Typically, companies do everything they can to reduce their impact on the environment (ecological footprint) as much as possible - a "zero-emission" or "free-from" strategy is targeted. But it shouldn’t be about being less bad, but instead about setting positive goals. That means that for the roadmap of a company the starting point is not important, as long as the company is on its way to a positive, eco-effective goal.
A new agenda is needed to achieve positive economic, social and environmental impacts. This requires a new way of thinking in the management and the relationship with business partners along the entire value chain. Increased transparency can encourage customers at the end of the value chain to purchase high-quality products and thereby promote the company's development towards a complete paradigm shift.
For companies, that have set themselves a goal towards an eco-effective business model, the three Cradle to Cradle® principles form the basis:
Waste equals Food
In nature the processes of every organism involved in a living system contribute to the health of the whole. The blossoms of a tree fall to the ground where they are degraded and become food for other organisms. Microbes, for example, feed on the organic "waste" and once again deposit nutrients in the ground, which again benefit the tree. The "waste" of one organism is food for another. The creation of nutrient cycles for the industrialized world, in which garbage is no longer present, is an integral part of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept.
Use of renewable energies
The first industrial revolution drew its energy mainly from the reservoir of the past; it used fossil fuels that had been created millions of years before. Atomic energy is burdening the future on mortgages and creates high-risk commitments for many future generations. Systems powered by solar energy, however, use the energy of today without a long-term impact on our children's future. The construction of products and systems can use the natural energy of the sun productively and in a variety of ways. The direct capture of the solar energy is only one possibility. The wind power, generated by thermal as a result of sunlight, hydropower and the use of biomass are other sources of energy.
Natural systems work and thrive through complexity. Compared with the standard solutions of the industrial revolution and the linear uniformity, which is so appreciated in globalization, nature promotes an infinite variety. The production of goods must be reflected in a variety of approaches. In the sense of Cradle to Cradle the support of diversity means to take the living systems of this earth as a model and get inspired by it.
EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung has set itself the goal of promoting the paradigm shift together with companies and supporting them on their way to an eco-effective business model. In doing so, the right goals must be set at both product and company level in order to benefit from the added value of a Circular Economy in the long run.
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