Mobility and the circular economy

Reinventing the wheel - innovation in the circular economy



In May, during Movin’On, the World Summit on Sustainable Mobility,  we will bring global, smart, sustainable and multimodal mobility to life. Following a memorable 2017 edition, leaders from academia, politics, business, cities, and start-ups will meet again and collaborate to attain this ambitious goal.

Through six subject areas, we will find concrete and actionable solutions to fulfill our mission : to move from ambition to action.

Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started about our fifth subject of interest : Mobility at the time of circular economy

The traditional economy has long been a linear system of make, take, dispose. The “circular economy” supports production cycles that minimize waste using metrics to reduce materials and increase recycling, reuse and repair once objects are produced. The concept is inspired by the biosphere itself – a regenerative system that minimizes resource input and energy leakage by slowing, closing and shrinking material and energy loops.

It is undeniable that the ecological footprint of mobility is substantial. How can the transport industry embed circular economy thinking and methodologies in its business model and strategies?

Jacques Deschamps, Director of regional action at Ademe, believes that ‘’there’s no magic recipe or pre-fabricated model for the circular economy, but seven pillars to rely on.’’ In a nutshell, they are: sustainable development, eco-design, industrial ecology, functional economy, responsible consumption, longer use, recycling and waste recovery. Circular mobility initiatives may be applied to transportation practices by moving from a product to a service model to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.

As a successful example of an innovative “product” perspective, GM has integrated waste as a large link in its supply chain. In 2016, they added 23 new sites to their zero-landfill tally, bringing the total to 152 zero-landfill worksites worldwide. With initiatives like using recycled water bottles to create engine cover insulation and turning ties recovered from the Mississippi River into car parts, the company has outpaced its own initial sustainability projections.

When it comes to mobility as a service,  Michelin Fleet Solutions are operating a customized tire leasing program for transit vehicles and any type of trucking fleet. The tire manufacturer offers a “pay by the mile” service to reduce emissions and accidents, save fuel and keep an operator’s vehicles running.

What other tangible, measurable initiatives could be used to reduce the carbon footprint of transport? Let’s continue this conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Mobility and circular economy : an introduction

You will find our Movin’On Minutes 2017 sourcebook to be a treasure trove of relevant and fascinating articles on this theme: :

Putting an end to planned obsolescence

For further reading

Explore some of the existing research and applicable initiatives :

Circular economy could bring 70 percent cut in carbon emission by 2030 – The Guardian