Circular Economy

Bestsellers investment portfolio hints at significant changes in its business model after it invests in Circular Systems, Nature Coatings, Evrnu, and Infinited Fiber.

Infinited Fibre’s technology can turn any cellulose-rich material – like old clothes, used carboard, or agricultural waste like straw – into a unique, biodegradable, and re-recyclable soft fiber with a natural look and feel.

Circular Systems S.P.C. is a materials science company focused on the development of innovative circular and regenerative technologies, transforming waste into valuable fiber, yarn, and textile fabrics for the fashion industry. The fibres and materials it produces include Agraloop BioFibre (leftovers from food and medicine crops made into fibres), Orbital Hybrid Yarn (natural-fibre-rich performance with organic and recycled fibres), and Texloop Recycling (made from textile waste).

Nature Coatings transforms wood waste into high performing black pigments. The wood waste is sourced from sustainable FSC certified forests. Our manufacturing process is closed-loop and a circular system. No external energy is required to run the equipment, and our process does not emit any CO2 or other greenhouse gases. Nature Coatings’ pigments are designed for industry.

Evrnu technologies are used to create engineered fibers with extraordinary performance and environmental advantages, made from discarded clothing. NuCycl Technologies by Evrnu include: Regenerative Cellulosics, Next generation regenerative Cellulosic solvent systems, Regenerative Polyester, Recoverable Stretch and Bio Engineered Fibers.

Jobs and Skills

Technology acceleration and climate targets are contributing to a massive skill gap

While we took almost 450 years to move from creating the printing press to the car, we have created a quantum computer in fifty years from the time the first microprocessor was made in 1971. Rapid changes in technology have only accelerated since the pandemic started and as a consequence we are seeing a huge skill gap in today’s workforce. By the time people learn a new technology a new variant or something totally revolutionary has come along.

Technology changes however are not the only contributor. The new global report, entitled ‘Skills for a Greener Future’, covers thirty-two countries which together account for 63 per cent of world employment, 65 per cent of global GDP and 63 per cent of CO2 emissions. This new edition presents an expanded qualitative analysis and quantitative estimates of occupational skills needed for a low carbon economy. The findings are similar to those of others and highlight a huge gap in skills at almost every aspect.

We need a transformation that involves, learners, teachers, new content and new institutions to adapt to the new skills needs for the Digital and Green economy we are seeking to create.

  • Learners (young and old) and even corporate teams need a new set of skills and new courseware that is relevant
  • Teachers themselves need to be reskilled even as they deliver something very different for a new world
  • Content is needed for a new way of learning and discovery for the new world of jobs. This also includes content and processes that are cloud-first. Further, all this needs to be done keeping in mind the new technologies that are emerging and the new types of content that can be created using them.
  • New / Redesigned Institutions are needed where new digital and sustainability journeys need to be mapped and studied.

These efforts, however, need to be supplemented with new opportunities such as green jobs. A report from WEF and the New Nature Economy project says that tackling the global nature crisis could create 400 million jobs and $10 trillion (£8 trillion) in business value each year by 2030.

Circular Economy

Plastic can be found in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat

The average person consumes about 5 grams of plastic every week – that’s the equivalent of a credit card. Started by WWF-Singapore and based on WWF’s No Plastic in Nature Initiative, Plastic ACTion (PACT) is a business initiative that aims to eliminate plastic pollution in nature and move towards a circular economy on plastics. It recognises the integral role that businesses play to solve the issues of unnecessary use of plastics and plastic pollution. PACT provides businesses with guidance, life cycle assessments, resources and best practices, enabling them to make science-based decisions to reduce their plastic footprint.

Businesses can join via two main approaches – sectoral collaboration and individual company commitments. The initiative also has an Alternative Materials Tool that guides businesses towards single-use packaging materials with a lower environmental footprint, without transferring the environmental cost to another system. It provides a precise ranking of alternative materials and allows material comparisons.

Using lifecycle environmental data from Ecoinvent and other scientific literature, over two dozen materials commonly used for packaging have been analysed. The environmental impacts calculated cover raw material extraction, manufacturing, and the impacts of waste treatment in the country of disposal, currently Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

Circular Economy

The four-seat BMW i Vision Circular will be a compact, all-electric vehicle for the year 2040 focused on sustainability and luxury

This Vision Vehicle has been designed according to circular economy principles. The aim is to achieve 100% recycled materials use/ 100% recyclability.

BATTERY

The all-solid-state battery in the BMW i Vision Circular is 100 per cent recyclable and manufactured almost entirely using materials from the recycling loop. It will achieve much higher energy density with significantly reduced use of the most valuable resources.

RECYCLED MATERIALS

When it comes to the materials used, the focus with the BMW i Vision Circular is on recycled materials (“secondary first” principle) which can be disassembled quickly and easily at the end of the product life cycle.

