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World-leading sustainability experts convene at UCA Epsom

World-leading sustainability experts from across the globe have convened at our Epsom campus this week for an international conference that includes the launch of a new framework designed to encourage organisations to adopt circular economy business models, supporting the reduction of waste and pollution.

The Sustainable Innovation 2016 Conference, hosted by The Centre for Sustainable Design (CfSD) at UCA, welcomed 50 speakers to the two-day event, including from the European Commission, HP, I-Fixit, Bureo, World Animal Protection and the Marine Conservation Society. One of the conference’s main highlights was the BS8001 Framework for implementing circular economy principles in organisations, which launched for public discussion during the conference and outlines how organisations can adopt circular economy business models in order to better protect the planet.

Professor Martin Charter, Director of CfSD at UCA and part of the team that wrote BS8001, said: “There are significant advantages to UK businesses through the move to a circular economy, as well as clear benefits for the environment. Through these new guidelines, we hope to encourage organisations to establish a culture where resources are used efficiently and overall waste is reduced, which in turn contributes to a low carbon economy.

“BS8001 is the first standard in the world to provide guidance on how to implement circular economy principles in organisations. It’s not just about supporting businesses to develop or improve their processes, products or services, it’s about encouraging an organisation-wide shift that benefits everyone.”

Examples of circular economy business models include producing products on demand; designing products to be durable for longer periods of time; creating modular designs so that only components are updated as opposed to the whole item; refurbishing and reconditioning products; lease agreements and sharing resources.

“It has been great to be involved with the team in the intensive process of writing the documentation,” Prof Charter adds. “I think the guidance will be useful to organisations in the transition from linear to more circular approaches, with the ultimate goal being to minimize raw material consumption and reduce landfill.”