A new standard which recognises how organisations and individuals are contributing to the circular economy has been launched by BSI (the British Standards Institution).
The ‘circular economy’ is a concept which challenges organisations to re-think how their resources are managed to create financial, environmental and social benefits. BS 8001 was developed to meet these mutually beneficial goals, by providing guiding principles for organisations and individuals to consider and implement more sustainable practices. It is the first standard of its kind, both in the UK and globally.
It outlines what the circular economy is and how an organisation can transition from a linear to a circular, and more sustainable, day-to-day operation.
Practical implementation of the six principles of the circular economy – innovation; stewardship; collaboration; value optimisations; transparency; and “systems thinking” – is the bedrock of the standard, and step-by-step guidance on how an organisation can navigate through the different stages of implementation is provided. “Systems thinking” is defined in the standard as an understanding of how organisations, individual decisions and activities interact within the wider systems they are part of.
It is intended to be used flexibly by those who adopt it – irrespective of the size, sector, type or location of the organisation. By contributing to a resource efficient and low-carbon economy, costs and supply chain risks can be reduced, and further benefits for businesses which choose to implement BS 8001 include improved resilience, new revenue streams, and enhanced corporate sustainability credentials.
There has been extensive input from UK businesses into the development of the standard.
David Fatscher, Head of Sustainability at BSI, said: “BS 8001 is a world first and further evidence that BSI, as the UK national standards body, is demonstrating leadership in developing knowledge solutions which address global challenges. “Resource productivity is at the heart of the government’s new Industrial Strategy and demonstrates how standards can be considered business improvement tools which help organisations unlock the untapped potential of sustainable growth. BS 8001 was developed to enable organisations to take practical actions to realise the economic and social benefits of the circular economy.”
To support the framework, BS 8001 provides guidance around the specific issues surrounding the transition to a circular model – namely measurements, liability and insurance, logistical concerns, and materials. Guidance is also provided on specific associated business models, including leasing, the sharing economy, and remanufacturing.
The following organisations and individuals were involved in the creation of BS 8001: BEIS – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; Hampshire County Council; University of Sheffield; Marks & Spencer plc, Rolls Royce; Tata Steel, Institute for Sustainability; Amec Foster Wheeler; University College London; Green Alliance; Loughborough University; Granta Design Limited; Keep Britain Tidy; Timber Trade Federation; Waste and Resources Action Programme; Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse; Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Innovate UK; Greater London Authority; British Coatings Federation Ltd; British Precast Concrete Federation Ltd; Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment; Centre for Sustainable Design; UK Sustainability Network for Standardization; Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Zero Waste Scotland; Eden21; Shoosmiths LLP, International Lead Association; Welsh Government; University of Surrey; Resource Association; British Glass Manufacturers Confederation; National Physical Laboratory; Scottish Government; London Waste & Recycling Board; Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Chartered Institution of Wastes Management; Construction Products Association; Bioregional; Confederation of Paper Industries Ltd; BAM Construct UK.