DISASSEMBLY

The deliberate spotlight on disassembly is therefore an important aspect. The quick-release fastener for the wheels, seats and instrument panel, and a cord tie in the rear seat bench do most to showcase the detachability of material connections in aesthetically appealing form, creating a “joyful fusion”.

FEWER MATERIALS and MINIMIZING WASTE

  • Mono-materials and clever new joining techniques for them which avoid the use of glue ensure optimum suitability for dismantling and sorting at a later stage. In order to minimise the amount of waste and offcuts, all components and materials will be manufactured to fit exactly using processes such as 3D printing. Any surplus material will be systematically fed back into the materials cycle.
  • At the front end, the kidneys and headlights have been newly interpreted as a digital surface. In the future, digital design could make geometric variations in lights and bumpers redundant, helping to reduce the quantity of materials and tools required.
  • Instead of additive trim elements, or badging of the sort currently used to signify quality, the brand logo is engraved on the front end and the vehicle badge is lasered on to avoid using extra add-on parts.

TYRES and WHEELS

  • The slightly transparent tires are made from certified, sustainably cultivated natural rubber. Coloured, recycled rubber particles are added to the tyre compound for strengthening and create an intriguing terrazzo effect which purposefully highlights the reuse of materials.
  • The wheel rims are designed for minimal materials use. Rim centres with maximum permeability provide brake cooling, while the more enclosed surfaces to the outer reaches of the wheels ensure the greatest possible aerodynamic efficiency.

DATA

  • Another key measure in the drive towards sustainable urban mobility in- volves making intelligent use of the available real-time and long-term traffic data in order to maximise efficiency. If the sensor data and information gathered by the individual vehicles is shared with the entire fleet (with the users’ consent), all vehicles will benefit from the resulting swarm intelli- gence.
  • Speed recommendations could be optimised to make better use of traffic light phases (“green wave”), traffic flows forecasted more accurately and periods of congestion minimised as a result of vehicles communicating with each other and with their environment. CO2 emissions caused by stop-start traffic or even searching for a parking spot would be reduced significantly across a large number of users.

Circular Economy

Leather without animals!

Mylo™️ is a material innovation by Bolt Threads and is a verified vegan, sustainable, animal-free leather alternative made from mycelium – the infinitely renewable underground root system of fungi.The Stella McCartney Frayme is the world’s first bag made from Mylo™️ to be part of a runway show. Titled the Frayme Mylo™️, it was launched during the sustainable luxury pioneer’s Summer 2022 collection presentation on 4 October during Paris Fashion Week.

Stella and Bolt Threads have been partners in sustainable innovation since 2017, and the luxury house has been part of the Mylo™️ journey since its inception. Combining deep science with high-fashion design, the Frayme Mylo™️ showcases the capabilities of this next-generation material and is the first of many anticipated commercial offerings. The Frayme bag is a new Stella icon – a bold vegan style re-energising classic brand codes inspired by the iconic Falabella tote including an oversized recyclable aluminium chain strap that runs around the bag as well as a zamac statement medallion.

McCartney is part of the Mylo Consortium, that includes Adidas, Lululemon, and Kering—a major fashion group that just ditched fur and manages the development of brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and more. Last spring, Adidas released a concept Stan Smith sneaker made with Mylo that built on the athletic brand’s recent release of the vegan leather versions of its classic sneakers. Adidas also plans to make a commercial version of its mushroom leather-based Stan Smiths in coming months.

While all vegan leather beats out animal hides in terms of animal cruelty, new plant-based vegan leathers are being developed from a variety of sources to replace environmentally damaging polyurethane. Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez developed Desserto from cactus leaves and the innovative vegan leather is now making its way into the fashion world in the form of Fossil tote bags; a reimagined vegan version of of Karl Lagerfeld’s classic K/Kushion bag; and even as vegan leather boxing gloves by athletic brand Sanabul.

In Italy, the wine industry is getting a sustainable makeover thanks to Vegea, which makes vegan leather with its grape byproducts. This luxurious plant-based leather has been featured by several brands, including H&M which debuted a collection of shoes and handbags made with the innovative “wine leather” last year.

Luxury brand Gucci recently went deep into the world of vegan leather by creating Demetra, a new material made from wood pulp. Developed over the course of two years, Gucci’s Demetra is made from 77-percent plant-based raw materials, including wood pulp and viscose, and is tanned in the way leather would be but without animal cruelty or environmental harm. In June, Gucci released three sneaker styles (Basket, New Ace, and Rhyton) to showcase Demetra. 

