Less waste, more innovation

The “take, make, dispose” approach toward resources and the products made from them has been around for too long. It’s inefficient, wasteful, and unsustainable; adopting a new approach isn’t just an ethical choice — it’s an inevitable one. Designing products that demand less from the environment, are used for longer periods of time, and are responsibly recycled is central to the circular economy. That’s why circular principles are the beating heart of our sustainability strategy.

No society can shift overnight to a thriving economy in a world characterized by climate change, biological resource constraints, and phased-out fossil fuels. No country, no city, no company can rebuild, retrofit, or repurpose its infrastructure instantaneously. Clearly, those who plan ahead and prepare themselves stand a far better chance to thrive than those who keep investing in the obsolete resource-intensive economy.

Mathis Wackernagel,

Founder & President,

Global Footprint Network

On July 29, 2019, humanity’s demand for natural resources exceeded what the Earth’s ecosystems can replenish over an entire year. This staggering metric is known as “Earth Overshoot Day,” and the 2019 date was the earliest ever. Since overusing resources is only possible for a short amount of time, consumption needs to be in balance with the environment's ability to regenerate — the question is whether this happens by design or disaster.

The constant use of finite resources has been the de facto consumption model since the First Industrial Revolution. The circular economy, in contrast, designs out the inherent wastefulness of the linear model. It’s a ground-up transformation that creates long-term resilience1 by respecting resources and the energy it takes to procure them, and being mindful of the environmental costs associated with their use. Schneider Electric is one of the largest leaders2 in pursuit of this new circular model, and in recent years we’ve made significant progress in incorporating its principles into our ecosystem.

References

1The Concept of a Circular Economy,” The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017 

2Change the World: Schneider Electric,” Fortune, 2019.