feature of the Estonian society is so-called slow living approach: a large part of the population does not consider economic growth a priority[1]. These trends are enhanced by declining and ageing population (as of January 1, 2020, the share of people over 65 in the population structure of Estonia was 20.04% of the population) Ecological footprint per person is 7.1 gha, whereas biocapacity [2] is 9.5 gha per person, leaving a room for improvement. Approximately 71% of Estonia’s gross domestic product (by value added) is generated in the service sector, industries account for 25%, and extractive industries (including agriculture and mining) – about 4%, mainly oil shale. Estonia is the second largest emitter of CO2 per capita in the European Union and by far the most carbon-intensive economy among the OECD countries. The reason for that is oil shale, sedimentary rock that has been mined in Estonia for electricity generation since the fifties and, since recently, have also been used for liquid diesel fuel production. The country contains second largest deposits of oil shale (2.49 billion metric tons of shale oil) in the EU after Italy (10.45 billion...
  • 30 April 2020

    The New Economy

    By Katsiaryna Serada – Research Fellow & Policy Analyst at Tondo English Version The pandemic COVID 19 has questioned the foundations of our global economy, demonstrated the weaknesses of our current economic model in facing real and potential global challenges, revealed the excessive and risky dependency on the global value chains and a single largest supplier. The COVID 19 demonstrated that the largest supply of the essential medical items, almost three-quarters of blood thinners imported by Italy, 60% of antibiotic components imported by Japan and 40% imported by Germany, Italy, and France, and largest amount of the medical masks come from China (Javorcik, 2020).  Before the COVID-19 crisis, China produced around 20 million masks per day. By early March 2020 the production increased to 120 million per day, including through deploying idle productive capacity and repurposing other sectors such as automotive and electronics. Despite deploying additional productive capacity both in China and worldwide, the global spike in demand for medical and other supplies   during the COVID 19 crisis far exceeded both material stocks and available capacity to produce. The global value chains were hit in several dimensions – demand, international transportation networks, productive capacity — and were not able to respond the global health crisis. The governments of the exporting countries have addressed the increasing shortage or scarcity (risk of scarcity) in the domestic markets by imposing the numerous export restrictions on medical and other items. More than 70 economies, including the US, China and the EU, have introduced export restrictions to allocate domestic supplies to national healthcare systems and citizens first (Hoekman, Fiorini, 2020). Therefore, the COVID 19 crisis has explicitly demonstrated that the price mechanism and the markets have failed to accomplish social optimum and efficiently provide and allocate the resources. The crisis has explicitly demonstrated that...
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