Circular Economy

Wind turbine blades as bike shelters

Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, wind turbine blades can’t easily be crushed, recycled or repurposed.
As wind turbines age, thousands of blades are coming down from wind towers around the world and most have nowhere to go but landfills. A study conducted by the University of Cambridge estimated that 43 million tonnes of wind turbine blade waste will be generated by 2050, most of which will be disposed of in landfills. China is expected to hold 40 per cent of the world’s waste; Europe 25 per cent; the United States 16 per cent; and the rest of the world 19 per cent.

Europe will decommission 25,000 tonnes of blades a year by 2025, and 52,000 tonnes a year by 2030. WindEurope, an association based in Brussels that promotes the use of wind power in Europe, has called on landfills to ban decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2025.

But all is not lost. Creative ways to reuse wind turbine blades are being found. Denmark Is Cleverly Repurposing Old Wind Turbine Blades as Bike Shelters. Since 90% of Danes owns a bike, bike lockup shelters are a much needed feature of the Danish city and townscape. Advocacy group Re-Wind Network looking at how the rigid blades can successfully be deployed in a wide variety of construction and infrastructure projects, from the aforementioned bike shelters which they constructed in Aalborg, to structural reinforcement, pedestrian footbridges, and traffic guard rails.

Innovation

If EV’s are the answer, modern electrical grids need to be part of the equation

The explosion of new technologies—like electric vehicles, rooftop solar panels, energy storage and advanced metering infrastructure—promise a more efficient, reliable and resilient energy future. However, the most important element to achieving a lower carbon future is the electricity grid. To deploy emerging energy technologies at scale, the grid needs to undergo a transition, shifting its power supply away from higher-emission resources, like coal, to ones that produce fewer emissions, like renewables.

India’s tremendous growth in renewable energy capacity over the last three years has been enabled by the continued evidence of near record low solar and wind power tariffs and speed of development that has set the nation on a clear and achievable path towards its renewable energy target of 275 gigawatts (GW) by 2026/27.
A key prerequisite to continuing India’s renewable energy investment ambitions is the need to concurrently build out and modernise India’s national transmission grid. Significant infrastructure upgrades will be required to address the needs of an evolving energy network. This includes upgrading existing transmission lines to incorporate distributed energy resources and building new lines to improve wholesale market operations, increase resilience and bring energy from remote renewable resources to population centers.

Given India’s geographic spread of renewable rich states on the western and southern coasts, inter-regional transmission capacity for transmitting power from energy surplus states to deficit states will be needed, as well as better load balancing capacity.

Financial Markets

Materiality issues don’t remain static

Materiality issues don’t remain static. They are constantly evolving. The concept of double materiality takes this notion one step further: it is not just climate-related impacts on the company that can be material but also impacts of a company on the climate – or any other dimension of sustainability, for that matter (often subsumed under the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, label).

This notion of materiality is already embedded in the EU’s new sustainable finance disclosure regime for financial firms and corporates. In 2021 Siemens updated their materiality assessment focusing on Siemens businesses Smart Infrastructure, Digital Industries as well as Mobility.

How Siemens identified and assessed material and high priority issues:

Outside-in perspective:

Sustainability issues that are associated with opportunities or risks for the course of business, the annual financial statements or the situation of the company (business criticality). The top three material issues that have the greatest impact on Siemens and the generation of long-term value are climate action, sustainable product design and lifecycle management as well as social and environmental standards in the supply chain.

Inside-out perspective:

Sustainability issues on which the company’s business activities, business relationships, and products and services are likely to have either a positive or negative impact (sustainability relevance). The top three material issues where Siemens has the greatest impact on society and environment at large are climate action, social and environmental standards in the supply chain, cyber security and data management, sustainable product design and lifecycle management as well as partner management and collaboration.

Stakeholder perspective:

Sustainability issues that are defined as material by key external stakeholders – such as customers, investors, suppliers, politics and NGOs – and internal stakeholders (stakeholder relevance).

Green Companies

Renewable energy projects are not zero emission

Net Zero cannot be achieved through ‘greening’ the entire energy system at its current output nor by offsetting emissions at their current rate of increase. Absolute emissions must be reduced.

We need to do three things to bring about transformative changes; think in terms of systems, highlight expertise and build trust.

Thinking in systems was largely the responsibility of government or public policy experts. Though now with the entire world in a flux, decision making in business around the simplest of things has become a complex task. Systems thinking helps break things down and at the same time helps look at the many interconnected parts.

At the same time, people are also looking for magical solutions and quick fixes that will solve everything. But, magical solutions mostly only exist on fairy tales. To get better we go to doctors. To fix a car we go to a car mechanic. For help with on a tricky piece of code we go to someone who knows the software. Belief in expertise and trusted advice helps in solving problems, making changes and finding solutions.

Why is this important? Because for anyone to be truly sustainable—a multifaceted, multidimensional, scientific approach is needed and most importantly, we need to trust the experts and the scientists to solve problems.