1. Sustainability leaders debate the wonders of waste
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    Sustainability leaders debate the wonders of waste

    November 05, 2016
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    Sustainability leaders debate the wonders of waste

    3M’s strategic planner and sustainability lead, Andrew Hicks, shared a stage with representatives from BMW, Fujitsu, Veolia and the University of Cambridge for a lively panel debate that explored how industry can release £4 billion in the hidden value of waste.

    Sustainability leaders debate the wonders of waste

    3M’s strategic planner and sustainability lead, Andrew Hicks, shared a stage with representatives from BMW, Fujitsu, Veolia and the University of Cambridge for a lively panel debate that explored how industry can release £4 billion in the hidden value of waste.

    Sustainability leaders debate the wonders of waste

    3M’s strategic planner and sustainability lead, Andrew Hicks, shared a stage with representatives from BMW, Fujitsu, Veolia and the University of Cambridge for a lively panel debate that explored how industry can release £4 billion in the hidden value of waste.

    • Imagine 2050

      The debate, held at the Hospital Club in central London on 2 November, was hosted by leading resource management company Veolia to mark the publication of Imagine 2050. This insightful report explores the innovative new business models that need to be adopted by the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and chemical and food and beverage industries to meet future resource and waste challenges.

      Patrick O'Meara, membership director of Business in the Community, compered the debate that highlighted a number of innovative solutions. These included using precious metals recovered from obsolete pharmaceuticals to create platinum rings; using ice-cream production waste to power homes; and using robotics to improve TV recycling.

      Introducing himself and 3M, Andrew said: “As, predominantly, a manufacturing company, we have been focusing our efforts on reducing waste and energy use for more than 40 years. As well as reducing the impact of our factories on the environment, we also make sure that the products we introduce to the supply chain are as recyclable and re-usable as possible at end of life.

      “We also help other companies innovate to reduce their impact on the environment, for example supplying Novec™ fluids for various applications as a more sustainable alternative to traditional chemicals.”

      Fujitsu’s senior vice-president and head of Business Applications Services, Ravi Krishnamoorthi, then spoke about how his company makes laptops that are 90 per cent recyclable; uses waste tarpaulin to make laptop bags; and keeps bees at its offices in Bracknell, selling the honey to make money for charity.

      In his introduction, director of Research at the University of Cambridge, Dr Steve Evans, spoke about the importance of increasing efficiencies as well as reducing waste and highlighted the need for a shift in core business models to enable companies to innovate and grow.

      Questions came from the audience, made up of business leaders and journalists, as well as via Twitter.

      When asked if cross-sector collaboration is the answer to creating a circular economy, Thomas Sherifi, Environmental programmes manager at BMW, said that the car manufacturer relies on external partners to help it turn waste into a resource.

      Andrew added that not-for-profit companies can play a key role acting as brokers to develop sustainable solutions and spoke about how 3M also collaborates with the world of academia to develop new ideas.

      Another area of debate was stemming the tide of consumer demand for the latest products. A number of ideas were discussed, including leasing instead of owning everything from cars and mobile phones to houses and personalising clothing to encourage people to own fewer items of more value to them.

      Closing the debate, Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president of Veolia UK and Ireland said: “Companies like ours can help connect the dots on a small scale, but we need to look at the bigger picture and encourage organisations and policy makers to find the right solutions for the future.”

      Download the Imagine 2050 report

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