Technology will be a key element of new business models based on circular criteria.
The following study, extracted from «Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage» (Lacy, Rutqvist, Lamonica, 2016, p. 197), describes how technology may act as a driver for the 5 pillars of Circular Economy.
Technology and Circular Economy 1
New business models offer companies powerful options for embracing the circular economy. But it would not be possible to scale many of these business models without the support of innovative technologies. Digital innovations in social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication are especially effective in connecting physical and digital channels, and in connecting people with the internet of things.
Just think of the Sharing Platform business model (e.g., car sharing or asset sharing in industry) and the Product Life-Extension model (e.g., maintenance, repair, and remarketing). These are not new concepts, but where traditionally information costs, manual labor requirements and collaboration hurdles created barriers to scale, technology is now razing them. Sharing consumer goods or manufacturing tools historically required customized solutions and lots of manual work to exchange information, schedule handovers, track the position and status of goods, and so on.
Circular economy leaders are powering their success with 10 disruptive technologies that fall into three categories: digital (information technology), engineering (physical technology), and hybrid (a blend of the two). These technologies are unlocking powerful new ways for companies to not only build and run more resource-productive supply chains but also connect with customers more broadly and deeply than ever before.
Read the excerpt “Digital, engineering and hybrid technologies”.
Source: 1 Peter Lacy, Jacob Rutqvist, Beatrice Lamonica, "Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage", EGEA, 2016.