DRK x Ugent Circular economy campagnebeeld

Workshop Co-creating Circular Values

In most Flemish manufacturing companies, products are made with the greatest care, sold with a great deal of love and a solid portion of customer service is provided. What the customer does with the product afterwards, how the product is discarded and what was originally needed to manufacture components, is much less known. These companies are aware that they are currently using an unsustainable linear business model. They would like to switch to a circular model but do not always know where to start. UGent design.nexus and Designregio Kortrijk are happy to lend a hand in this transition. Together, they roll out the workshops "Co-creating circular values" to expose the different opportunities where companies can make a difference.

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The development of a workshop with accompanying tools.

When you think of circular economy, you often come up with solutions to avoid, reduce or reuse waste. These technical solutions are important, but even more important is the mindset of the company. What drives them and how high is sustainability on the agenda? It will also be important to adapt the business models to these drivers.

In the workshop "Co-creating circular values" the companies get an insight into the general working of the circular economy. The starting question is where the company currently stands in terms of circularity. Then the companies draw the complete product process of one of their own products using a set of templates and magnets developed by design.nexus. The product process includes all steps, from the extraction of raw materials to the disposal of the product by the customer. Opportunities for circularity are identified and priorities are set for the next steps to implement the circular strategies.

Some pioneers have already tested the workshop.

One of the companies that came to try out the workshop is Verimpex. They want to be fully circular by 2023. During the workshop, they worked with, on the one hand, a very circular product already, namely their floor mats made from old aeroplane tyres and, on the other hand, a product for which there is still a lot of circular innovation possible.

We have already tackled many issues with our own knowledge and experience, but some require more external expertise and assistance.

Bruno D’Hondt, Verimpex

Developing a case study or circular design for your company?

In the workshop "Co-creating circular values", the first outlines are set for a plan of approach. The researchers of design.nexus (UGent Campus Kortrijk) want to take this a step further and guide SMEs in their effective transition. To this end, a TETRA project is currently in the making with the following options for companies

  • an introduction to circular design tools and methods;
  • a detailed analysis of all existing opportunities within the specific company and region;
  • launching a case study together with the company (from product to product-service system) that can serve as a first step towards the transition to a circular economy;
  • create networking opportunities for Flemish companies to form possible strategic alliances around sustainability.

Interested in a more extensive process via a TETRA project? Contact design.nexus@ugent.be and receive an invitation for the breakfast session on 11 January 2022 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for more information on participating in the project.