In February, the U.K.-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) announced the launch of a U.S. network to run in parallel with the Foundation’s successful international Circular Economy 100 (CE100) programme. Today, the CE100 USA network of business leaders, academics, innovators, policymakers and city authorities who aim to develop and act on circular economy opportunities held their launch workshop in San Francisco.
Alongside the launch workshop, the organization announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is joining both the international CE100 network and the CE100 USA ‘satellite network’ as a new member. The senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart, Laura Phillips, said that the company hopes to better engage suppliers and customers in circular practices through its participation in the networks.
Both SunPower and Tarkett, existing members of the international CE 100 network, have chosen to additionally join the CE100 USA network.
“Transforming business and industry in order to generate growth while having a positive impact is becoming a priority, and shifting to a circular economy is a profitable, effective way of achieving that goal,” SunPower COO Marty Neese said.
“At SunPower, we are the first and only company to offer solar solutions that are as sustainable as the energy they produce by manufacturing Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver solar panels in facilities that are landfill-free and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with influential organizations as a member of the international Circular Economy 100, and now here in the U.S. as a member of the CE100 USA, to create a truly regenerative economy.”
Tarkett North America President Glen Morrison said, “Tarkett is fully committed to the circular economy model and as such is proud to work with the Ellen McArthur Foundation in Europe and now in North America.
"We hope to meet and network with like-minded companies in North America and fully engage in conversations around this new approach to business. It is an exciting journey that Tarkett started in 2011 and will continue to develop in the years to come.”
The EMF says that the pre-competitive, collaborative nature of the platform gives members access to insights to help them overcome local challenges, and to explore circular opportunities, which they might not be able to capture in isolation. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with the EMF and Trucost reinforced that turning waste into resources presents economic opportunities for American businesses. Among the findings, they determined that on average, companies generate 7.81 metric tons of waste for every million dollars in revenue, and if the 5,589 companies in the study reduced paper waste by 1 percent, it would save them nearly $1 billion.
One of the circular economy technologies featured at today’s event was green building material ECOR by CE100 member Noble Environmental Technologies. In an e-mail to Sustainable Brands, a company spokesperson wrote that the product enables “turn-key closed-loop solutions for commercial and government enterprises. ECOR building materials and products have a true competitive advantage: light weight, high performance, clean (VOC-free), green (up to 100% recycled + recyclable) and lower-total cost.” The Cradle to Cradle-certified material has been used in Walmart end-cap displays.
A second workshop, which will build on today’s event, will take place in New York in September 2016.