20 January 2016, Davos, Switzerland: Selected from an impressive group of more than 200 entrants, the U.S. Materials Marketplace was recognized with a prestigious “Circulars” Award at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual meeting. The Circulars, the world’s premier circular economy award program, is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Accenture and recognize individuals and organizations from commerce and civil society that have made a notable contribution to driving circular economy principles – where growth doesn’t depend on the use of scarce natural resources.
Awarded the BT Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor, the Materials Marketplace is a joint project of three business organizations that together represent hundreds of companies worldwide: the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Andy Mangan, Co-founder and Executive Director of the US BCSD, and Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD accepted the award yesterday evening at an event in the UN World Food Programme Tent.
“While materials matching has been tried many times before, several developments make now a good time for tipping it toward normal business practices,” said Mangan, who has decades of experience working with businesses on sustainable materials management. “These include the growing corporate buy-in, the evolving sophistication of intelligent software and the momentum for climate change solutions coming out of the Paris Agreement.”
Participants in the Marketplace work with materials experts to comb through an online database seeking ways to reuse or exchange unwanted materials, from textile scraps to hydrochloric acid to off-spec wood flooring. Companies not only save money as they acquire cheaper raw materials and dispose of less waste, but also use significantly less energy and emit lower levels of greenhouse gases.
MR Rangaswami, Founder of the Corporate Eco Forum, praised the companies who led the charge: “The Materials Marketplace is an amazing example of what companies can do when they collaborate. The pioneering companies who sparked this initiative have paved the way for hopefully hundreds of more companies to reduce their footprints and move toward more circular business models.”
The Marketplace is developing a tiered cooperative model that would allow for big and small marketplaces to share their outcomes. As other countries implement their own marketplace programs, this co-op structure would connect them while allowing participants to retain control and ownership of their country’s data and activities. WBCSD’s Global Network, comprising of 70 national business councils would help facilitate the expansion.
Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD, sees enormous promise in the Materials Marketplace model: “Business has a critical role in making the transition to a sustainable and thriving economy. New business models based on the principles of circular economy will accelerate this shift allowing companies that use them to capitalize on new economic opportunities. The Materials Marketplace is a clear demonstration of this potential as it turns waste into an engine for creating value. With support from WBCSD’s Global Network, we will work towards replicating this model around the world.”
Founding companies in the Marketplace include Alcoa, Armstrong World Industries, BASF, CH2M, Dow Chemical, Essroc, Fairmount Santrol, Goodyear, Greif, LafargeHolcim, Novelis, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Swisstrax, Tetra Pak, Veolia and Waste Management. The project was co-championed by Nike and GM.
For more information visit thecirculars.org