SAP Blog Sustainability Innovations and Building the Circular Economy

An important topic focused on sustainability along the value chain was discussed in a recent cross-industry panel at the SAP Conference for Building Materials, Forest Products, Chemicals and Metals and Mining 2021.  The conversation included thought leaders across various industries to discuss specifically how businesses can continue to be successful yet stay within the planetary boundaries.  Fundamentally, industries such as steel, cement, plastics, mining, packaging and textiles, etc. are responsible for tremendous growth but also for high global CO2 emissions.  These industries are playing a major role in changing the take, make, waste industrial system and transforming it into something more sustainable, thus aiming to create a closed loop low carbon system in the circular economy.

Progress creating a closed-loop, low carbon system

There is a high degree of collaboration taking place upstream across suppliers between industries.  With this industrial symbiosis occurring, we are seeing a move away from the traditional supply chain and a look toward neighboring industries, understanding waste streams and looking at new ways to share plus determining opportunities for one industry to benefit another.  Local partners & networks are critical when it comes to sustainability and making large strides toward the ultimate net zero carbon goal.

For example, Audi is supporting the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative that involves multiple stakeholders including expertise upstream from mining industries down to automotive manufacturers at the end of the value chain.  Due to the nature of the parts creation process, 50% of the aluminum becomes scrap, however that waste now goes directly back to the supplier and is remelted and reused.

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