Advantages of the circular economyThe circular economy is a restorative and regenerative economy. By maintaining the value of the products, materials and resources in the economy through smart product design, repurposing and/or shared use of products, it reduces the extraction of natural resources by using resources already present in the economy. applied to retail
The circular economy offers several advantages for the retail industry:
- Cost reduction: the circular economy reduces costs linked to the use of raw materials, manufacturing, and waste management. By prioritising reuseReuse designates all operations by which substances, materials or products that are not waste are used again in an identical way to their originally intended purpose., recyclingAny recovery operation through which waste, including organic waste, is reprocessed to become substances, materials or products that can be used for their initial function or other functions. and recovery of end-of-life products, the industry can optimise the use of resources and reduce its costs.
- Improving customer relationships: customers are increasingly sensitive to social and environmental issues in their consumption choices. The circular economy can improve the relationship with its customers and come closer to them by offering more sustainable products and services.
- New sales opportunities: the circular economy offers new sales opportunities by proposing innovative solutions such as rental, repairRepair is making a faulty product work again, allowing its use to be extended without the user parting with it, or with a view to reuse (donation, second-hand sale)., reconditioning or even the sale of second-hand products.
- Improving supply chain management: the circular economy can improve supply chain management by prioritising product transparency and traceabilityTraceability is the capacity to follow a product throughout the chain, from the supply of raw materials through manufacture and consumption to scrapping, in order to clarify when, where and by whom the product was made., reducing the risks associated with sourcing raw materials and optimising stock management.
Tailored circular strategies
The retail industry can integrate the circular economy into its activities using different strategies. In terms of input, the retail industry can offer products that meet ecological design criteria, fair and sustainable trade products, local products, or even products sold in bulk to reduce packaging and encourage the reuse of products and components.
The retail industry can also integrate reverse logisticsReverse logistics means supply chains dedicated to the reverse flow of products and materials for the purposes of maintenance, repair, repurposing, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling, or regeneration of natural systems. systems to recover end-of-life products and give them a new lease of life (returns, repair, resale, recycling) or promote economic models based on usage rather than possession (rental, membership, service).
By adopting these different strategies, the retail industry can contribute to the transition towards a circular economy, reduce its environmental impact and promote a sustainable and responsible economic model.
Find out more
Read the roadmap on corporate social responsibility of the retail and service industry (Comeos.be) [in French and Dutch]