Job creation through CSR and circular economy
Job creation through CSR: There is increasing awareness regarding CSR and sustainability, but the approach has been more on reducing environmental impact. This will indeed slow down depletion, but will never offer a solution. In order to make really effective progress we must not just do less badly, but do better. This requires a complete paradigm shift and the education system could not be a better place in which to start. The education sector can act as a catalyst by training students and youth to identify the characteristics of the circular economy and to apply its principles. Once this approach has been established, it will inevitably be applied in practice.
A superb opportunity of job creation through CSR and circular economy
The world’s population is increasing, but with our present economic system there will be fewer rather than more jobs available. The present linear approach relies on the minimal use of manpower and the maximum use of new resources. The circular economy can turn this around.
To create a prosperous and successful society the circular economy focuses on social and environmental objectives, while at the same time there is still growth. To ensure these changes companies must first design products which can be easily dismantled. Next, infrastructure must be put in place to allow products or their materials to be reclaimed for reuse.
At present, computers are not designed to be easily dismantled for reuse; they contain valuable materials which have been incorporated in such a way as to make separation practically impossible. Only 10% of old and defective computers sent from the United States to China are recycled, for example; the remainder are thrown away or destroyed. By designing these computers differently (with the support of Apple, HP, Dell, IBM or Intel, for example) markets could be developed in the US whereby worn-out computers could be submitted and dismantled. The separated materials could then – without any waste or quality reduction – be resold as raw materials to countries such as China to be used once more in new computers. Now that’s optimization!
McKinsey has calculated that applying a circular economy worldwide would yield a trillion dollars a year, and could create 100,000 new jobs within 5 years. Many of these new jobs would be in the field of logistics.
This approach is being increasingly appreciated, but it is still being applied too infrequently. Why is this? Education, both within the business sector and in vocational colleges, can play a key role in the realization of the circular economy. This role must be seized! Far more attention can be paid to rethinking the economy in such a way as to create a better future. Sectors such as manufacturing, recycling and education can work together more closely on this.
Because vocational jobs will play a significant role in the transition to circular economy it is logical that the education sector will lead in training the new generation. This new generation will understand the importance of effective material management and how to work with it. In the construction industry there will be an increasing demand for skilled workers to build ‘modular’ buildings. Many new technicians will be required to dismantle appliances so that components can be reused.
Let us look briefly at how a circular economy can appeal to carpet manufacturers – and indeed there are already a number of these who have completely redesigned their production processes with impressive financial consequences. By regaining their products at the end of their useful life for recycling in the production of new carpets, the companies are assured of materials in the long-term while protecting themselves from the increasing cost of raw materials.