Transitioning to a circular economy requires us to move away from the linear ‘take, make, use, dispose” model to a more circular system where resource use is minimised, value is retained within the system and waste is viewed as a resource.
Trying to do “the right thing” and improve environmental sustainability performance can be challenging when a simple change designed to improve a product or service can have adverse impacts elsewhere in the lifecycle or within different environmental spheres. What looks to be obvious changes can have a range of unintended consequences that are important to understand to make the optimum choices.
Our Circular Economy practice uses a wide range of different tools, techniques, skills and expertise to address the cross-cutting themes of Circular Economy, help our clients navigate the complex issues and plot the optimum way forward to bring about lasting change. With collaboration a key characteristic of circular economy thinking, it is no surprise that our work often overlaps with our other practice areas.
Here are some of the tools and techniques used by the Circular Economy consultants, analysts and programme managers to help clients bring about change.
LCA and footprinting
Life cycle Assessment and footprinting are invaluable techniques to assess the true environmental performance of systems by assessing the impacts across the entire life-cycle. Using this whole-life view not only determines the environmental credentials of a product or service, but provides insight into system hot-spots, enables targeted improvements, facilitates balanced decision making and prevents unintended consequences. With in-depth knowledge of the relevant techniques and standards, 3Keel’s Circular Economy and Climate Change teams have a wealth of experience in completing the full range of LCA and footprinting studies, from rapid footprinting, hot-spot tool creation and internally facing LCAs, to Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and LCAs for public disclosure.
Used correctly, packaging plays a vital role in protecting, storing and promoting products at all stages of their lifecycle, thereby reducing waste and associated emissions. However, there is no doubt that surplus packaging causes significant environmental issues including excessive use of resources and wide-ranging pollution through use of non-recyclable materials and formats, inadequate collection and recycling infrastructure and mis-managed waste streams. Coupling our in-depth knowledge of materials, recyclability and end-of-life solutions with effective analysis techniques, 3Keel’s team helps organisations to improve their packaging sustainability. Packaging portfolio assessments, recycling landscape reviews, supplier engagement and horizon scanning are some of the tools we use when working with companies to develop sustainable packaging policies and create roadmaps to drive change.
Evidence-based target setting and strategy formulation
The business adage that ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’ ‘ is as key for sustainability as for other business functions. At 3Keel we believe in evidence-based decision-making and target-setting and work closely with clients to ensure that their sustainability strategies and targets are both meaningful and realistic. The key to this is establishing impact profiles, focus areas and baseline metrics from which improvement targets can be set and glide paths to achieve the strategies are established. We are able to help at each stage of the journey, from using sustainability workshops to build understanding, through generating the baselines using company data, recommending targets and advising on strategy development.
Programme management for collaborations and coalitions
To accelerate the transitions required to move to a circular economy, collaborations and coalitions play a vital role in driving meaningful and lasting change. 3Keel purposefully pursues collaborations and are highly accomplished at both convening and programme managing multi-stakeholder projects involving the full range of activities from cross-industry strategy setting to the practical implementation of circular systems. Notable projects include the recently launched BRC Climate Roadmap, the Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) programme and the ground-breaking, pre-competitive coffee pod collection and recycling scheme ‘Podback’. As the scheme managers for Podback, 3Keel have been instrumental in developing and maximising the effectiveness of the collaboration between the founding members and all partners, combining practical knowledge, programme management, and on-the-ground implementation skills to develop the end-to-end solution.