Companies Must Begin To Embrace The Circular Economy In Quest For Net Zero
Leading Northern Ireland renewables experts, Everun, are calling on businesses to embrace the circular economy to recycle, reuse and repair in efforts to reach net zero carbon impact and work towards a sustainable ethos to benefit all.
The company has already seen the benefits of the circular economy, with decommissioned wind turbines being turned into bridges and children’s climbing frames.
Everun Sales and Business Development Director, Ross Moffett, said as a company specialising in renewable energy including wind and solar, taking on board the principles of the circular economy matched their business model, but can be applied to all businesses.
“The world is working on the old economic model of ‘take, make, waste’ and we are all seeing the damage that it is causing,” he said.
“The values of the circular economy are that business can reduce that damage and create new opportunities for development and employment.
“What we have seen from our projects is that it is not only possible but practical to apply them. We at Everun believe that it is possible for all businesses to begin their journey to adapt to the circular economy.
“For us, it's not just the transaction of creating renewable energy, it's about being sustainable throughout that process, and continuing to be sustainable within ourselves.”
To date, blades from decommissioned wind turbines have been used to create bridges on Cork’s Greenway, climbing frames in play parks and selling magnets from gearboxes to be repurposed for future use.
“As a renewable energy specialist, it was incumbent on Everun to examine what we can do to reduce waste in all that we do. Our journey began almost three years ago and it has been transformative for ourselves as well as our customers,” said Mr Moffett.
“From large projects right through to our employees’ idea to take coffee grounds from our coffee machine and put them into the food caddies for our staff to take and use for adding nutrients to their soil and grass.”
Mr Moffett said even the smallest initiatives can start a business' journey towards becoming part of the circular economy.
“We have worked with our suppliers to make sure that their packaging is environmentally friendly and recyclable,” he explained.
“That simple step ripples throughout the supply chain as that supplier can now offer that same packaging to other clients and understand that it is now possible to look at other ways that they can become greener.
“In a similar way, how we transport products can have a real impact. “Moving from the just in time model of ordering to building up stock and partnering with others to share shipping can reduce not only costs but the carbon footprint of each part.”
Whilst advocating for embracing sustainability and the circular economy, Mr Moffet recognises that it can be easier for some companies than others.
“All businesses can start small in their journey to net zero. Look at your waste, packaging and other key elements of the business and ask what small changes can be made that will have a longer term impact” he said.
Although it can be challenging to get getting leadership buy in, it’s a challenge that can be overcome with the right mindset, partners and resources. As a renewables company installing wind turbines, solar PV, EV chargers and smart motors it is important for Everun to show its clients that they too can walk the walk.
“It’s important to take time, really consider your sustainability strategy and ensure you have a robust plan of action and buy in at every level within the business.”
“This is why we are proud to be sponsors of the All Ireland Sustainability Awards later this year. This is a great opportunity for businesses who don’t quite know how they can contribute to see some fantastic case studies. And for businesses who are working hard at putting climate change on their priority list, it’s the place to be recognised and congratulated for your work.
“The circular economy is not just words, or papers from COP, policies from Europe, or our own Net Zero targets. It is common sense actions that will make a difference to your business.”
Find out more about the All Ireland Sustainability Awards and how to enter at https://www.allirelandsustainability.com