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Palgrave Macmillan

Waste to Wealth

The Circular Economy Advantage

  • Book
  • © 2015


  • The new buzz phrase in sustainability – now on same path as Sharing economy on Google trends, started later but rising faster
  • This book provides a comprehensive and insightful introduction to this new type of business model

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. The Case for the Circular Economy

  2. Five New Business Models for Circular Growth

  3. Creating Circular Advantage

  4. Starting Now


About this book

Waste to Wealth proves that 'green' and 'growth' need not be binary alternatives. The book examines five new business models that provide circular growth from deploying sustainable resources to the sharing economy before setting out what business leaders need to do to implement the models successfully.


'As Waste to Wealth shows with case studies of leading companies across industries, the circular economy model works increasingly well for our customers and for us. You have to shed your old habits and put in the initial effort to change, but it makes so much sense. We can engineer products for a longer usage, we can recoup the residual value once the economic life is over. The customer is foremost interested in the benefit of our products, so why not only sell them the benefit as a service, while we retain ownership and operate the technology. And what about you?'

- Frans van Houten, CEO, Royal Philips

'Circular economy, circular responsibility, circular advantage. So simple, yet so powerful. This book is a practical contribution to future-proof your business models in an increasingly resource-constrained world. Not hard to see that in the age of transparency, citizens of this world will demand this from all companies seeking a license to operate. Time to get on with it.'

- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

'We need to face it: in order to make our economic system really sustainable, it is inevitable that we redesign it. This book shows the steps we can make. We will need to switch from a Linear to a Circular Economy. This means much more than recycling. The Circular Economy is about new ways of creating value via innovation and new business models.'

- Feike Sijbesma, CEO, Royal DSM

'Waste to Wealth captures the spirit of one of today's most significant business trends: the circular economy. Lacy and Rutqvist approach the topic in a straightforward and practical manner, underlining that the linear take-make-waste model is (or should be) on its way towards extinction. They clearly set out the need to unleash the true value and potential of materials, whether in their beginning-of-life, utilization, or end-of-initial-life phases. This approach has also inspired our work in the Carlsberg Circular Community, and I believe that any company pursuing sustainable growth can find valuable inspiration in this book.'

- Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, President & CEO, Carlsberg

'We already use more resources than the planet is capable of regenerating so we have to find ways to utilize less energy, water, materials, and resources in general. In the chemical industry we are searching for ways to close product life cycles, whether at the outset (by using renewable sources), or at the end (by using recyclable materials). We need radical innovation to develop new technologies and new business models. The circular economy is part of the solution and this book will help us to take another step in the right direction.'

- Carlos Fadigas, CEO, Braskem

About the authors

Peter Lacy is Global Managing Director of Sustainability Services at Accenture and a member of the Accenture Strategy leadership team. He is an adviser to the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and governments, CEOs and boards around the world. He is a business fellow at Oxford University, a WEF Young Global Leader and co-founder of 'The Circulars', the first worldwide circular economy award for business innovation. He is a regular contributor to publications such as the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Business Week, The Guardian and China Daily.

Jakob Rutqvist is a manager in Accenture's Strategy and Sustainability practice and is part of its Nordic sustainability leadership team. Before Accenture he worked as a lobbyist on innovation, climate and energy and has engaged big multinationals as well as governments and institutions like the UN, World Bank, World Economic Forum and EU Parliament. He is an alumni of Clinton Global Initiative, One Young World and Harvard University. Jakob has written for Fast Company and Fortune.

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