Part 2: Additional cases and their practical application
EU4Environment continues supporting the instruction of professionals and entrepreneurs on the practices of Circular Economy by hosting a second online specialized training in Armenia.
The UNIDO-led training is divided into two parts and focuses on harnessing circular economy principles and systems-based approaches to explore ways in which entrepreneurs and professionals can redesign their business systems, products, and services, to contribute to the transition from a linear to a circular economy.
The first part of the training took place on 5 October 2021 and considered aspects of legislation and company examples. The second part, scheduled on 26 October 2021, delved into additional cases on Circular Economy, and their practical application. Group activities on the development of circular strategy for one Armenian company (smart material choices, embedding intelligence, product extension life, modularity, and closed loops/recycling) were also envisioned within the group activities.
Overall training objectives were:
- To understand the concept and principles of Circular Economy and their potential beyond recycling.
- To explain the importance of circular practices by showcasing a circular business model.
- To apply different models of circularity for products and services in real life cases (group work on developing a circular strategy for one Armenian company).
- To discuss lessons learned, applicable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Armenia (opportunities, challenges, and barriers).
By large, today’s manufacturing systems are linear, in the sense that they take raw materials from the environment and turn them into new products, which, after fulfilling their purpose, are discarded into the environment. Such systems are no longer adequate to sustain businesses, people, nor the environment. Moreover, economic growth is primarily dependent on an increased resource consumption. As populations grow and the negative environmental impact of resource extraction and usage continues, the linear take-make-waste model reaches its limits. By contrast, in a circular model, products, processes, and materials are undertaking a restorative and regenerative direction to keep their highest utility and value.
Hence, Circular Economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economic model, because resources are kept in use for as long as possible; a maximum value is extracted from them, and waste is relocated from the end of the supply chain to the beginning (giving the used materials a new life). For industries, the transition to a Circular Economy starts from a resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) path in which they increase their competitiveness while protecting the environment.
This online training was organized within the European Union funded EU4Environment Action, as part of the work implemented by UNIDO under the Result 2 “Circular Economy and New Growth Opportunities”. It aimed to embark the participants on a theoretical, practical, and case study learning experience to illustrate and support the concept of Circular Economy. Hence, it is designed to be practice-based, with concrete examples of companies benefitting from circularity. The participants also had the opportunity to engage in exercises, quizzes and discussions at the end of both sessions.