Towards Net Zero – How to develop Circular Business Models

Main Presenter: Felix M. Piontek 

Co-Authors: Constantin Herrmann

The European Green Deal requires a zero carbon Europe until 2050.Consequently, all processes conducted, and actions taken need to ensure zero carbon emissions. Beside the areas of energy systems, logistics and living, it certainly also includes industry sectors, industrial processes, and their entire supply chains. Zero carbon supply chains mean net zero carbon emission from scope 1, 2 and 3.

The key question for future business is therefore how to reduce the carbon emissions of all procured components down to zero, beside all procured and consumed energies(scope 1 and 2). A promising approach is a circular economy if primary produced materials will not be provided carbon neutral or will increase in price. However, today the development of circular business models often is a chicken and egg problem. It needs a clear business case to invest into changes, adaptions, substitutions, or life cycle system adjustments of linear products (take, make, dispose) to turn them into circular products or product systems (avoid, re-use, recycle, recover).

An evaluation matrix allows for identification of circularity status depending on selected products and sector. Based on the results, hot spots and weak points are identified and allow entering a six-step-approach for business-case identification. The six steps include quantitative methods like LCA but also creativity methods. They aim to avoid trade-offs and to consider economic and environmental factors to ensure profitable and sustainable business models are developed.

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