Schneider Electric made the corporate commitment to support a Circular Economy and is deciphering how to do so as this is a large company change. As a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 program since 2015, Schneider is dedicated to accelerating the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
For those who do not know a circular economy aims at keeping resources in use as long as possible and at minimizing or eliminating waste by focusing on products that are “made to last long and be made again”. Before deciding to adapt to this model Schneider was using the linear economy model which runs on the saying “take, make, dispose”. As a big advocate for sustainability, Schneider knew they had to make the change to minimize and hopefully eliminate waste of resources.
Circular economy focuses on the 5R’s being repair, refurbish, remanufacture, reuse and ultimately recycle all resources into a new product. Now as Schneider is just adapting to this model, they have decided to focus on three R’s: reduce, recycle, reuse. This way they can keep their linear approach and keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.
Schneider says with a “strategic adjustment offers both great opportunities and great challenges to a company like ours – a large multinational manufacturer with a broad and diverse range of products – and we are embracing both.”
How the transition is going
During the two years that they have been apart of the program So they have found that the transition has not been as hard as they expected. They can use the reuse approach to obsolete inventory, especially when the new generation of product is introduced.
They have found the program to be quite beneficial as it accelerates their scrapping process, which although can be difficult to manage keeps them proactive as a company. This will also allow them to search for secondary markets for products that are not moving as well as imagined as they recycle the products which, in return will bring in more business.
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