My purpose in this article is to tell you why it is important to apply circular strategies both in the world of design and in the world of business and to make a first introduction of the approach we take in all the projects carried out by the Lúcid team 😊.
Our planet is growing at a very high rate in all senses: population growth, urban growth, growth in primary energy consumption, water use, fertiliser use, deforestation, carbon monoxide consumption and a long etcetera of phenomena that cannot continue to grow at the current rate (see the following infographic):
The planet's population growth rate is now unstoppable. In fact, it is estimated that by 2024 we will reach 8 billion people in the world, with the high resource consumption figures that this implies: a 50% increase in energy consumption, a 50% increase in food consumption and a 30% increase in water demand.
These worrying figures translate into a marked increase in the degradation of nature and the scarcity of resources, which in turn will lead to a decrease in the quality and security of our lives.
Fortunately, governments have begun to take measures to try to curb this growth that is so unprofitable for our planet. And, although these measures are insufficient, we would like to think that this is the beginning of a change in governmental mentality, in which our planet will be prioritised over economic growth and the continued exploitation of resources.
Examples are the European regulations concerning the ban on the use of plastics, the ban on the use of straws and the obligation to use disposable products in the catering sector. Or on a more global level, the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, which aim to improve the quality of life of our planet in order to preserve it as it deserves.
Although in the short term it may seem like a big structural change, there is evidence that in the long term it pays to invest in the circular economy. In the graphs below we can see that companies that invested in sustainable development grew more than companies that did not:
And it was even beneficial in times of crisis. Companies that have invested in the circular economy have withstood the COVID-19 crisis much better.
Beyond the economic and environmental context, we are at a time of collective awareness in which consumers have become more demanding with regard to the sustainability of the products and services they consume .
While it used to be an added value, the sustainability of products is now a must for many consumers. Taking into account the process and place of manufacture, the materials used, the company behind the product and the reusability of the product are factors that increasingly weigh more heavily in the purchasing decision.
The circular economy is based on the idea that everything that is produced - obviously in a sustainable way - also has a sustainable use and, at the same time, can be recycled/reused/repaired to re-enter the circle and the production stage. In this way, all stages of the economy are focused on both the sustainability of practices and their reuse and recycling.
This image shows the difference between the semi-circular economy - which generates a lot of waste and at the same time consumes non-renewable raw materials - and the circular economy, where everything is produced in a sustainable way and comes from renewable resources.
The role of design is crucial in the circular economy, as 80% of the environmental impacts of products occur in the design phase.
This means that a change of mentality in the business world is essential in order to carry out this change of model, which is so necessary for our planet.
If you are wondering...
By Marc Fabra Ferrer, Partner & Head of Industrial Design and Sustainability