Industry giants create a great circular opportunity

Don’t let it go to waste.
In Q4 of 2019 Unilever said it plans to halve its use of virgin plastic by creating greener versions of its household products. A shift to become a more sustainable company. Which is great news for a company such as Unilever, but especially for our planet. After all, this announcement follows the updates by other industry giants like Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble and Nestle.
Alan Jope’s (CEO Unilever) announcement follows updates by other companies. Coca Cola has said that it will double the amount of recycled plastic it uses in the 200.000 bottles it makes every single minute by 2020. Nestle announced that it would phase out all non-recyclable plastics from its wrappers by 2025 and Procter & Gamble said earlier this year, that it planned to halve the amount of plastic it used by 2030.
These industry giants are setting hard targets to become more circular, which is great news. But as we look at interviews and CSR reports, it seems they are developing circular solutions all on their own. Whilst this will lead to a great reduce of waste for leading brands, other companies will not so much profit from these innovations and circular solutions.
Don’t work in silos.
All the announcements and targets tell us that the companies see the societal and financial benefits of working towards a circular economy. At its core, a circular economy is about designing and manufacturing products and materials that have continuous and infinite life cycles. Looking at the recent announcement, it feels like we are getting there.
Globally, replacing just 20% of single-use plastic packaging with reusable alternatives offers an opportunity worth at least USD 10 billion. Reuse models can bring major user and business benefits including superior user experiences, user insights, brand loyalty, and cost savings. It makes sense to shift from a sustainable to a circular industry where greener solutions ae not only beneficial for the planet but also for business.
But while Unilever, Nestle of Coca Cola are profiting from their new directions, other companies are still looking for ways to become circular and reduce their waste. Sharing knowledge and solutions will keep up the pace in big industries such as FMCG. And its only then that we can make big steps towards a full circular economy. Let us all make sure that we don’t let this opportunity go to waste.